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Amparo Bertram

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05:40 pm: First day of school
Yesterday I went shopping to buy a cheap pair of slip-on outdoor shoes I can wear to work that won't look bad with my clothes. (That's what I *had* brought my indoor shoes for...little did I know we don't actually wear the indoor shoes most of the time.) I talked to one of the other English teachers about how I was surprised we didn't change shoes at the front door, and he admitted that he doesn't like it either because the floor gets dirty. Anyway...it's very dangerous for me to roam through the fashion department when they've put out their fall colors. Particularly since I know almost all of it will fit me, and I don't have to go searching for a petite section. I had to keep reminding myself I *really* don't need any more clothes. Not even that cute blouse.

School started with an assembly in the gym, which isn't air conditioned, but I stood near an open doorway and got a nice breeze most of the time. I was still dripping with sweat, but I was better off than all the students. The assembly began with handing out award certificates to students who had competed in sports and such over the summer. After that, they gave a short introduction for me, the exchange student from Hawaii, and the teacher who is returning after having spent two years as the exchange teacher in Michigan. Then the students were given an hour-long lecture about how they need to work hard and study, with side lectures about motorcycle safety and making sure to keep their fingernails trimmed short.

I had one class in the afternoon, with 26 students, which mainly consisted of my self-introduction. After I did my bit, the floor was opened for questions. The first question (as it almost invariably is) was "How old are you?" The second question was "Are you married?" When the girl who asked the question heard that I'm not married, she responded "Gambare!" (essentially "Keep trying!"). She said it again when she found out I <gasp> don't even have a boyfriend.

Then there was nothing for me to do but sit at my desk and read for a few hours. One student actually came up and talked to me--in English--for quite a while. I was impressed. She's going to Australia for two weeks starting in December.

One thing that perplexes me is that I have yet to locate a refrigerator or microwave in the faculty room. There is a small table in the back with hot water and tea, but that's about it. Since lunch is only 35 minutes, there isn't time to do much other than bring something and nuke it. Up until now, I've had most of the day free, so I could nip on back to my apartment and fix something up quick without worrying that I'd be late for class, but that won't always be the case on my busy days when I have class both immediately before and after lunch. I will have to ask someone about this.

Two weeks from now, the first and second year students will have their term-end exams. (The third-year students took them before break, apparently.) This means the schedule will be rearranged to accommodate testing. The week after that, the students begin preparing for the fall Culture Festival, which means more altered schedules. The routine won't return to normal until next month.

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[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2004 03:29 am (UTC)
"Gambare" LOL. I had a self-intro in front of my new students (I'm starting a new Jr. High) today at the opening ceremony, too, but amazingly, the weather cooled down so much up here that I was actually COLD this morning. Hisashiburi! And no hour-long lecture, either, luckily.

I don't think I've ever seen a Japanese person use a microwave, especially at lunch time. I DON'T GET IT. I guess they eat cold bentos? I am so glad we have kyushoku here. I'm surprised to hear about the fridge, however, since as soon as summer hit, all our snacks and coffee got put in the fridge so it was iced.

[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2004 03:56 am (UTC)
Wow, a cold morning. It cooled down here when typhoon #16 blew through, but it didn't get to be what I would call cold. But the faculty room is air conditioned, so I really have it good.

I know there's a refrigerator in the student guidance office, because I was given a can of coffee from it when I first came for a meeting. There are a number of teachers who have their desks in there rather than in the main faculty room. I think they're the teachers who are mainly in charge of third-year students, but I can't be sure, because I team-teach third-year students with three teachers, and they're all in the faculty room with me. So, do the teachers all store their lunches in the guidance office? This school is just full of mysteries...
[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2004 10:30 am (UTC)

n the girl who asked the question heard that I'm not married, she responded "Gambare!" (essentially "Keep trying!"). She said it again when she found out I don't even have a boyfriend.

Aw, that's just so cute, I can't even bring myself to be offended by the inherent sexism of it all. :-)
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