today was my last day at Towa. This was the first school I
came to, three years ago in September and was my first exposure
to Japanese schools.
was a good visit. English club, excited students, strange
teachers, and bizarre school rules. Yoshiki Maruyama cried
when I left after two weeks. Met Ms. K., my favorite English
teacher at Towa. An older woman, about 37 back then, so high-strung
and tense you could bounce a quarter off of her forehead and
she wouldn't even know it.
other day during class when I realized aloud that that was
the last class we would ever teach together she got very sad
and quiet. She's the only teacher at Towa who really talked
with me and I enjoyed talking with her. I have a terrific
relationship with the students at Towa. Even the ones who
hated me three years ago love me now. I'll miss them a lot.
a group of teachers and I went out for an "enkai lunch".
Now I, nor any of my friends, have ever heard of an "enkai
lunch", but that is what the teachers at Towa JHS called
it. I think that they wanted to give me a good Japanese gesture
of farewell without spending all the money of a full enkai.
At least they didn't make me pay for it like they did at Isao.
Man, that sucked. What a bunch of jerks.
anyway, earlier in the week when they told me about it they
asked me what I'd like to eat and I said I could really go
for some good yaki-niku, which, I keep forgetting,
is Korean, not Japanese. Hard to remember when there's yaki-niku
places on every street. After I was reminded of this little
fact I said any Japanese food was ok, but yaki-niku
was already in the works. I asked an English teacher yesterday
where we were going and she told me the name of the place
and I asked her if she liked it and she said that she didn't
think it was a very good restaurant. Hmmm. Well, she's entitled
to her opinion, but I discovered today that some of the other
teachers, perhaps all, thought the same. They didn't think
much of the place. Which begs the question, why are we going
to a crappy yaki-niku restaurant? It could be that
they just didn't know of any good yaki-niku restaurants,
or maybe because the restaurant was so close to the school
(it was, just five blocks away).
school I was saying goodbye to students and taking pictures
and stuff and one of the English teachers had the nerve to
try and pull me away from the rest of them because the other
teachers were ready to go. I mean, come on. At least let me
say a final goodbye to students, most of whom talked to me
more than 90% of the teachers there ever did. I got the impression
that she just wanted to get it over with, which wasn't surprising
because I knew that English teacher never liked me anyway.
(But I heard that she doesn't like any ALT, so I didn't
feel so singled out).
any rate, we had a pretty good time at the restaurant and
I talked to a couple teachers who I'd never talked to before.
I know a couple better yaki-niku restaurants around
here, but it was fun. The principal and vice-principal were
apparently too busy to go, which is a shame because the principal
is always the ringleader at any enkai. For the school
parting gift, they gave me this really wierd-looking scroll.
Seriously. I wouldn't be caught dead with that on my wall.
We were at the restaurant for less than an hour and a half
before we went back to school.
we got back to the school I saw the English teacher who hadn't
come to the lunch enkai and he had so much trouble
telling me goodbye that he had to have a car salesman (who
happened to be at the school on official business, as it turned
out) translate what he wanted to say. Man, oh man.
gave some reply-letters to Ms. K to give to students I had
missed seeing because we left school before I saw them, I
cleared off my desk, said my final goodbyes and left. It was
depressing in the extreme. I hate goodbyes like this.
here mirrored those I had at Isao. I will sincerely miss all
the students, but I knew that I hadn't made that much effort
with the teachers.