I shrugged and washed my hands and went back to cutting...when I finally realized the entire handle of the knife was covered in mildew. Eeeewwww.
This is one of the problems of a country with such high humidity. Wooden utensils get mildewy really easily, just from exposure to the air. Incidentally, so do walls, floors, bookshelves...at my house in Niigata, I had a number of videotapes turn fuzzy with mildew.
Our exchange student from Hawaii is in a bit of a bind. She (and two others) came over with the agreement that they would only stay with their host families for half the year and switch to new families in February. Well, it's now more than halfway through January...and the Rotary club sponsoring them still hasn't been able to come up with new families for them to switch to. ^_^; They announced yesterday at the teacher's meeting to ask the students if any of them thought their families might want to host her.
I asked (or, rather complained) to the teacher at the desk next to me about the school's policy of docking a student 20% on the final exam for being absent due to illness. Her response was, "Here we believe that an exam is something you have to show up for. For example, if you are absent from a high school entrance exam due to illness, you fail. We believe we are being generous because we allow students to take makeup exams at all."
In other news, one of my classes yesterday was shown a number of American commercials as part of their class assignment. Among the commercials was the series of "Whassaaaaap" Budweiser ads that aired in 2000. (I had never seen them before, because I had been in Niigata at the time.) The students came to class today repeating "Whassaaaaaap" over and over. <giggle> How cute is that?
I was impressed by the speech one of the students gave in the last class, about her homestay in Australia, because she put a lot of expression and gestures into it. Today, however, the last student's speech was outstanding. She started out by talking about how she likes to go shopping and then went on to describe her favorite "shopping mall." In the middle of the speech, she even had written a song about the different "shops" in the mall, going around and singing to various classmates. At the end she reveals that the "mall" is a metaphor for the school and the "shops" are the classmates, from whom she "bought" many valuable experiences. It was great when I read the draft of the speech, but it really blew me away when she performed it. The only drawback was that she didn't have it completely memorized, so she had to keep returning to check her paper.