One of the major events of the school year is the school walk/ hike/ trek thing. Basically, the entire school walks…somewhere together. It varies from place to place and school to school. Some schools hike up a small mountain. Some schools walk to a historic place. It has to be completed in a day, so it has to be relatively close, but you can still do a lot of walking in one day. At my school we walk to the beach and, if the collect of grills by the front entrance the day before the trek was any indication, we eat some awesome barbecue along with our bentos. Everyone is required to bring their lunch that day. It’s the one day out of the entire year that my supervisor packs a lunch.
Needless to say, I was super pumped. A day of walking and getting to chill at the beach? How could I not be happy?
Cue the rain.
Cue the massive, insane, torrential rain.
So, we didn’t go to the beach, but we didn’t have classes. Instead, for the first half of the day, everyone hung out in the gym. There were some games and activities too, but it was a lot of killing time. So first there was a quiz about the teachers full of fun trivia like the fact that one of my JTEs is cousins with one of the computer teachers. I was hoping that I would be featured as a question in the quiz, but I then realized that the teachers were required to explain the answers to the students in Japanese. I was a little bummed, but I understand that I wouldn’t have been able to explain my answer for the kids, so it was really for the best.
There was also a multi-leg race. I’m not sure why my school seems to love that particular event so much, but they seem to do it whenever possible. There was also a cool mixer type game to help the students get to know the new first years. And really, that’s part of the point of the school hike anyway. You make all the students suffer together (suffer being a relative term in the case of my school. I mean, seriously, we’d be walking to the beach) and they bond.
During lunch everyone had to take a picture of their bentos. There’s a bulletin board near one of the entrance areas of the school that always has pictures of the bentos people made.
After lunch I went to the bathroom. (Not something I really needed to share, I know, but trust me, it’ll feed into the story.) As I was leaving the bathroom I noticed a bunch of students walking past and headed to the a/v room. One of my favorite karate club students happened to be walking by as I was stepping out of the bathroom.
Me: What are you doing?
Her: We are…see movie.
Me: Where are you watching the movie?
Her:…..-switches to Japanese- In the A/V room.
Me: What movie are you watching?
Me: Ok. Let’s go.
And that’s the story of how I ended up watching “Dawn of the Dead” for the first time, in Japanese, with a bunch of my students. The students wanted me to sit in the middle of the classroom, which of course made me smile. Also amusing was the fact that every so often one of the students who hadn’t seen me walk in would turn around and go, “Oh! It’s Jodi!” And then I would just sort of smile and nod like, “Yes, it is in fact I, the great Jodi. I know you are honored to be in my presence.” What can I say? My nods are incredibly communicative.
Even if we didn’t get to go to the beach, it was still a good day. I still got to hang out with the students and get to know them, but not quite as much as I had hoped. Still, there are plenty of other school events for me to enjoy. Though I remember how bored I was when I first got here, I’m really looking forward to summer vacation. Students don’t have classes, but they still have club activities. It’ll be a good time for me to wander around and try to hang out with clubs other than karate and kyudo.