JKMH · Seasonal

Japan Keeping Me Humble #19

A Bug’s Life

Recently some of the kids asked if I’d like to meet their class pets.
The class pets:

For some godforsaken reason, it’s somewhat of an annual tradition for Japanese kids to spend the summer raising and caring for these beetles (kabutomushi and kuwagatamush), dutifully feeding them fresh fruits and jellies.
Apparently, they’re “cute”.

It’s a no from me.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble #18

Whiskey Business (Part 2)

I was showing my adorable elementary school sixth graders how to do a simple self-introduction:


“Hello, my name is Carla. I am from the UK. My birthday is May 12th.
I like peach. I like Famichiki. I like pandas. I like sleeping. Thank you for listening.”

All good until one of the boys piped up “Miss Carla. No whiskey highball?”

D’awww they know their ALT well! *wipes away tear*
Also, I’m starting to sense a theme, here.

~ Carla

JKMH · Language

Japan Keeping Me Humble #17

Not in my vodkabulary

So in front of all my teachers INCLUDING THE VICE PRINCIPAL, I was trying to say “I’ll go for two days”.
Know that I tried so SO hard in HORRIBLE broken Japanese:

私は二日通いです (Watashi wa futsuka gayoi desu)

However I came out with:

私は二日酔いです (Watashi wa futsukayoi desu)
(I am hungover)

Thank GOD the teachers at my school have a good sense of humour and explained my mistake after they’d finished pissing themselves laughing.

~ Carla

PS: Sorry for being quiet lately, it’s been spring vacation!


Japan Keeping Me Humble #16

Whiskey Business.

Today I was doing “What do you want me to do?” with my 3rd graders. They had to answer “I want you to bring _________” in relation to a BBQ, a birthday party or a school trip.

One student said: “I want you to bring me a highball.”
(A highball is a popular drink here consisting of scotch and soda water. It also comes in the form of a lethal 9% canned cocktail that TRUST ME leaves you with a pounding headache the next day.)

Nice try though, me little hun.
Aww, they know their ALT is from Newcastle.

I guess this is the Japanese schoolkid equivalent of “Can you gan into the shop for me…?

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble #15

Curious George.

I have quite a unique situation at my elementary school, where instead of teaching with the homeroom teachers – there is a dedicated English teacher who comes with me to all my classes there and we team-teach together.

This is to the relief of many homeroom teachers who don’t feel confident teaching English, but I miss seeing most of them on a regular basis. However my co-teacher has assured me that there are still a few homeroom teachers who are particularly enthusiastic about English who have asked to watch or even join in.

One of these is a third grade teacher who sometimes come to our classes dressed as a crazy gaijin called George in a blonde wig and a sparkly, spinning bow tie.

My co-teacher advised: “We will shout “George!!” and George will appear!”
When I asked what was the point to this endeavor? “I don’t know why.”
Ahh, Japanter banter at it’s finest.

Of course all the teachers thought this was hilarious, in fact the other third grade teachers loved it so much they now also have gaijin personas – so from time to time we have guest spots from “Mr. Smith,” “Catherine” and “Lisa” who rock up in wigs, talk loudly and generally cause some mayhem.

Bad, baka gaijins!

Stuff like this comes from such a good, pure place but is also so unintentionally offensive.

I swear I’m on a hidden camera show sometimes. My life is straight out of a Shimura Ken skit. (Notably this one).

~ Carla

*Coincidentally, my dad is called George. He’s not blonde though.
Miss you dad – love you!! ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ 


Japan Keeping Me Humble #12

Monkey see, monkey do.

During one of the ten minute breaks between classes before my final period of the day at my elementary school, a tannoy announcement from the principal advised that a monkey had been seen on the loose in the area.

The bairns were told not to approach it if you see it, or go looking for it.
So of course on the way home, everyone went looking for it.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble #11

In a rich man’s world…

My elementary school co-teacher spent a month in Australia on a homestay as a junior high school student, and during this time discovered a love for Swedish sensations, ABBA.

The bairns weren’t familiar with their music, so as a warm up this week we played a few snippets of their greatest hits.
Unfortunately the kids took a strong liking for Money Money Money and requested it was replayed.
All lesson. For the full 50 minutes.

Side note: The kids were also very confused by the name, thinking we were saying ばば (“baa-baa” – Grandmother). Cute!

~ Carla

PS: What’s your favourite ABBA song?

Mine is the GREATLY under-appreciated The Visitors, a gorgeous synthy bop about Soviet Union dissidents fearing a knock on the door from the KGB from their weird final album.