Thursday, July 05, 2007

Skits, Round 2

Today's offerings were not as stellar as yesterday. They also, despite my best efforts to drag out the proceedings as long as possible, finished well within the class time (aka, the skits were mostly all too short). This meant I had to spend the last five minutes in an improvised conversation with the teacher, and it was just brutal:

K-sensei: "Uh, Julie-sensei. You are going back to Canada in a few weeks. You have been teaching at Gifukita for almost one year. Uh, what is your impression of Japan?"

Me: "Ohhh, Japan is very...uh, interesting. The culture is very different. The people are very kind. blahblahblah different from Canada blahblahblah students work hard blahblahblah." I'm not sure what I said but I was cringing as I said every bit of it, as it was SO cliche.

K-sensei: "Uh, OK, thank you."

[He checks his watch. I check my watch. 4 minutes left. Damn!]

K-sensei: "Uh, Julie-sensei. What is your plan in Canada?"

Me: "Uhhh, I should have a plan???" I stammered something about not knowing yet (good one - make them think you're leaving Japan because you must escape while you still can, NOT because you have an actual reason to go home) and some drivel about if any of the students are ever in Canada in Toronto or Ottawa to please visit me. Ugh.

K-sensei: "Uh, OK, thank you."

[He checks his watch. I check my watch. 1 minute left. Damn!]

K-sensei: "Let's finish early. Owarimasu!"

Thank God.

Anyway, enough about me. Here's today's offerings:

Akazukin - This was fairly well-done, but it never ceases to amuse me that the Japanese are convinced that Little Red Riding Hood is, in fact, a traditional Japanese fairy tale. They are always shocked when I tell them that I, too, know this tale. This, despite the fact that, in Japan, you can't find a pumpkin pie to bring to grandmother's house to save your life.

Modern Momotaro - Peach Boy again. But this time, grandfather went to play pachinko (instead of to the forest to cut bamboo) while grandmother went to do the washing, not in the river, but at the coin laundry. Then grandmother went shopping for groceries and brought home fruit for dinner. But she forgot the laundry! So grandfather goes to get it for her, and he finds a baby floating in the washing machine! The plot thickens.

We Are Puppets! - Sounded suspiciously like a story I remember from a junior high textbook, except the English wasn't perfect enough to be directly copied. A boy dreams of 5 puppets, who try to convince him to leave school and become a puppet like them. He doesn't like school but he does like his World History class teacher (the puppets don't like history), so he decides to stick it out as a human boy.

Let's Go On A Picnic! - Another skit that sounded like something you'd find in a junior high textbook. 5 boys meet and after talking about food they like, decide to have a picnic the next day. Who will bring what? Where shall they picnic? Dramatic levels ran high.

Doraemons - Doraemon is a hugely popular anime character here. After the 6 girls introduced themselves each as one of the show's characters, they launched into a dastardly plot to convince me (yes, me) to not leave Japan for Canada. But they decided that was not nice, and gave me a gift instead: a big thank you. It sounds cute, and it kind of was, but it was also TOO SHORT (about 90 seconds long).

Harry Potter - These girls did the scene in the first book where Harry first figures out how to fly. They brought brooms! (But were in the end too shy to use them...) This skit had the Best Commercial Plug of the Day: "Oh, Harry! You're wonderful! You're wonderful! ...And remember, the new Harry Potter movie opens on July 20, so why don't we all go see it together? The end!"

Hero X Satan - This skit started with a lengthy caveat emptor all in Japanese which I couldn't get them to translate (turned out later to be: "We are sorry. We did not do a speaking skit. We are now going to tell you a story.") 5 boys each told a long story about how they used to be a hero but then had a brush with Satan ("Sah-tan") and now their heroicism is diminished. OK, I didn't really understand this one. I think it's a boy's thing. (The boys in the class seemed to enjoy it, but the girls all seemed slightly perplexed.)

Best Line(s) of the Day, from Modern Momotaro:
Grandmother: "What's that baby?"
Grandfather: "He was in the washing machine."
Grandmother: "You ... you're joking!" [She hits him.]
Narrator: "They fighted for three hours."

Stay tuned, next week, for more Tales From The Skits!!!

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