I always look forward to lunches because I’m usually starving by the time it rolls around. However, I especially look forward to it at my Wednesday school because I love talking with my 5th graders. We have the most random conversations and I usually learn something new every time I’m there. I feel bad for not eating with the other grades sometimes but I feel like I have a close relationship with my 5th graders and they now expect me to come there every week.
The first thing that usually happens when I come into the class during lunch is Hiro excitedly dragging me to sit down next to him. This week he sat me down to his old spot but then realized he moved. He quickly yelled “OH CRAP! No, SIT HERE DIEGO!” and moved my lunch tray and chair next to his before I could even say anything. Hiro usually tells me random facts about Japan during lunch or makes a terrible joke (to Aiko-sensei’s dismay). Hiro and the Bromance Bros like to make funny faces at each other from across the room (also to Aiko-sensei’s dismay) but I always end up laughing at them. Ryuga for some reason has the strangest knowledge of America, like Edward Scissorhands. Question Man will always clarify things to me if I’m confused about a conversation. Mimi is always running around because she’s in charge of the lunch announcements in the staff room. Something is always going on during lunch.
Once in awhile, I will sit next to someone else besides Hiro to get to know them. While I know all of my student’s name, I don’t know all of their personalities yet. I recently got acquainted with this really smart girl that I call Yuki. Before I thought Isa was the smartest one of the group but now I know it’s actually Yuki: she’s extremely intelligent and catches on really fast when we’re studying something new. She seems to like enjoying problems and schoolwork in general. When I sat next to her the other day, she was asking me what fushinsha was in English. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Despite this, she explained it to me very clearly; it’s as if my tutor was talking to me. I eventually figured out that it meant “suspicious person”. This conversation eventually turned into what the streets of America were like compared to Japan. While crimes in Japan happen, they’re pretty damn rare compared to the United States. I feel perfectly fine walking down a street late at night compared to my old city, Minneapolis. Obviously you don’t want to walk in a sketchy looking area but they’re not too present in Japan.
After teaching me fushinsha, she has begun to teach me other random things. Last week was a kanji quiz: “What does 新西蘭stand for? I figured out the first two characters but couldn’t figure out the third one. She eventually told me that 新西蘭 was the kanji for New Zealand. She explained the history of it, which was really interesting. I had no idea countries had their own kanji! Now whenever I see her, she’ll usually teach me something small.
Once in a blue moon another teacher will sit down with the 5th graders. A couple of weeks ago it was the nutritionist that sat with us and explained us the history of miso soup. Just recently we had the math teacher sit down with us. I love this guy because he’s a young teacher and really tries his best to speak English. He decided to eat lunch with us after I invited him to observe my lesson. We eventually came to the topic of bananas and why he hated them. The entire class was amazed because we had never met someone who hated bananas. Eventually he was compared to a gorilla somehow and the class was in an uproar in laughter. Finally, he started having a winking competition with a few of the students. I nonchalantly winked back and the girls went crazy:
“Diego! Sugoi! Your winking is amazing!”
“Yes, yes! Please do it again!”
“Umm, okay. *winks*”
“Whoaaaa! You’re so cool!”
They honestly thought I was a badass or something because of the way I winked. I don’t know why but none of them were really good at winking so when I did it, their jaws dropped. I probably ended up doing it around six or seven times. Even Aiko-sensei was impressed. I swear, anything you do in elementary is considered some feat of strength. Oh well, it makes for a good story! I wonder what we’ll end up talking about next week…?