William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

63. II Sankanbi

Today was our second Sankanbi. I wasn’t teaching a demonstration lesson this time, so I had parking duty instead. They take parking pretty seriously in this country – it’s a place where, if you buy a car, you have to prove that you have a place to park it. C. drove himself in a little early this morning – he was teaching a Sankanbi lesson – and he got into his usual parking area around 7:30. But then they told him to park over by the pool instead. So he did, and then they told him, no, it’s better to park on the street. So he did, and then they told him, oh, actually maybe it’s best to park in the lot. And so it was that he told me all this at 7:57 in the genkan when we were changing into our indoor shoes.

It was raining today, so the students were directed to move all of the umbrellas to make way for the parents’. Heck, our principal even turned a stool upside down and wrapped plastic around its legs to produce a makeshift umbrella stand. Unfortunately, the children took all of the umbrellas to different places, and when my time for parking duty came I couldn’t find either of mine. So I grabbed a forlorn-looking student’s umbrella that was a little too small for me, but did keep most of the water off my suit. Ohio gozaimasu. Good morning. Ohio gozaimasu…

After the lesson was over, I came by the room to speak with the parents (all mothers). A few of them had questions for me, and M-sensei was able to translate back-and-forth. As this was going on, I realized that the mothers were sitting at the desks of their children! I looked at some of them and immediately caught the resemblance. Many looked incredibly like older versions of their children. Of course, that’s what we’d all expect, but to actually see it is something else entirely.

What’s more, I have this student who sort of spends her lessons chewing her cud. She sort of rests on her elbows and takes on a vacant non-specific gaze (and it’s rarely even in the direction of her book). And not only did her mother look just like her, but she had the same vacuous expression and the same elbow-leaning the whole time M-sensei was talking! It was a little bit mean of me to note this (even mentally), but it just seemed to explain so much, not to mention be kind of funny. I’ll treat this child with a little more understanding now.

At the end of the day, acting on a tip from M2, I found my umbrellas. I shared the information with the other teachers, but C. wasn’t able to find his. I hope he’ll have better luck tomorrow. It’s easy to see why this happened – for this kind of thing to take place the way it did, it has to be on a Sankanbi or Open Lesson day (and there are only a few of these a year), and it has to be raining. It could have been years since the last time they had to relocate umbrellas in this way, and for me that explains the haphazard workflow.

Okay! Time to go food shopping!
Tags: japan, parking, rain, teaching, umbrellas, work

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