Another day of teaching, another 120+ students I have officially and formally "met". Today I had a true ALT moment-- as I was walking to one of my classes with the teacher, she was like, "so do you think you could come up with a game for us to play for 30 minutes? :) Luckily I did, and also luckily it turned out that we didn't need it. The kids in my 1st grade classes are very genki-- they are very involved and asked me a lot of questions. Most popular question is, "What Japanese food do you like?" I always say rice and pocky. Pocky are these little skinny, long cookies that look like pencils. They're usually covered in chocolate or strawberry cream. Very good. I also get asked a lot of "what's your favorite..." questions. The thing is, I don't think I have a favorite anything! I like pretty much most of what exists in the world. :) So because of this, I have taken to somewhat lying and made up official answers to these questions. My favorite food is now spaghetti, my favorite singer is Christina Agulleira (don't ask how I came up with that), my favorite hobbies are reading and cooking (cooking!?) my favorite sport is track and field, and my favorite animal is a bird. Hahahaha... that's what happens when you have to answer in simple answers that kids learning English will understand. Maybe I'm lying, but I think of it as helping the kids with English. I realized today that I don't mention my Christianity in my intro speech-- how weird. I can't believe I left it out. I don't know if it would be appropriate to mention or how the teachers would deal with it or what, but it strikes me as odd that I didn't even think about it. My fellow teachers do know I am a Christian-- I have referenced going to church several times, and they know I went to a Christian university. Interesting... somewhat alarming. But I also don't think I have to be wearing my Christianity on my forehead for me to have a spiritual impact on the kids. I don't know. This experience has put me in so many positions where I just have to pray for wisdom, because I have no idea "what Jesus would do". God does promise wisdom to those who ask.
This morning I woke up homesick, because I had a dream where I had decided to just pack up the bags and go home. Gosh that would be so easy in some senses. Just to be in a place where I could communicate and be totally independent would be such a sigh of relief. But God has placed me here in this place for a purpose. Still waiting to find out what it is, but then I look back at examples from the Bible (Hebrews 11) and realize there is a good chance I may never know why I'm here. But ya never know... that has become my recent mantra. :) Ya just never know... I feel like this is some kind of basic training-- like in the army or whatever in basic training they break you down to your lowest point so they can rebuild you again. Maybe that's what God is doing with me now-- rebuilding and training me for my future life of service.
Now for strange cultural notes. Squatty potties are confounding me. A squatty pottie is a Japanese toliet, which is really just a rectangle hole in the ground that flushes, and from the name I hope you can figure out on your own how it works. I have thought a lot about it, and I can't think of a reason why this is a better alternative to a western toliet. Maybe it saves water... that is really the only thing I can think of. Also, a lot of teenage Japanese guys shave their eyebrows off. At first I just thought these guys were odd looking, but then I realized the common factor. I asked Alina about it tonight and she doesn't understand it either, and thinks it is as weird as I do. I also originally thought it had something to do with some sort of gang, but Alina thinks it is just the fashion. People were meant to have eyebrows. Strange.