Monday, November 06, 2006

Field trip with the 7th graders

This was a couple of weeks ago but it's still fresh on my mind. I went with a few other teachers and all of the 7th graders on a 12K walk from the school to the top of the mountain that looks over Tosu city. The students were nearly indistinguishable dressed in matching blue track suits and gleaming white shoes. That's part of why it's so hard to remember their names.

Before we left the school in the morning, the students were told that they must speak to me–if only a couple of words–at least once in the duration of the hike. There were few words other than "hello" that were said. We stoppeed at the top of the hill for lunch and recesss. I joined the students during lunch and was given pocket-fulls of candy, cookies, chips, etc.

On the way back down, one of the students thought it would be funny to sneak behind me and shove a plastic baseball bat towards my butt. It didn't have the force or momentum of a concho–a classic Japanese schoolboy stunt, in which a boy forms his hands in the shape of a pistol and pokes another human in the butt–but the intention was the same. So I reacted as though I had been concho-ed and the culprit was denied access to the bat for the remainder of the journey.

Despite the disturbance to my nether regions, it was a great day. This is a picture of me and some students. As you can see, we all have the "peace" sign thrown up. This is the compulsory pose for Japanese girls and boys under the age of 15.

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