Home > Pre-Japan > Breaking Ice in Japan

Breaking Ice in Japan

The past two days at two different schools have been “open days” where people can come in and watch the teachers teach. On Thursday I was involved, teaching a 5th grade class for about 30 odd principals, parents, and other teachers. I was slightly nervous, mostly because I did not make the lesson plan, meaning I didn’t feel as comfortable doing it. It went alright though, as this group of kids is great, and are always eager to learn. On Friday luckily I was not involved in the open house at my favorite school, but I attended a speech by a woman from Oita University about how to talk to children. How to praise and how not to praise them. It was focused on teachers and parents, and of course was all in Japanese. The great thing about it was that I understood more than 50% of it, and got all of the major points she was trying to make.

The problem was that in the beginning she wanted to do some ice breaking exercises! I understood this because she said she wanted to do some アイスブレーキング(ice breaking.) She asked all of us to pick a favorite number between one and five. We then had to stand up and go around shaking other people’s hands while conveying the numbers we were thinking of without using words. We had to wink. Except that apparently Japanese people can’t wink. It was awkward enough as it was because no one in attendance thought I spoke Japanese, and thus shied away from me. On top of that, I was a studly winker. Many people commented on my ability to close only one eye at a time. Once we had found people who had thought of the same number (I thought of three) we gathered in a circle, and then together sang a song called the “Tulip Song” apparently. I did not know it, but luckily it was easy enough to pick up the rhythm. The speaker then came up and asked one person in each group what their favorite animal was, and what sound that animal made. Using this sound we were then to, once more, hum the song. The guy from our group who was asked chose a pig, and so our group was stuck singing “Buuu Buuu Buuu!” to the rhythm of the song. It was actually a lot of fun, but slightly awkward. It’s always nice seeing Japanese people do these crazy things though, because this is very much like something that might happen in America, which makes them all the more real to me.

The rest of the speech was interesting, she spoke about the kinds of things children take in from their teachers and parents, but the most interesting part of it was the woman’s assertion that using “I” in a sentence praising a child goes a long way to boost their confidence. Instead of simply saying: “Great job!” saying “I think you did a great job!” gives them much more. Another good thing to say is: “You’re really helping me out by doing this.” when asking a kid to do something. Apparently because you make it personally about you, they feel much better about it.

I’m glad I went, and even more glad that I was able to follow the speech, something that makes me quite proud and very excited to continue to study Japanese and get even better.

And now for something entirely different, and since blog posts without pictures just seem so bare and unattractive, here are two pictures I took of some small doughnuts I bought at my new favorite grocery store, which has its own bakery, which makes its own French baguettes! Booya!

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Categories: Pre-Japan
  1. Winnie
    January 30, 2010 at 2:32 am

    at least the ice breaker wasn’t charades and u had to figure out “reproduction” that was awkward 😉 and i love your transition from child care to bake goods YUM (i bet that looks better then your baked doughnut… just saying) Keep up the good work!

  2. dotbearman
    January 31, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    still feel your enthusiasm, Dash, but what in the work are the things on top of the donut????LOVE…FOUFOU

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