Since living in Kuji, I've given a self-introduction approximately 2,527,028 times.
Ok, so that random number might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I've introduced myself A LOT.
When I first came to Japan, I gave my "hello speech"--in both English and attempted Japanese--to every single class I taught, at every single school. (And to date, I've taught at four different junior high schools and fourteen different elementary schools!) Plus, I'm always meeting new people outside of schools and introducing myself.
The new school year started at the beginning of April, so for the past few weeks I've been teaching 5th & 6th grade students how to do a basic greeting in English. That's the first lesson in the book that all elementary schools use.
The English greeting demonstration goes something like this:
Me: Hello! My name is Dana. What is your name?
Brave student who has come to the front of the class: Hello. My name is (their name, usually said pretty fast.)
Me: Nice to meet you!
Student: Nice to meet you, too.
The whole class claps.
For some reason, I have students who think it's just hilarious to say, "Nice to meet you, tooth!" I still don't understand why that is side-splitting funny.
At Osanai Elementary, the students made name cards to give out along with their introduction.
So now I have a whole pile of fun name cards to add to the collection I started last year when we did this lesson.
I was told 10 minutes before one class started that I needed to make 18 of my own name cards to give out.
So I frantically scribbled out these lovely little masterpieces. Looks just like me, right? And that other thing is supposed to be a pineapple.
Sidenote: Exchanging business cards ("meshi") in Japan is an important part of showing respect, and there are many rules of etiquette.
On Monday at Taiyama Elementary, I took video of meeting some cute "ichi nensei" (first grade) students during recess...
Since I don't teach the younger grades very often, I like to walk down their hallway just to say hi.
When I did that last week at Osanai, the new first graders who'd never seen me before absolutely freaked out. "Eeeeeehh! GAIKOKUJIN!!!"
There's nothing like being called FOREIGNER!!! to make you feel welcomed, ha. I said, "Hello! My name is Dana. Not Foreigner." Then they proceeded to examine me, the exotic creature. They were stunned by my brown hair and amazed by my green eyes.
I love first graders.
I love first graders.
In other "foreigner news"...
This article, welcoming the new ALTs to Kuji, appeared in the local magazine last week...