There’s always something to talk about when it comes to junior high.
I’ve decided to change Tsu’s nickname to Maido. Without fail, she will always say “Maido!” to me every time I see her. For some reason, she’s been even happier than usual. Whenever I do the daily greetings with the 2nd years, I will see Maido in the very back waving her hands excitedly yelling, “DIEGOOOO! Hellloooooo!! Maiiiiiiiiidooo!” I’m not exaggerating. She’s one of my favorite students because she has the power to lift up your spirits with her endless energy. I remember one time I was trying to fix the TV to show my Powerpoint and during the entire time, I could hear her from the back saying “Diego! Fighting!!!” It’s hard not to crack up to her random English comments. The weirdest one is when she says “You’re a really nice looking guy” to me. It’s the equivalent of her greeting to me (after saying “Maido!” of course). Whenever I ask her where she learned that, she just grins at me. Her English is very katakana-ized, meaning that she speaks English like a Japanese would read the language. For example, “What food do you like?” would translate to “What-o food-o do you like-ku?” but for some reason, “You’re a really nice looking guy” is said like a native English speaker. Maido will say this to anyone as a way of thanking them. As mentioned earlier, I was having trouble turning a TV on. One of my students figured it out for me and Maido quickly said “Shun, good job! You’re a really nice looking guy Shun!”
Yuuyuu is still quite the weirdo. She’ll randomly pop from out of nowhere and say “Waa!” as if she’s trying to scare me. With her soft, lazy voice though, it’s pretty much impossible to. Whenever I try to speak to her English, she will flat out refuse to use it, even though she knows what I’m talking about.
“Ah, Diego! Genki desu ka?” (“How are you?”)
“Oh, Yuuyuu. I’m good, thanks. How are you?”
“*looks at me confused*”
“I know you know ‘How are you’. How are you?!”
“….genki desu ka?”
“Hai, genki!” (“Oh, I’m fine!”)
A lot of our conversations end up being like that. Manami, her best friend and our school’s English prodigy, seems to be a little jealous that we talk a lot. That’s too bad because I really want to try talking to Manami a lot and gearing her up to more advanced English. She’s really into the language and recently took a English certification test and passed. She talks just like a native speaker, despite the common errors she makes. If only she were a bit more confident…she will usually give up right away when we try to speak in English. I guess in terms of their friendship, Manami definitely plays the “straight man” role.
I can tell the second years and I are getting more comfortable with each other. Our topics have a lot more variety than just small talk and kids who were less than willing to talk (aka Ina) are now talking to me actively and greeting me. I have full English conversations with some of them during lunch. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year with them already…