Hello, world. Mike here. Thought I would take you on a little mini-tour of my day yesterday. Come along, now, come along…

The day started with an unexpected trip to the Wakakusa English School to pick up teaching materials. After said materials were in hand, I couldn’t resist a spin on my favorite playground fixture: the spinny thing:

The spinny thing

I love the spinny thing– it spins around and makes me happy (and in this case, it makes for a great picture!). Of course, it’s the most fun with a gaggle of Japanese kids attached who not only add extra mass and inertia, but also scream hayai! hayai! (fast! fast!) at the top of their lungs as they cling to the metal frame for dear life. But it’s still fun solo:

Mike spinning around

And yes, I took that picture by myself (aren’t I talented?). Having sufficiently spun to my heart’s content, I biked to the station and reviewed my teaching curriculum on the train. (Just like my college days, I always wait ’till the last minute. ) After I sat down and drank my cup of coffee, it was on to class. Today’s curriculum featured parts of the body (for 3rd and 4th graders) and country names (for the 5th and 6th graders). Sort of basic stuff, but that didn’t keep the kids from paying me the respect and honor due to an English teacher like me:

Head, shoulders, knees, and...

“Oh Mike-sensei. We bow down to your superior American language. Please instruct us in the way we should speak, and bequeath to us your incredible linguistic prowess. We are your humble servants.” Just kidding–this is just the kids doing actions to the ever-popular ” Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes ” song, and they’re doing ‘toes’. Yeah right! Teachers are respected here in Japan, but not quite like that…

Eyes and ears and...

Another shot of the same cute kids performing the same song, just one that’s harder to put an egotistical spin on. I think this was taken somewhere between ‘ears’ and ‘mouth’. After three classes it was time for lunch, and it was during lunch that I was treated to an especially unique treat: after-lunch karaoke . Yup, at Sugaya Elementary School, about 2 times a year, they let some kids do a karaoke performance in the P.A. room and broadcast it throughout the whole school. And, thanks to my hook-ups in the office and my brand-new IC sound recorder, I got to see (and record) the kids performing their songs. It was unbelievably cute:

The first one is a really popular song from a TV show (I think it’s called Tarako), and the second one is actually a Pokemon song (yup, Pokemon is still going strong here in Japan). This recording makes me laugh every time I hear it; hilarious and cute at the same time.

Ah, and now for the best picture of the day: this is me with the 3rd graders after we played our fukuwarai game (sort of like “pin-the-face-on-the-head”):

Fukuwarai

Actually, I found out that the black things that I told the kids were mustaches were actually supposed to be eyebrows. So actually this is a totally ridiculous picture from a Japanese cultural standpoint. Oh well, I still think it’s cute. Except for those horrible green slippers that I had to wear in lieu of my indoor shoes (which I forgot). I hate those slippers–they’re plasticy and flimsy and way too small. Argh.

So that’s a bit of a taste of what my Fridays are like. They’re sort of like the day where I take off my “respectable adult” hat and put on my “big, goofy kid” hat and go crazy all day. Don’t you wish you had my job?

-Mike