Yes, they understand the assignment completely

26 Jun

The journal assignment: “Ask Laurel one question about American high schools.”

What a student wrote: “Ask hamel are g about America ligh schools.”

– – – – – – –

At least America was spelled correctly.


Well, they know what they like

14 Jun

Journal Theme: What is your dream? Why?

Best Answer: I don’t know, but I like money.


13 Jun

Things were going really well during the Q & A and then…

Student: Why are you married?
Me: Uh, wha–
JTE: Laurel isn’t married, she’s single. SINGLE.
Me: Oh boy, um–
JTE: SINGLE. [Japanese explanation] Say, “aren’t.” [Further Japanese explanation]
Student [nodding]: Why AREN’T you married?
Me: … ( ̄▽ ̄;)

Rules for Living in the Inaka

10 Jun

Rules for Living in the Japanese Inaka: A Companion Guide for ALTs and Random Gaijin
By Yours Truly

– – – – – – –

Coming to bookshelves near you in a distant future… or next week… or a year from now… or something.

– – – – – – –

Selected Chapter: Mukade (Centipedes) and You

Rule #104:
When you find a supposedly deceased king mukade, it’s better to play it safe and spray the abomination with poison anyway. That way, you discover quickly if said mukade was just playing a cruel game of possum.

Rule #105: When spraying said type of mukade, it is best to do so from a safe distance, with possible obstacles (e.g. a ledge, boxes, etc.) for the mukade to overcome (but not to hide in!). This buys you a few seconds to run as they begin to charge.

Rule #106: Mukade charge. To truly horrify their attacker (i.e. you), they may even rear up their head as they come for you. And, be assured, they will come. To rebuff their advance, it’s advised to have something to push them back or to use the air propulsion generated by the aerosal can of poison to blow them back.

So long, fingertips..

29 May

Dear Japanese Superglue,

You win. You not only successfully reattached a broken hook thingy to my washer’s water hose in mere seconds, but you also managed to glue my fingers together… and to the hose in record time. I hope you enjoyed my yelps of pain when I finally managed to free myself and my discovery that 1 – 2 layers of skin on my fingertips had been lost in the struggle.

Sincerely Smarting,

This Naive Gaijin

A Riddle for Students

27 May

Betty was nine on her last birthday, and she will be eleven on her next.

How do you think this is possible?

– – – – – – –

Best answer so far:

Betty used a time machine.

Don’t wanna.

11 May

I had work today (it’s Saturday in Japan) and I was being a complete child about it to myself at 7:23 a.m. (I start work at 8:25 a.m.):

Self: How about we get up, yeah?
Me: No!
Self: C’mon. Someone needs to get dressed.
Me: I don’t wanna.
Self: It’s time to get up. Quit stalling.
Me: [nestles deeper under small mound of blankets] Nope. Don’t wanna.
Self: [sighs] .. Look. You have work.
Me: So?
Self: I could get into this whole thing about why you need to go to work to earn your keep and whatever, but how about this.. Who wants oatmeal for breakfast?
Me: .. What kind?
Self: Cinnamon.
Me: With sliced bananas on top?
Self: If you have it downstairs, sure? Why not?
Me: [grumbles]
Self: What’s that?
Me: I said FINE.
Self: Awesome sauce. Let’s do this.
Me: I hate you.

Would you like to…?

8 May

Students had to direct their original “Would you like to…?” questions toward me. I was supposed to give them an answer.

Student: Would you like to go walking home with me and you?
Me [in auto-correct mode]: Would you like to walk home together?
Student [keeping his head down now]: Would you like to walk home together?
Me [now processing the question]: OH. Umm.. no thank you?

All good things must end

27 Feb

Me: This is the last OC class.
Student (self-assured as some kids freak): Until we’re ninensei.
Me: Uh, no. No OC for ninensei.
JTE: [explains in rapid fire Japanese]
<cue more students freaking>
Student (mouth drop): …

– – – – – – –

Thanks for an awesome year, kids! I’ll miss your high spirits and comical antics. (T^T)

How do you spell my name?

20 Feb

In a dictation portion of the OC listening exam, the kids had to spell my name*. While grading, I have seen the following:

Loal, Rolo, raureL, rolel, Lallel, lourel, lorel, Loulel, Learle, lualal, Loulo, Rola, Laural, Lurel, Lollel, Morrow, Luarl, Larle, Loulor, raulel, Laulel, Role, Lolor, louler, Morro, Learel, and Boro.

I showed my primary JTE one of the exams. The student had written my name as “Morrow.” To that one, she responded with, “How? I don’t even.. What were they–? Ugh, that’s sooo bad.”

– – – – – – –

*Note: I told the students repeatedly it would be a question on the exam, as a sort of easy point to be earned. Not so, it turned out.