Friday, June 20, 2008

Inagi Daigo Jr. High School

Tomorrow we head to our host family. My family is a self employed dad, mom, and two daughters in their twenties. I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm a little nervous too. I think everyone feels the same way! Then, on Sunday night we stay at the ryokan. I'll try to add the link so you can see it. We should be able to see Mount Fuji, but it has been really overcast. It hasn't rained, but it really wants to.

So, today we went to the middle school. It was really great. We were greeted by Vice Principal Fukuda, because the principal was out in the morning on business. He was a very gracious host, answered questions, made sure we had water, tea, coffee, etc. Then he answered a few questions for us during first period. We were confused because students were in class when we arrived, but looking at the schedule school hadn't started yet. We discovered that the students have 20 minutes of silent reading BEFORE school begins. They do that so everyone starts the day relaxed. Then there is a ten minute break. There are only 5 periods in the day and there is a 10 minute break between each period. Again, I packed my information before blogging, so I don't have the exact details. This school has about 32-40 students in each class. The desks were tightly packed and went from the door to the windows. There was a lot of fooling around, but the teachers don't seem to mind. They just keep teaching. I observed a couple of English classes, math (very interesting), science, gym and music.
Then we had lunch in the classroom. All of the students were assigned to first year classrooms (7th grade) Cari and I were in the same class and the students were eager to talk. Their Engish is very limited, but they make up for it in enthusiasm. Two girls were talking my arm off, and whenever they stopped the girl across from me asked questions in very good English. She was having trouble getting in a word edgewise.
I would love to post their picture, but we're not really supposed to post clear pictures of faces. After lunch we wandered around some more. One of the classes we observed was 8th and 9th grade study class. Today they were discussing career possibilities. They didn't look very interested, and I think kids here would be the same. We finished with a question and answer session with the principal, vice principal and three teachers. It seems that we always learn something new, so I think they are pretty interesting sessions. They gave us a lovely gift before we left. Sadly, this was Mari-san's last day with us. She was our interpreter for official visits, and those visits are complete. If we screw up on the home visit we're on our own!
This picture was taken as we left the junior high. Oka-san is on the left and Mari-san is on the right. They have really helped to make this a memorable trip!When I got to the hotel I did a quick load of laundry and I planned to do postcards. That didn't happen. I may end up hand delivering some of these! Anyway, we went out for dinner and then went looking for karaoke. We headed in to Chofu, but couldn't find the place. Then we asked a man on the street and he walked us to the place. We asked him to join us, but he chose not to. I didn't last long. I knew it was a bad sign when they offered us ashtrays. The room was hot, small, and reeked of smoke. It made me a bit sick, so I left and took the train back to the hotel. Alone you may ask? Yes, it is very safe here on the streets. I don't really think twice. I still have that look around attitude, but I'm not really worried. It's a nice feeling. OK, I've got to get some postcards written :) I'll report again on my adventures as soon as I can!

1 comment:

Richard said...

Watashiwa Wisconsin kara kimashita Dick desu. Enjoy your home visit! May you have clear weather to see Fujiyama!