Friday, August 22, 2008

I'll teach you, you teach me

Tomoki is excited about learning English. There's no doubt about it.

The boy has come by my apartment and/or e-mailed me almost every day since I've been here, eager to practice. In one e-mail to me, he attached a picture of his room. I immediately noticed the American flag on his wall, which he called his star-spangled banner. He knows the words to the national anthem better than most Americans probably do! I know because he was more than happy to sing it for me.

He asked me if I speak Japanese, and I told him no, but casually added, "Maybe you can teach me." Well, he's taken that to heart! He came over last week with a chart of 50 hiragana Japanese characters and told me to study them.

While that's very nice of him to make me a chart, this is how I feel when I look at it...

Slightly overwhelmed!

The following e-mail from him made me chuckle:

Hi Dana, I'll come to your apartment. For me, meeting you is the enjoyment. The hiragana might be difficult. But I teach plainly to you. I bought camera. Because I want to take your smile and my smile. Hope you are well. Tomoki.

The picture he wanted of our smiles together :)

Because of the way he words things, it may come across like he's somewhat creepy, but he's really a cute kid who loves to learn. He just doesn't have perfect English....yet. ;)

Our first lesson last week went well. We were going over the difference between the pronunciations of "ear" and "year"; he pronounced both words as "ear." I also had him differentiate between "pool" and "pull," as well as "tool" and "tell." When I asked him if he knew what a tool was, he said, "Oh, Avril Lavigne! Tool me!" He was thinking of the song "Complicated," -- the part where she sings "Tell me..." I thought it was funny.

When his lesson was over, he asked me if I have laundry detergent. I have no idea why. Only he didn't know how to say detergent, so he acted it out, and I had to solve the mystery of what he was trying to say. Then he said to let him know if I have an accident. What?!? "E-mail me." Ummm...okay?

We've set lessons to be twice a week -- every Monday and Wednesday after school. I gave Tomoki a list of English words to review before his next lesson on Monday. And meanwhile, I have a chart of hiragana characters to memorize! Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

Good luck on those Japanese symbols, they look very difficult to learn. Tomoki is not doing to bad with his English although that email does sound a little creepy lol.
Well I hope you know some Japanese by the time Amanda and I get there! Let that be your goal!
Love ya!

Dana Sease said...

Congrats on being first! haha. And about learning Japanese by June...LOL. Easier said than done!!

JodyAnn said...

I love the look on your face in those pictures, looking at the Japanese symbols! LOL
And I trying to get together the "Care" package we talked about.
Billy Joel would YES get old after a while! Gary and I are trying to find some of our old tapes, they are around here somewhere!
Luv Luv Luv

Jennifer said...

My love,

Can I just say that you are beautiful!! I think it is very interesting how foreigners say things in different ways....taking your smile instead of taking your picture. Specks for glasses and so on. I love you lots!

Amanda said...

Tokomi is cute. I cannot wait to meet him. I don't think he sounds like a creeper at all.

Good luck with learning the Japanese. I'm sure you'll be fluent by the time you leave. ;-)

I love you so much!