15 February 2006

Wireless Internet... With Cheese?

Jenny sent me a pic she got from a coworker at a trade show down in Texas. It offers proof that in the South they either need some sort of help, or that they're covered in cheese. No matter how you look at it, today we get to have a chuckle at the expense of Texas.

Thank you, Texas. With cheese.

14 February 2006

Valentine's Day: A Girlfriend Related Item

Cat catching a frisbee.
Cat Frisbee, hosted by ImageShack.
Original image by Colin Thomas Photography.
As many New Year's resolutions do, my resolution to post more frequently started to falter one month into the year. I just hope that this two three week lapse is more forgivable than the fact that I missed much of November and all of December. January was a pretty typical month, other than returning from vacation. I got back into the swing of things, and all was good.

...and then February came along.

The Japanese school year ends somewhere in March. I'm not entirely sure, but I think that elementary schools have some sort of "international studies" requirement. If not that, then like many American schools when the end of the school year comes around, it's time to take a little bit of a break and let the kids have a little fun. Either way, within the first few days of February the requests started rolling in. Before I knew it, I had nearly 20 hours of school visits booked for the month. I'm sure there's more coming.

So... last week I was at an elementary school down in Kokubu city. We (me, Gon, Raka, and Nathan) had a total of four hours for around 130 fifth graders. The presentations went well; Gon asked that I do the frisbee thing again. I redid my old presentation and livened it up. Adding in the picture of frisbee cat (above) got quite a few laughs.

We also spent lunch and lunch recess with the kids. While we were outside, I got peppered with lots of questions. "How tall are you?" "How old are you?" and so on. Many of these questions you answer and don't give a second thought to. Other questions can get personal, and most of us choose to dodge them, or just not answer them.

(Let me apologize now for the lengthy explanation.)

One of the kids asked me "Jerry sensei... kanojo iru?" (ジェリー先生、彼女居る?) Translated, "Mr. Jerry, do you have a girlfriend?"

I've been down this road before. If I answer "yes", they will either start screaming until I show them a picture, or they'll cut to the chase and start asking questions like "What's her bra size?" "Do you guys do it?" and so on. Personally, I'd rather not spend recess being bombarded by questions better addressed to Penthouse Forum.

I went for the dodge. The plain form of the verb "to be" (iru, いる) has the same spelling as the plain form of the verb "to need". I looked down at the kid and replied "Un. Irimasu." (うん。要ります。) "Yes. I need one." This sort of word play is generally the same as cracking a pun in the U.S. Most people just don't see it as funny.

I don't know if the kid caught what I was trying to do, or if he just gave up on me after my strange answer, but he blinked, sorta shook his head, and ran off onto the playground. That's good enough for me. (See, I told you it was girlfriend related.)