Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram
spacealien_vamp

There's nothing like the smell of kerosene in the morning

My main duty during exam time is to pop into a classroom and read the listening portion of the test. This morning I was supposed to go to class 1-3 at 9:15 for this service. Then I was asked to come by class 3-3 at 9:20. I explained that I had a prior commitment in a different class, but when the 3-3 teacher saw how short the script was, it was deemed not to be a problem, I would no doubt finish in five minutes and be able to go straight to the other class.

I was suspicious of this, as I am never scheduled to be assigned to two exams simultaneously. Sure enough, when I checked the master schedule, the 3-3 exam wasn't going to be until the next period. Just as I questioned this, one of the 3-3 teachers realized the error and said I should come at 10:20. Okay, we're positive this time, right?

So, when 10:20 rolls around, I check both of the 3-3 teachers. They're both sitting at their desks, apparently unconcerned. I wait an extra minute to see if either one will say anything, but nothing is forthcoming. I shrug and head up to the classroom and read the listening section as requested.

As I'm leaving the classroom, nearly ten minutes later, both 3-3 teachers come running up, seemingly surprised that I've already finished. When I get back to the faculty room, I'm told that they were looking all over for me. Where did they think I would be? Apparently the plan was that we would all go to the classroom together. I guess this was a highly secret plan, since no one told me about it.

My next task was to grade the listening section I had read for the first class. Overwhelmingly, the errors involve r/l spelling mistakes. In particular, the word "allowed" was incredibly difficult, and a large number of the students wrote it as "around." So many wrote it that way, in fact, that I began to hallucinate that "around" was the correct answer, and I had to snap myself out of it. One student managed to go above and beyond the call of duty to write it as..."alonwlled." That, I must say, takes creativity. It deserves to be the name of a character in a fantasy novel.

Once I finished grading my section of the exams, the home ec teacher invited me to come work on my yukata. The fabric comes in a roll about 14 inches wide and 11 yards long. Our first challenge was to line it up so that when the two strips that make the body are sewn together the pattern looks natural. That was pretty tricky. Then, once we had it lined up properly, we had to fold it into a big S-curve that would leave us with four body-length strips (two front and two back panels) and one strip for each sleeve. There was a little fabric leftover that I can use to make a matching bag or something. [Correction: Upon thinking about it further, I'm pretty sure the two back panels and two front panels are actually made up of one very long panel each, to be draped over the shoulder. So there are really only two, they just seemed like more because they were so long.]

The home ec teacher hadn't bought the thread yet, so I couldn't start sewing. Instead, we concentrated on marking the seam allowances on the sleeves. We did this by folding each sleeve panel in half and putting one on top of the other, making four layers. Then we took something that looked like a small plastic spatula and used the narrow knife-like end to press an indentation into the fabric. This marks all four layers at the same time.

That being the limit of what we could do without thread, I went back to my desk and spent the rest of the afternoon reading.

Update: I meant to add this before, but I forgot. Here's a link to a page on how to make a yukata that illustrates what I was talking about. In the curvy picture, the two bottom folds are the sleeves, the next is the body, and the very top is for the collar and other little bits. (The pictures below show how to cut pieces out of broader bolts of cloth.)
Tags: culture, school
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