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...
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.