Thursday, February 28, 2008


I just remembered a funny "conversation" I had with a couple students the other day.

I was coming back from the vending machine (vending machines are EVERYWHERE and it is WONDERFUL) with a nice tall bottle of tea to soothe my aching throat when,

Student 1: Give me?
Me: No! No! Kaze desu! (= I'm sick!)
Student 1: Me too!
Student 2: Cold?
Me: Yes, I have a cold.
Student 2: Healthy!

This is a pretty typical "English conversation" that one might have with my students. I have another student that likes to ask me questions after class, but it's not so much a question as words said like a question...

"High School Musical?" (Points to himself, then me.)
--> I interpreted this as, "I have seen High School Musical, have you?" Last week the question was "Favorite movie?" (points to me). A couple weeks ago it was "America election? I like Obama." (Side note: apparently, all of Japan supports Obama but not for any real reason other than they like him.) I appreciate that he tries, but I don't know if he understands my answers!

Or you might run across one of the handful of students who are practically fluent. Then the conversation starts something like this:

"This school is very boring. It is too easy. I should have gone to a different school."


"Please only call on me today. Do not call on him (pointing to the only other student in class who volunteers answers). I want all the points. Please don't call on him."

Fun times at Kabutoyama High.

Japanese phrase of the day (part 2):
Odaijini! Take care of yourself! (Which is what that student might have meant by "Healthy!")

And the winner is....

In an attempt to update my blog, I'm going to write about the Inoshishi Matsuri I went to Jan 26th. (Sorry this is so late -- I've been super sick and had to write 2 final exams, both of which took several drafts to satisfy my JTEs...anyway).

Here they are, the inoshishi a.k.a. wild boars. Sasayama city is known for it's wild boars (apparently) and so the fine people decided to dedicate a day to the inoshishi as only Japanese people can do.

The main street was closed down and this interesting cage was sent up. At one end was a hole for the boar cage to butt up against (also the Start) and the other end had a Finish sign that the boars would rip as they ran through. There was a race every hour on the hour all morning.

There they are -- whizzing past! Actually, I thought the races were pretty sad. They used the same 3 boars for each race and they were pretty beat up by the last race. If you didn't already know, boars are kinda aggressive. Shocking, right? So the boars would race down to one end of the cage and then, with nothing else to do, would start running around attacking each other. Then the boar handlers would step in and push the boars, using a wooden board, back into the Start cage. By the last race, they were bleeding and one had a broken leg!! It was really sad and felt bad for them. The winning boar's name is "Shishi-Fire" and although they said they wouldn't eat the winner, seeing how bad of shape they were in, I doubt it.

Also at this festival was festival food. Not just any festival food, but festival food made from, you guessed it, boar meat! I enjoyed a shishi-burger and shishi-sausage. The flavor was a bit different. Gamey?

There was also plenty of souvenirs to buy and a mascot to pose with. Here I am with my Sasayama friends and the friendly inoshishi:
It was quite an experience and I'm glad I went, even though I felt bad for the little boars. I think they're kind cute in an ugly kind of way. :)

Japanese phrase of the day:
Inoshishi no niku wa oishii desu! Wild boar meat is tasty!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snow day

I have much to write about: Inoshishi Matusuri, Yuki Matsuri, and lots and lots of snow! Tonight I'm going to get all the pictures off my camera, so another mega-blog is on it's way!

In the mean time, today when I got on the bus to go to school, the bus driver said, "Nishinomiya Kabutoyama Koko? Kyo wa yasumi desu..." (Nishinomiya Kabutoyama High School? Today is a holiday) and some more Japanese I didn't understand. I said, "Yasumi? Wakarimasen!" (A holiday? I don't understand!). It's Wednesday, and there isn't a holiday today! Luckily there was another teacher on the bus and he explained to me that because of the snow, school was cancelled for the students....BUT not for teachers. So, I had to go to school anyway. Poo. Here I am, at school, with nothing to do. And most teachers didn't actually come to school today, so I think I'll sneak out early... :)