Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!

Fun times in pretend teaching land.

For today's conversational English class, I decided I needed to get my Christmas on. So I brought good old lappy to class and had my students watch "The Grinch who Stole Christmas". I was pretty sure the English would be too weird for them, but maybe it would give them an idea of what Christmas means outside of Japan.

Inside of Japan, Christmas traditions mean two very important things:
1) Eating Christmas cake on Christmas Eve.
2) Eating Christmas chicken on Christmas Eve.

Cristmas cake comes from the covenience store. Seven-Eleven starts giving away samples sometime in October or November. I'm a fan of the vanilla.

Christmas chicken comes from the Colonel. As in Kentuky Fried. Laugh and disbelieve all you want. It's true. People book in advance to go and get chicken from KFC. If I make it into the city, I'll try getting a picture of the Colonel dressed in full santa gear. It's creepy I tell you!

Another thing about Christmas in Japan: it's all about couples. Yup, it's a date holiday. I was at the movies last week, and there was an advertisement hawking jewlery or something. I forget. But the ad copy was "sweet love xmas for couples".

So, for my eikaiwa class, I started out by asking what the students thought of Christmas. The answers ranged from "the birthday of Christ" to "so-so". I think it was mostly an eye-opener for me. I hear all the Christmas carols (and my new favorite -- the Seicomart Christmas song) blasting here and it triggers memories for me of Christmases spent at my grandparents' house in Mudare, eating way too much, staying up way too late, trying not to fall asleep in church (or at least trying to get away with it), and a whole slew of other warm fuzzy memories. It's weird for me to think that people here get the same input and have no emotional response to it. And now I get what it means to say that Japan is a post-modern society... All the trappings with none of the meaning.

So we watched the Grinch be grinchy, the Who's singing despite his stealing all of their Christmas toys (I want a bamboozler!), and the Grinch's heart growing so big it breaks the heart viewer thingy.

The students enjoyed it, and could follow along even if most of the English was incomprehensible.

And I got to re-live childhood memories.


I went to san-nensei class today (Grade 9). They're learning about relative clauses, and using relative prepositions -- today we focused on "who". We started with a quiz.

This is the man who is the Prime Minister of Japan.

Once they figured out what a Prime Minister was, they were fine. (Shinzo Abe, if you don't know.)

This is the man who is the President of the United States of America.

They knew "Bush" and one of them know "George". Nobody knew the "W" part.

This is the man who is the Prime Minister of Canada.


Nobody knew. I was wholly unsurprised. I doubt if any of my teachers could tell me the answer either.

I gave them the initials.

My favorite responses from that?
Strong Horse.
Sparkling Heat.

Someone eventually guessed Stephen (actually Steve, but close enough, right?), and I did some drawing to get the Harper part in. But I really thing he should think about changing his name to Sparkling Heat. Might bring in a whole new demographic...

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