Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Bane of My Existence

This year isn't as bad as last, when I spent 3 months doing the SAME EXACT THING: 2-minute interviews with every kid in every school I went to (around 2,000). So far it's been much more spaced out, but that doesn't keep it from dredging up bad memories.

*knock knock* [student opens door, comes in, closes door]
Student: May I come in?
Me: *sigh* Sure.
Student: Good morning, Mr. Jeremy-sensei [it's 2:30pm]
[student sits down at desk and gives his evaluation sheet]
Me: Good afternoon.
Student: Here you are.
Me: Thanks [but you already gave me the paper]
Student: You're welcome.
Me: How are you [glance at name on sheet, written in scribbly kanji, can't read it]...?
Student: Imfinethankyouandyou.
Me: I'm tired and the miso soup gave me gas. Thanks for asking.
[student looks pleased they made it this far, then their face falls when I ready the Hamtaro timer. Who ever thought such a cute thing could inspire fear in a 12 year-old?]

The rest of the interview is even more mundane than the beginning. They have 1 minute to answer all the questions I throw at them. In the process I learn that 90% come from the immediate vicinity of the school (go figure), every one of them plays either baseball, soccer, badminton or table tennis, they're all either 12 or 13 years old, and they all watch one of the same 3 TV programs. How enlightening. Having completed their ordeal (they're trapped in an empty classroom with a big, scary, farting gaijin-san who's barraging them with questions, hoping they can answer enough of them correctly that I don't have to fail them), they leap up, race out, politely close the door and run down the hall screaming "yaaaa-daaaa!" Not my most exciting moment.

Repeat 3 or 4 times a day, for one week. Yuck.

On the upside, my mother sent me a care package with some Valentine's Day cards, the kind you got when you were a kid. You know, the ones with Scooby-Doo and the gang on the front and "Boo! my Valentine" on the back. I've been handing them out to the kids randomly, as they come by my desk, and gave big ones to the student council kids. They were a huge hit. It's amazing what little things will do for your popularity.

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