My first class this morning started a chapter on "What did you do last Sunday?" and shows a graph illustrating that people in Japan tend to spend their weekends with friends while people in Brazil tend to spend them with family. I brought in my Velasquez family reunion sweatshirt and showed them all the names on the back to illustrate "spending time with family." They were all quite impressed.
Several of the classes today had writing assignments. They occasionally ask me for help translating what they want to say into natural-sounding English. The problem is, it just hasn't sunk in for them that the grammatical structure of a Japanese sentence is backward from English. They'll say the opening phrase and then stop, expecting me to tell them what it means so they can write it down. I often have to prompt them several times to finish the sentence so I have a clue what verb to use.
In two of the classes, we talked about parties. We had the students brainstorm all the kinds of parties they could think of. Then we talked about traditional food at parties.
We started with Christmas. In Japan, the traditional foods at Christmas are 1) sponge cake and 2) Kentucky Fried Chicken. It took a lot of prodding (and reminding them that I brought some in last year) for them to come up with "gingerbread cookies."
We then moved on to birthdays. They were all quick to suggest cake, but when I urged them on with "cake and..." they were stumped. As soon as I revealed that the tradition at an American birthday party is to have "cake and ice cream," they all made ewww sounds. Wonder why? Cake and ice cream?! That's too sweet! You'd die of sugar shock!
In between classes, I practiced drawing a simple flower. Well...it was supposed to be simple. I find I have an obsession for drawing in as many tiny details as possible. This is unfortunate, because embroidery patterns have to be kind of on the cartoony side.
In an attempt to force myself to concentrate less on details, I tried drawing a tiny sketch of my parents squaredancing (based on a picture they took wearing the outfits I made). As you can probably tell, I still filled in far too many details. It's not nearly cartoony enough. I'm going to have to work on this problem.