Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Teaching Shock

I came to Akita on a Friday and was asked to prepare a self introduction to give in front of the whole school on Monday. They said I could use either English or Japanese, so I went with Japanese, because A: it was more fun, and B: it was a good excuse to just say some really basic stuff.

Hundreds of students assembled in the gym, standing attentively in rows. They had me walk from the very back all the way to the stage, going straight down the middle as they all turned and stared, murmuring excitedly. Why they couldn't start the ceremony with me already at the front of this gym, much larger than that of my own high school, I have no idea. In any case, my speech went fine, although they seemed to laugh a lot. This was partly because they were surprised at my Japanese, and partly, as I was later informed by a student, because I used some old-fashioned words that sounded silly (Damn you, Nintendo DS dictionary!)

I must say, the shock of having to introduce myself to classes and begin teaching right away was much greater than any of those things people associate with culture shock. Speaking Japanese and trying weird new foods is positively fun, as is learning how to use all the unfamiliar-looking Japanese appliances at my apartment. To suddenly become a high school teacher having never been one before, however, is quite a challenge.

But speaking of foods, I must admit, I do miss American peanut butter. All they have at our local supermarket is this "natsu kurimu" (nuts cream), which no matter what anyone says, is NOT peanut butter.

1 comment:

Sarah said...


When I spent a semester in England, I missed peanut butter! (Not to mention Reese's...) My favourite variety was Skippy SuperChunk (the regular kind, not low-fat). I also missed Mexican food, but got used to Indian food as a nice substitute.

With that said, I'd be glad to post you your favourite peanut butter if you give me your address.

Being in Japan is a good reason to miss my recital. ^_^ Hope you're doing well.