Sorry for the depressing bloggery. Here’s some random tidbits that have kept me amused in the meanwhile:

  1. So a couple weeks ago, I stepped outside into the thickest fog I’ve ever witnessed in my life. It made me rethink video games a bit… well, let me explain myself. You know how cars only explode into flames in movies? Well, that’s not true. They really do explode into flames in California. I saw it a lot when I was there. Since they make movies in California, they must assume it’s natural for cars to explode. I figure it’s the same with games — you think that distance fog is just because of clipping plane issues? No, it actually happens in Japan. Take a look.
  2. I have taken to calling one of my kids “Zipper kid.” This is actually the same student that made the Ultraman bracelet earlier. He’s taken to pointing at my crotch and yelling “Open the zipper!” The first time, it was slightly open (blame the pants, not me), but every time after that, it’s been closed. Finally, today, the kid does it again, and I’m like, “No, it’s not open.” Then he reaches out and PULLS OPEN MY ZIPPER. I zip it back up and say, “You shouldn’t do that.” The other students are like, “OHMYGOD YOU’RE SO CREEPY, ZIPPER-KUN!” Normally I’d agree, but something’s been going wrong with the poor guy’s life, though I don’t know what. He’s stopped paying attention in class, and he is in the teacher’s lounge every day, getting chewed out by someone different. Today he was actually crying.
  3. The 2nd graders at one of my elementary schools put on a Winter Festival this week. They made a bunch of festival-type games, gave everyone tickets, and manned booths, giving away origami as prizes. It was unbearably cute. Here are some choice photos.
  4. To motivate my students to study English, I told them about the following things: my found-in-Japan I Hate Myself And I Want To Die t-shirt (which I showed them), how English-speakers generally react to the name “Wii” (specifically, the phrase “playing with my wii”), and All Your Base Are Belong To Us (even showed them the video). After that, they were significantly more motivated to learn English, because they didn’t realize how silly they looked.
  5. I played Mad Libs with my students, in order to to practice possessive pronouns (e.g. “a dog that eats natto, “a girl who is running in the park”). They weren’t as creative as I’d hoped, but one of them, for the “a food that descriptive clause” blank, wrote “Mr. Yoshida, who is playing sekuhara (sexual harassment).” I stopped class and taught them how sekuhara was a contraction, like pokemon. I taught them how to say it correctly, had them practice it, made sure they used the correct verbs, and after they’d got it, told them in strict yakuza-style voice to never say it in class, or I’d kick their asses.

On a similar vein, while teaching about the future tense, and practicing “I will XXXXX this weekend,” I had the following conversation with one of my kids, a 13-year old boy:

Kid: “I will play sex this weekend.”

Me: “I will HAVE sex this weekend. HAVE sex.”

Kid: “Oh, I will have sex this weekend! Okay!”

Me: “Who will you have sex with?”

Kid: (thinks a second, points at me) “Jason-sensei!”

Me: (in Japanese) “No, you will have sex with yourself. Alone. In your room.”

Kid: “No! I will have sex with Jason-sensei!”

Me: (in Japanese) “You will have sex with a toy. A doll. Of a dog.”

Kid: (laughs a minute, then looks at me seriously) “I will have sex with girl.”

Me: “Oh yeah, who?”

Kid: “Wait a minute!” (runs off, grabs a girl and drags her back with him) “Her! Her! This girl!”

Me: (to girl) “Isn’t that boy kind of creepy?”

Girl: “He’s really creepy!”

Me: “He says you will have sex with him this weekend.”

Girl: “NO WAY! GROSS!” (hits the boy as hard as she can square in the chest)

Kid: “OW!”

Me: (cackle)