Sunday, August 24, 2008


Whereas most people have nice lawns, flowers, or other inviting areas as their front yard, I on the other-hand have a nice big, pink school.  That is, the Hokkaido Sapporo Intercultural and Technological High School, to be exact.  As I stated earlier, this has been one of the best parts of my placement...the 40 second commute to work is unbeatable!

My first week of classes actually consisted of 3 days as I had JET Sapporo Orientation for the first few days of school.  With the help of my wonderful neighbor-girl, Nagi, my Japanese office introduction and addressing of the school went decent.  Everyone told me my Japanese was clear and understandable, altough the Japanese have politeness and compliments down to an art, regardless of if it's deserved or not!  I have a feeling, in reality, it sounded like someone throwing up, but that's just me.

Nagi and I working on my speech.  Photo by Ross Cole-Hunter.

When we were bored with speech-writing, we put our hair in our sunglasses like a couple of hairy linguistic animals:

Oh yeah...back to school.  S.I.T. has about 80 teachers and 1,000 students.  All of the teachers have their desks in a communal staff room (typical of most Japanese schools), which is also open to the students to come in and chat or ask questions. 

My desk and the aging, glowing, growling box that is my computer, a heirloom passed down from the many ALTs before me.  I must always listen to it (when it does turn on) and learn from its ancient ways: 

Added benefit of the community staffroom:  the lunch-lady who brings bento lunches for sale (I love bento lunches)!  Many smaller schools merely have a tea-lady.  We, however, get bento!  My first bento lunch (and I promise, my last photo of said school bento lunches):

Like I already stated, the JTEs (Japanese Teachers of English) who I work with are all lovely and speak amazing English!  S.I.T. really is a leader in foreign language education as far as the Japanese school system is concerned (most other school's English classes are usually taught in Japanese by instructors who know basic English at best!).

A few of my colleagues (my stalking abilities only captured two of the four teachers I work with...more to come in the future):

Sakai sensei and me

Me and Matsuhashi sensei

The other English ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), Dawn (from Singapore) and me

A few interior shots of the school.  I have some fabulous shots of some of my students, however out of respect and privacy of them (not to mention the internet's creep-factor) I probably won't be posting them in the near future anyway. Don't despair, though...if I can get some of their permission in the future, I will be bombarding you with them!

The "canteen" (name given to the common area):

Hallways with shoe lockers (I still love that we have indoor shoes and outdoor shoes):

A common sight, six days a week (yes, they are even at school many Saturdays), from 7:30am until 6:00pm or later!  These kids are involved in SO much, from studying to sports to clubs.  In addition, some of them have up to a 2-hour commute to and from school each day:

I'm still trying to figure out which drug this guy doesn't want us to have:

I won't pain any of you with the details of my self-introduction (a rousing round of True/False questions about me...the same one done 6 different times for 6 different classes), however it did involve an open-question session afterwards.  Here are a few that I got:

Do you like Johnny Depp?
Do you have a boyfriend? (asked in every class)
Where do you live?
What is your bloodtype? (apparently, knowing your bloodtype is like knowing your birthday)
How old are you? (to which I replied, 87)
What is your favorite Japanese food?
Do you like natto?
Do you have kids?
What is your favorite American food?
Do you care to know about Japanese culture?

In addition, I also received many letters telling me about themselves and asking even more questions!  I now end with some of the highlights (note:  all letters edited for space, but copied exactly as written):

Dear Crystal,
Hello!  Let me introduce myself!  My blood type is A and I belong to badminton club.

Dear Crystal,
Hello!  How are you?  I'm fine thank you.  But I'm sleeping now.

Dear Crystal,
My hobbies are playing the piano and blowing the oboe and playing my cat.  I want to become friendship with you.

Dear Crystal,
Do you like Japan?  How do you feel Japanese students?  Look good?  or Look bad?

Dear Crystal,
HIP HOP is very important to me.  HIP HOP inspirated  me a lot.  And it may last until the end of my life.  And I also like Rock as one of the junres of music.

Dear Crystal,
I have two questions for you.
First, when did you marry?
Second, how is your husband?
Third, is he cool?

Dear Crystal,
My question for you is why did you come to Japan?
And why do you teach English for me?
Where are your husband?  Are you miss your husband?


natalie snow veney said...

i loved reading your letters...makes me think of how i should write down the things kids 3-5 years old tell and ask me..."sometimes... when i squeeze my penis, it stands up."

gotta love it!

jessica said...

omg that is so funny!!! the african girls would ask me those kinds of questions too.... oh and they pronounced my name jess-a

jess-a is deforestation bad? (after two days of discussion the effects of deforestation)
jess-a do you have a boyfriend?
jess-a do you have sex?
jess-a are you on your period?