Leady, Set, Go!

Today, I became a teacher. Well, okay, I’ve taught before and sometimes for money too. How about this: Today, I became an English teacher. No, not quite. I feel like I was an English teacher to a few people at the Gauntlet. An English teacher in Japan? That works, but it’s rather specific. Oh well, that will have to do.

A teacher from one of our schools brought in two boys who were competing in the local speech contest and needed tutoring. I’ve already forgotten their names – I’m going to be great in the class: ‘Hey you, can you say forgetful Canadian teacher?’ A few dozen Japanese names per class for me to remember is going to be more than my brain can handle. My neural pathways will get overwritten too quickly and mistakes are bound to happen – I’ll probably end up believing I’m an Egyptian camel with a fondness for bratwurst then collapse to the ground with my formerly-capable brain liquified and spilling from my ears. Or not.

The point of all this is that I did manage to do a capable job with these two teenage lads whose R’s and L’s become indistinguishable without some guidance. I was working with them to improve their pronunciation with English sounds and they genuinely had improved by the time we parted. A slightly satisfying event. I mean, I could actually tell the difference between when they said ‘very’ and when they said ‘berry.’ At the start of the lesson, we could only speak of the tasty little fruits that sometimes are a good addition to pies. Mmm… pie.

It felt like it was just endless repetition, but it seemed to be working. I didn’t want to bore them too much, so I tried to joke with them a little bit making motorcycle sounds for them to remember what an R sounds like. It’s looking like I’ll have to be doing this a fair amount in the near future, so I hope all my students are able to show progress like this. Honestly, I don’t know enough alternate techniques to try with them if things aren’t working, so it could be a challenge if their development is dawdling.

After work, I went straight to the area that made me crash my bike a few days ago to take some photos. There, I found a lovely hilltop temple circled by tall trees and small statues. I think I need a guide to Japanese culture though since I don’t know much about the significance of each item at the temple’s site. For example, behind the main temple was a small set of steps leading up to a small shrine surrounded by a complex of tiny stone buildings no more than a foot high. On the other side of the shrine was a series of four marked stones that resembled gravestones. Rookie to Japan that I am, the significance of each symbol was lost on me (but it was fun to take the photos nonetheless).

I then wandered over to a complex that stood as an entryway to a cemetery. Grand buildings at the entry suggested they were the main attraction, but behind them was a condensed graveyard where the plants and tombs were tightly intermingled. I climbed to the top and watched as the sun started creating patterns in the early sunset sky. I couldn’t find a good position to take advantage of the textures above so I headed back down through the plants, bugs, trees, and stones.

Without a doubt, I will return there with more time and light on my hands. The area was so jumbled, it was difficult to distill its image down to anything simple enough for a photo. It will take some time to explore it fully and pinpoint the best tiny Buddha statues to frame.

One Response to “Leady, Set, Go!”

  1. onamez says:

    hei! like to be your friend.

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