HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOSHI (one of the two people who read my blog)
AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAITLIN (my sister)
On Thursday February 1st, I was able to attend a family owned eikaiwa school through a connection of Jackie. It was so interesting to see how the instructor interacted with his students and taught them through the TPRS method (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). We sat in through a children’s class, a junior high school class, and an adult’s class, and his methods were tailor made for each one. When we got there I liked what he said about how although he uses this method, it’s always about the students first. He also, refuses to use the words hard or difficult, which I messed up and used them 3-4 times. Finally, I got to hear his opinions on English education in Japan, how native English speaking teachers are treated, and various other things, so it was a great way to reach an understanding of at least one person’s teaching strategies and experiences.
Since then, I have been inspired. I have officially emailed 20 英会話-English Conversation- schools in the Osaka area (after finding a list of more than 40 different companies). For research on Japan’s English education market, as well as trying to get second-hand experience through observations in their schools. Most of the big companies have refused due to “company policies”. Two of the smaller ones have been more welcoming, one of which I will go observe at on Thursday! And I have received two part time job interview offers from it, so all in all emails are still a good strategy to reach out it appears.
But all this is just to give some unnecessary, but fun background information to what I want to talk about.
Today I went shopping in Yao for some business-casual clothes, as I mentioned just right on up above, I will have some interview opportunities and observation chances, so I want to make sure I make a good impression. I won’t be dressing in Japanese style interview clothes (if you don’t know what I’m talking about click here). I am interviewing for part-time job positions, and observing at mostly foreigner run English conversation schools, so my more American style business-casual should be fine, but if I were to be applying for full-time positions, I would want to dress more in the Japanese style because most big English conversation schools are actually run by Japanese, so different expectations, I presume.
So, yes, I found my outfit! It’s just a nice white blouse with a grey cardigan, to wear with my jacket, which I hope Jackie can stitch up for me by Thursday (it is falling apart at the seams, da-dun-cha!), and some nice subtly patterned slacks, and dress shoes. Not all of it I bought in Yao, but a good part of it I did buy. I’ll probably throw on my scarf and hat on my way there as it is very cold for me lately.
While I was in a store though, I saw this Japanese kid playing with her Barbie doll. She looked about to be 4, but no mom, or family member was in sight. She didn’t seem to be worried about it though. As I continued to look at things, I would casually glance over to see if she was okay. [It’s probably the American in me, hearing about kidnappings and shootings almost everyday in the news], she was fine until she heard another mom’s voice and who she thought was her mom. She chased after her (out the door of the mall), but came back in when she realized it was not her mom. I was already paying attention to her when she ran out because the woman that left the mall did not even glance at the girl. However, when she came back in the little girl was wiping her eyes. I knew she was scared and started to cry.
My horrible Japanese, foreigner appearance, and maybe my concern– made her cry more, but I slowly walked into the store that I imagined her mother must be shopping in, and made my way to the stores counter with her in tow, rehearsing what I may say to the cashiers, who actually looked completely non-phased by the whole crying child standing next to a foreigner. Like– yeah, I wasn’t a creepy person who looked like they’d steal here, but still… I don’t know how I would have handled the situation either, working in retail, but… Hmm… Japan is a confusing country that sends young kids to school by themselves, and kids play at the park nearly by themselves, Japan is safe, people look out for each other, for the most part. However, I don’t know… Maybe it’s my experience working with kids as a babysitter, nanny, and after school volunteer. Maybe it’s my childhood experience, but in general I just felt something should have been done before me, the scary foreign looking person approached this crying kid. I mean foreigners scare adults in Japan, let alone the poor kid. I’m over here just saying : 大丈夫ですか。お母さんはどこですか。店員に聞きたいですか。聞きたい？Like shit, I can hardly form a sentence in Japanese when I’m just casually talking with friends. Put on the panic mode and I forget any proper Japanese.
Also– let it be known, I’ve never had to approach a lost kid in America. I’ve read articles about how to handle that kind of situation (since I’m a nerd). But, it is completely different in real life. You forget everything and you just want the kid to not cry, because crying is heartbreaking, but you also don’t want anyone to think that you were trying to kidnap the kid and you don’t want the kid to run away, yeah… so many things run through your mind.
If the kid hadn’t started to cry, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it though honestly. Which is kind of scary [again, from my American point of view]. She would just be there wiping away tears, trying to be brave, until her mom maybe found her?
No idea what the situation was. Did she run from her mom and think she was being sneaky by hiding–like I did to my mom? Or did she lose her mom in the store? Did she just want to play with her Barbie doll? Did she follow someone she thought was her mom, but wasn’t? So many different things could have happened.
Anyhow, that’s one experience I can check of the list of experiences I do not want to experience again. And yes, I am very aware that I used experience three times in that sentence, it was to make sure you experience my overuse of the word experience. Quite a good experience, right?
Okay, there we have it. My eventful day.