月曜日, 7月 12, 2004

A Relaxing Week

    Looks like it's going to be a relaxing couple of weeks without any major challenges. There are no more classes, although the students are still around. I walked around the school a bit earlier to see many of them zealously pursuing their Club Activities. I could hear the ubiquitous strains of music of the brass band and chorus clubs. I saw the tennis team playing tennis, the swim team swimming, and the badminton, basketball and gymnastics teams practicing in the same crowded gym. I talked to one student, who was "embarrassed" to talk to me, but everyone else was too busy.
    With this blog and my other projects, I no longer have trouble killing time, so I'm finding the break from classes relaxing.
   Last Thursday after going to Osaka, I visited my friend S. in Sanda and we went to "Nihongo Salon" there. I'd heard of this before but I didn't really know what it was, and when I saw many familiar faces coming in I wondered, "How can people of such different ability levels in Japanese be in the same Japanese class?" --because there really were people of all levels there. Actually, though, it's not a class, but rather a classroom meeting place where volunteer Japanese tutors come in and tutor learners one-on-one in conversation at whatever level is appropriate. At the end, the tutors have a meeting where they discuss problems that have come up and their strategies (S. wanted to stay and eavesdrop to hear them talking about us but I wasn't comfortable doing this, so we left) and after that everyone generally goes out for a friendly drink together. It was a sociable, positive atmosphere and I wish it was a little bit closer to me because there's no way I could go to Sanda every week. It cost me 1000 yen each way on Kobe Dentetsu, absurd considering you can go to Osaka for 390.
    Of course, there are opportunities for language tutoring in Kobe. I have language exchange partners. If I wanted to, I could get a volunteer tutor at KICC. But there's something appealing about the semi-structured framework of Nihongo Salon.
    Yesterday I hosted the monthly game meeting at my apartment. It was so-so. Settlers was fun as always (somehow I have a reputation for being "evil" at that game, and the guy Misa brought to introduce me to began to hate me when I continually set the Robber on him) but Cranium didn't hold everyone's interest after the first hour. Some people in the group are leaving to return to their countries after I've barely had a chance to get to know them. M., who is going back to Seattle, told me "goodbye...keep on being a smiling evil genius." I said "Thanks, likewise," but he said "I'm not smiling."
    "And he's not a genius." said his friend.