I’m going to write quite a lot, so I’ll just split it into a couple entries tonight. :)
MEGAN-SENSEI SIT WITH US OMG SIT WITH US
IF YOU DON’T SIT WITH US I’M GONNA DIE
At least, that’s what it seemed like my ichinensei (first years) were saying the other day.
I finally gathered enough courage to sit with my students at lunch about three weeks ago. I asked Komatsu-sensei if I could eat with the students, and she said yes. She said it would be easier for me if I ate with her class, so she could translate if the students wanted to talk to me. She teaches second and third years, but she is the homeroom teacher for class 2-2, so she eats lunch with them in their classroom.
It was awkward eating lunch with them. They seemed afraid to talk to me, and I was a little afraid about talking to them, too. XD So we mostly ate in silence. They asked a few questions, though.
I ate with them for a week and a half, and then I thought eating with the ichinensei would be fun, because they seemed more interested in me.
I asked Kawana-sensei (pretty sure he’s a social studies teacher) if I could eat with his 1-2 class, and he gave the okay. I walked in with my tray while they were still setting up the classroom, and I asked Kawana-sensei where I should sit. Rikuya, one of my favorite students, asked why I was there, and Kawana-sensei told him. Rikuya got excited, and Kawana-sensei said, “Okay, she’ll eat with group 2.”
Then Rikuya’s eyes widened and he shook his head, looking rather embarrassed. XD
So I sat with Rikuya’s group. Rikuya, as always, talked to me in rapid-fire Japanese. The other students sometimes jumped in saying, “In English, say it in English.” XD I think he didn’t know how to, though, and it sounded like he was talking about some pretty complicated stuff. xD I don’t think I would have understood even if I did know the vocabulary.
He eventually asked me if I watched Fairy Tail though.
And that’s when the bullying started. :/ The other kids started to make fun of him a little, saying that he was going to marry Lucy (the main female character), and he looked very embarrassed and immediately stopped talking. Then one boy turned to me and said, “Rikuya loves Megan-sensei.” Rikuya looked mortified. The boy had said it in English, too, so it’s not like I could pretend that I didn’t understand. xD It caught me by surprise though, so I said, “What?”
This bullying may not sound all that bad, since you’d think this teasing wouldn’t be all that effective, but I learned in my Intro to Psych class about that through this really great experiment. The TA had a group of students sit in a circle and discuss something. The TA stood behind each student with a card that instructed the others how to treat that student while they discussed the topic (I think they were making a list of words or something). One card said, “Act like whatever I say is a really great idea.” Another said, “Act like my ideas aren’t that great.”
And yet another said: “Laugh at everything I say.”
While the second one was pretty bad—the student felt a little depressed at the end of it—the third one was actually the worst. After the experiment was over, they explained how they felt, and actually while I was watching, I could tell how they were feeling. They said that at first, they felt like everyone liked them and thought they were funny, so they played into that. But after a while, when they were giving serious answers, they started to get depressed, and eventually, they just stopped talking. When people laugh at everything you say and don’t take you seriously, that can be worse than if they just ignored you altogether.
I know there’s another example from a book or a TV show somewhere, but I can’t remember what it is…
Anyway, that’s kind of how I feel like the kids treat Rikuya sometimes. :/ Which sucks because he’s a really great kid.
That day was also a natto day. One of the boys sitting next to me hates natto—the entire lunch, he was saying, “Kusai, kusai” (That stinks). But the boy sitting across from me ate three packages of natto. It was… so funny. XD
This last week, I ate with class 1-1, too. That class was pretty exciting—they are a very genki (energetic) class. I asked the teacher beforehand, and when I walked in with my tray, the entire class looked at me, surprised, and then they all immediately exploded:
“SIT HERE, SIT HERE!”
I panicked and sat down in the empty seat nearest the door—which happened to be at Reo’s table. Reo is pretty funny, and she likes to talk to me and make fun of me. At first, I didn’t really like her, because she struck me as sort of a bully, but I bullied her right back (you know, making fun of her), and I think we get along. :) She seemed pretty happy about me sitting at her table, but she didn’t talk much to me.
I mentioned this in a previous entry—Reo is the student who asked me why I smile every day.
The next day when I walked in, the student exploded again, but before I could sit down, Yusuke stood up forcefully, pushing his chair back hard, and stomped over to grab an extra chair behind the teacher’s desk. He stomped back to his cluster of tables, dropped the chair, and slapped the seat.
Yusuke: “SENSEI, HERE.”
Well! That decided things.
While we were eating, Yusuke turned to me and said, “This fish.”
Yusuke: “This fish… not delicious.”
The other students nodded and concurred.
Yusuke: “Do you like?”
Me: “Er… chotto…” (Sort of…?)
He was right, though; the fish that day wasn’t very good. It didn’t have a great flavor… The other fish we’ve had, I’ve been able to tolerate and eat (I’m not a big fish fan—haha, what the hell am I doing in Japan?), but this fish… I didn’t finish it.
Naoto, who was sitting at the other end of the table-cluster, began to practice his conducting for the choir competition, waving his arms around. I imitated him, waving my arms around all crazy, and he laughed and said I looked like an octopus. XD
The third time I ate with that class, I ate with Kai’s group. (I’m naming the groups by the students whose names I know. XD) I’d met Kai before school even started—he was one of the kids at the beach that day I got stung by jellyfish. He and his sister were in the water, and they introduced themselves to me in English. It was super cute!
The students at his table really wanted to tell me something. They kept pointing at Kai, talking about milk, and gesturing at their noses. I think they were trying to say that Kai squirted milk out of his nose before. I was like, “Haha, okay.” And then…
I was talking to the student next to me when suddenly THERE WAS A GREAT DISTURBANCE.
When I turned, Kai had his hand over his mouth and nose and he was turning to run outside to the sink (which they have on the balconies outside the classrooms). All of the students at the table laughed, and Yusuke came over to see what the fuss was about.
I still don’t know. XD What made him do that? Did he laugh really hard? Or is it a party trick to shoot milk out of your nose?
Anyway, when he sat back down, things settled again, until the students started to talk about what “baka” means (it means “stupid” or “foolish”). Kai kept pointing to the student next to him, saying, “Foolish, foolish.”
It sounded like the other student was confused, but I didn’t really understand what they were talking about. Kai said, “Baka, foolish,” and I gave an affirmative “Nn,” because my mouth was full and I wanted to confirm that yes, that is what it means. But Kai interpreted it as an agreement. XD
The students laughed and said, “Sensei said you’re foolish!” The boy (I can’t remember his name) looked slightly shocked, and I felt kind of bad. So then I turned to Kai.
Me: “But that’s okay, because you are crazy.”
The other students burst out laughing and pointed at him, calling him crazy. HAHAHA HOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED, KAI-KUN. HOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED.
:D He was good sport.
So I’ll continue to eat with the students. I haven’t eaten with the third years yet, because… well, they are big. O____O
I could probably still beat them up, though.
Ichinensei: Lit. “first year student(s).” In Japanese characters: いちねんせい. In Chinese characters: 一年生.
Genki: Healthy, energetic.
Kusai: Smelly, stinky.
Baka: Stupid, foolish.