Valentine’s Day in Japan

This Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.  In Japan, women give men chocolates.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you like somebody—a lot of people give their coworkers “obligatory chocolates” or friends give each other chocolates as well.

Students sometimes give their teachers chocolates too.  My friends got a ton of chocolates but I didn’t get too many.  It’s probably because Valentine’s was on a Tuesday and my Tuesday school is an elementary one.  I got one from my vice principal, and two from unknown teachers.  I’ll admit, I was a tad jealous of my friends.  I’ll admit though, my day at that school didn’t really help the situation.

It all started when I was teaching English with my teacher.  After one of the classes, she stopped me in the office and asked me a question:

Teacher: “How do you pronounce pizza?”

Me: “Peetzah?”

T: “Peeksa?”

M: “No, peetzah.”

T: Peeksa.

M: Peetzah.

T: No, you’re saying peeksa

M: ….

T: *pulls out electronic dictionary* See, the voice is saying “peetzah”.

M: Yes…

T: You’re saying peeksa.

M: No. *getting annoyed*

T: I think the dictionary is correct.

M: I’m saying peetzah.  That’s how we say it in America.

T: Maybe that’s how Spanish people say it?”

At that point, I nearly lost it.  First doubting a native speaker over a dictionary and now she was claiming it was my background that was causing me to “mispronounce” it.  Instead I simply sighed and went to the bathroom to get out of there.  I was kinda grumpy the entire day.  Some days I really hate my English teacher because she likes everything to be perfect and she doesn’t think she can be wrong.  She also never uses me in class, so it’s boring sometimes.

I was brooding for awhile, and just being bored in general.  5-3, the class with the girls who walk home with me was not in school that day because a lot of people had the flu, which sucked.  However some girls from 5-5, H-sensei’s class, came to the office around recess and invited me to their classroom. Since it was raining again that day, they were playing Fruits Basket.  I decided to join in but this time, whenever I was stuck in the middle I just used English.  It was a lot of fun and it cheered me up.  I actually understood 90% of what the kids were saying so that made me happy.  I visited 5-5 again at the end of the day and talked to H-sensei and his kids.  5-5 is probably my favorite class but 5-3 is not too far behind.  If anything, 5-5’s kids have a witty attitude (which they probably get from H-sensei) while 5-3 are playful and more innocent. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

That night I went to see my Japanese tutor.  She had found out that I passed the JLPT N4 and congratulated me.  After that, we studied a few readings, which kicked my ass.  However, even though I had to ask her a question every 5 seconds, I got the gist of the reading and answered the question it was asking correctly.  Before we parted, she gave me a bag with some heart-shaped cookies:

I was happy to have received more stuff on Valentine’s!  Honestly, I’m happy where I am in life right now.  Finding someone is on the list but I’m not wallowing in misery right now.  It was an interesting Tuesday to say the least.

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One response to “Valentine’s Day in Japan

  1. Pingback: Clashing with Subarashii | The Space Between Two Worlds

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