For the past few days, I've been correcting student papers. One student asked me about the marks I had made where she neglected to put a space after her punctuation. I explained that it meant she needed to add a space there. She looked at me like, What kind of crazyness is that? and asked if she should remove the comma. I told her, no, she just has to put a space after the comma. Finally she said, "You mean, even though I already have a comma, I have to put a space TOO?! WHY?"
...That's just the way it works.
(Note: With the exception of books for extremely young children just learning to read, written Japanese does not have spaces in it at all.)
Friday I gave a class teaching the students how to write a paragraph. You would think they would know this, since they are seniors in high school, and the Japanese language does have paragraphs. However, they do not understand the concept at all. They want to hit Enter at the end of every sentence, whether they've finished the topic or not. Even when I repeated several times, forcefully (with corresponding translation from my team teacher), and wrote on the board that they should NOT hit the Enter key...several still did.
Later I was asked to correct the show-and-tell speech of a student in another class. The teacher apologized for asking me to do it, because the student hadn't even written sentences. She picked individual (random?) words from her Japanese original and wrote their translations down in the order they appeared...and since Japanese grammar is backward from English, this means she just had strings of random words in an order that made no sense. If I hadn't had the Japanese original, I wouldn't have had a clue what she was trying to say. <sigh>
The students are all excited because they're getting some professional entertainers for the school festival. The students had filled out a survey form about which entertainers they would like to invite; the survey stipulated only that nominees couldn't be comedians. This is reportedly because the school had invited a comedian in the past who said some things during the routine that upset the school board. However, as it turns out, the fee for inviting a professional singer (as the students requested) is about four times the school's annual budget. ^_^; So they're getting comedians after all.
Today I mainly stayed home and read, aside from one shopping trip. (Why is it that I go to the grocery store intending to buy about three or four items and come back with two loaded shopping bags?) My refrigerator is now very well stocked.