May 29, 2000
10:11 pm
Right now I'm feeling: Mellow

Right now I'm listening to:Mashaharu Fukuyama

Mashaharu Fukuyama: Tsuioku no ame no naka

  Quote of the Day:
"Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another."
-- Madonna

Comic Concerns

I've been running the American comic book lesson in class for the past week or so. I bring in some of the comic books that I brought back with me from the States and give them the rundown of the differences between the comics here and there. There are a few really surprising differences. I'll give you guys the cliff notes:

1) Comics in Japan are between 100 and 400 pages.

2) Most comics cost between 2 and five bucks.

3) Most comic books are in black & white.

4) Most comic books contain more than one story (sometimes as many as ten), by more than one artist and writer.

5) Boys, girls AND a surprising number of adults read comic books.

6) There are an appalling number of pornographic comic books (some of the porno stories are in comics that many of my students read).

7) Preservation of comics in bags, boards, and/or mylar is nearly unheard of.

8) Comic books are sold at kiosks and in all convenience stores.

When I handed out a few comics for them to look at and pass around, it soon became clear that these kids had no idea how to handle comic books. I cringed as they handed them off to the next person in front or behind, holding it so the middle bent, or God forbid, the spine. These comics weren't my most valuable (I'm not crazy), but even taking into consideration the great Comic Crash of '92, they're still worth something (though not as much as I inadvertantly led them to believe). I asked them to be careful and told them how much some comics were worth. They were totally shocked (no one collects comics here) and handled them more carefully. After that, my lecture took on a completely different bend. I told them a bit about the history of comics, the different values of comics, the importance of art and story in value, etc. It was pretty cool. It was pretty far out for them, they never thought comics could be like that. Just something to read this week and line their pet's cage next week (OK, I'm exaggerating now... I'm not sure if any of them do this).

I passed around some real ratty comics, along with a few in bags and boards. I wouldn't let them opened up the bagged ones, but I told them that if they wanted a look inside I'd show them at lunch or after school.

I love talking to the students outside of class. If you try, you can get them to understand thumbnail views of just about anything using gestures and voice intonations. I was really glad when this one first grader came to me at lunch and started asking me about the comics. He was really interested. I took him through the Ghost Rider™ comic book I had brought.

Reason #157 Why Jeff is a Bad English Teacher

The following is taken from an actual conversation held in the teachers' room after school today between the 'ALT' known as 'Jeff' and an anonymous first grade student who will only be referred to as 'Kenji'.
Reader discretion is advised

Jeff: OK, kid. So, this is 'Ghost Rider'.

Kenji: 'Ghostu Rida'.

Jeff: Yup, that's right. And he's a bad ass mofo. He's got this awesome motorcycle, which... wait. Can you say, 'baaad-assss'?

Kenji: 'Baaddo asssu'?

Jeff: OK, close enough. So, he's got this motorcycle and when he touches this icon right here... he turns into a dark angel of vengeance with a fiery-skull head and this chain which can do a bijillion things. Kore wa 'skull' desu. (This is a 'skull'). Repeat. 'Skull'.

Kenji: 'Skuru'.

Jeff: Yeah, good! And this guy with the big gun here is called the Punisher. Repeat. 'Punisher'.

Kenji: 'Punishah'.

Jeff: And the punisher is a vigilante, too. He brings swift death to the miscreants who prey on the weak and helpless. Repeat. 'Swift death'.

Kenji: 'Suwifto deasu'.

Jeff: Now you're gettin it! OK. So, they team up here only because they're totally surrounded by...

Well, you folks get the idea. He did learn something and it was fun! He stuck it out and really tried to understand what I was saying even though he couldn't understand the words. Most times they just give up. And I could tell he did actually get the gist the story.

Ironically, during one of the day's lessons, I had to confiscate two comic books. The errant student tried to conceal it by holding it below desk level. That never fools me. I came by, snatched it up and used it as an example of Japanese manga. I looked back at him 10 mintues later, and he was reading another goddam comic book! I snatched that one up and took them both back to the teachers' room at the end of class. He came after school to claim them. I gave them back, but not until he said, "May I please have my comic books back?" (In English, of course). A Japanese English teacher made him say it another three times until he got the pronounciation right.


So, yesterday I was telling you guys how Aya and I got in this big fight about free will and Japanese culture and how she got totally pissed off for no good reason. After all, I was right.

Anyway, she came by today to apologize for getting angry and stuff... not to say that she was wrong, but she will. Eventually. Of that there can be no doubt.

To the Archives What has Past What is Yet to Come Go Home Email Me! Subscribe to my Notification List