Thursday, April 25, 2013

Japanese Names

Usually I’m pretty good with remembering names. When I meet someone, I repeat the person’s name in my head a couple of times and remember it.  Japanese names are a little more difficult for me to remember.  Japanese names that sound like something I can identify are easier to remember.  One popular girl’s name is Saeko, which sounds like the word Psycho in English. When I first arrived in Japan and wasn't as familiar with Japanese syllables, I thought I must be hearing incorrectly.  Another girl’s name is Yurin, which sounds to me like Urine. Yukiko is little (ko) snow (yuki).   I really try hard to learn my students’ names as fast as I can.

My class at the university is a unique language learning group, I think.  They’ve each had either seven or eight years of English before getting to my class, but they are definitely not at the same level. The reason I think the group is unique is because of the Outdoor Life environment.  OL students are small in number and they do everything together so they are very close and very comfortable with each other. A mixed group of students who didn’t know each other would not take the risk of speaking out and possibly making mistakes, like these students do. They don’t seem to mind laughing at themselves.  A couple of examples of things that happened last class – They were practicing introducing another person in the class to me and one student said “he is soccer team”.  I asked her, “he is the soccer team?” and she said yes.  She did not understand what I was asking, but her partner did.  He put his arms out like he was very big and said “Yes, I am very good.  I am the soccer team.” She then understood, and said he is on the soccer team.  Later they were telling me what they like to do on the weekend. They had many different answers, some very simple and others more descriptive. One told me what he liked to do during each season of the year on the weekend. (No one said I like to practice English on the weekend, though.)  One student said what I thought was, “I like to meet.”  Thinking the sentence wasn’t finished, I asked “Do you like to meet people?” She put up the big crossed arm sign and said no, no, no.  Come to find out, she meant to say she likes to eat meat. It became the ideal time to talk about words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and mean different things. I do like teaching here.

We haven’t been seeing as many of the pineapple birds lately.  We found out their name is Tsugumi and they are going back to Russia for the summer. We will miss them; they’ve been quite entertaining.

You’d think that between bird watching and preparing for English classes, I wouldn’t have time to stitch, but I do.  Here’s what I’ve been working on:

I have the individual pieces stitched and cut out.  Now I need to put it together with the lining fabric to make the little book.  I have three little needle pages, instead of the five shown on the pattern; the scissors cover and tiny strap to hold them in place; and another little cover for something else.  I’m not sure the other little something is going to work.  Stay tuned to see how it turns out……

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Your students sure keep you interested. I laughed at your comments about names. At present I am having trouble at work with Carla and Carmen- neither of them are impressed when I confuse them!
The Pins and Needles book looks good.