Monday, September 18, 2006

Wow Lois, this is a Great Pumpkin Soup!

A new favourite! Tara and I made a Japanese pumpkin soup, with ginger and cinnamon. The recipe came from one of my Japanese cookbooks. It was delicious, and healthy. Japanese pumpkins look similar to our pumpkins, but they're smaller and green on the outside, but still bright orange interior. The soup was supposed to be blended, but since we don't have a blender I just cut the pumpkin really fine, and we boiled it until it was mashable into a pumpkiny paste.

Elevator encounter:
As I was waiting for the elevator to descend to the ground floor, an older Japanese man came wandering into the apartment from a back entrance. He didn't seem to see me. He was looking at the bulletin board in the lobby - all the signs were posted in English (a lot of teachers live in our apartment remember, but it's not a Nova building, so there are Japanese tennants as well) - and he was kind of muttering to himself. Maybe trying to make sense of the signs, or perhaps complaining about how they didn't make any sense to him. He had his back to me when the elevator dinged at our floor and the doors opened. He turned to see me, and looked surprised and smiled. "Ah!...." But didn't say anything.
We entered, the doors closed, and then he turned to me with a huge grin and said "Youu-a look like-a Clarke Kent....... SUPERMAN!"
I laughed and told him that I had been told that before. He smiled more.
I said "Well, I'll take that as a compliment." He smiled some more.
The 9th floor dinged and I bowed myself out of the elevator.

My Mondays seem like they'll be nice days. I only work from 5-9 at night, leaving me the whole day to get things done. Hopefully I'll be able to track down a Japanese class, or karate class (or both!) to do on Mondays. Today I made a trek to an international food store where such classics as Kraft Dinner and Old El Paso taco kits can be found.

I've now had one of my absolute WORST lessons. One class with 2 low level students who just did not seem to understand at ALL what I wanted. It was a pretty simple topic We went over some example language like "I want to go to ________. I want to go shopping." The books are illustrated with pictures and lots of examples, so it shouldn't be that hard to put together. Even the kids class I had, we were using "What did you do?" "I went to a baseball game." and they caught on fast! These were highschool students and they didn't seem to have any clue what I wanted. I finally got "I want to go to hawaii" out of one, but then when I asked her what she wanted to do in Hawaii I got the scared blank stare again. I really don't think it should have been that hard, because the example of hawaii was illustrated on the page, and there were things like scuba diving and shopping and going to the beach all written in front of them. Anyway, that was a painful 40 minutes of pulling teeth, but I've had some pretty good discussions and group activities. It's certainly MUCH easier to work with the higher level students who just need adjustments on their grammar, appropriateness, intonation, etc. Even the lower level students are fun when they're excited about it, but when they're just quiet and terrified it can be quite painful. You feel like you're torturing them sometimes.

Alright, time for me to finish eating, study a little Japanese, then hop on my bike and ride on down to the train station with my breifcase in my little basket and my tie flapping in the breeze.


anita said...

It's a bird, it's a plane...NO, it's SUPERMAN!

Mom D said...

Hop on your bike, Clark, I thought you could leap tall building in a single bound! My love to Lois! xoxo

Meaghan said...

hahaha superman. Now, don't go blowing your cover over there.. stick to that bike. If you see godzilla though, you know what to do.
Sorry you had a rough class, hopefully most of them are better than that one, and hopefully that one gets better with time.
I wish I had more intelligent things to say in these haha. But the pumpkin soup sounds sooo good. you'll have to make me some when I come visit :)
love you guys and miss you so much!

Derrick M said...

Hahahah. I'm related to Superman! That's amazing!

luke said...

hey, supermans better than "hey chinese guy" haha

MomE said...

Ian Matheson, mild-mannered ESL teacher, jumps on his trusty orange bike and is pedals towards the swiftly speeding bullet train as it hurtles into the mid-town metropolis of Nagoyo.The train is full of Ian and Tara's (AKA Lois Lane)grateful students as it heads wildly towards the TV tower. If the train hits it is sure to wipe out his Fox TV reception as well as those terrified students. Ian,AKA Clark, his tie blowing in the breeze, his briefcase in his basket, bell ringing, pedestrians jumping aside, pulls over to the nearest Karaoke bar,(where he hurriedly belts out a Beatles song for the grateful crowd- not too hurriedly because he knows all the words) and quickly pulls on his red cape and superman outfit (that is now way too short and too small because his mom got it for him when he was 6. Up, up, and away,he makes it to the train in time and saves the day. Home he goes to make supper and have Lois wash his superman suit, ready to save the world another day.

your friends in Japan said...

Anita - you mean "Superman-san"

Debbie - The buildings are pretty tall over here! Anyway, Meaghan's right, I can't afford to blow my cover. The locals are already starting to suspect things...

Meaghan - we actually have different students every day, I guess we didn't explain that before. Also, I think you say intelligent things. It's always nice to hear from you!

Derrick - power to my Kryptonic Cousin.

Luke - HAH! You are make me laughing.
(Tara says "Not if you're a Chinese guy who hates Superman".)

Mom - I thought you were busy with your new job... Evidently you have far too much time on your hands.
Hmm, but you get a Super-A+ for creativity.

Meaghan said...

so you never see the same students again?! ever?!

Aunt Lori said...

Hey you two,
Sorry to hear you aren't having too much fun with your teaching! But all of the exploring must be fun!!
Still waiting to see new PICTURES!!!!
OH and Miss Tara, give it up already on telling Alexandra to talk to her parents about sending her by herself!!!!!!!! Sorry but if anyone of us was coming it would be ME!!!
Miss you both,

Ali said...

I can't believe I never noticed the resemblance, Ian. That's hilarious.
I miss you guys. I told Jeremiah that I was going to start calling him Tara, because he's pretty much you. Except not really. Just his work habits are IDENTICAL. So, if I can't have you, I can pretend through someone else. I don't think he's too happy about it.

your friends in Japan said...

Aunt Lori - Haha, sorry to keep harassing her...I just think it would be coool! But if you aren't going to send Alexandra, you should certainly send yourself!!! And as for new pics - they are coming NOW!!!

Though I am glad Jeremiah is working out good...hehe. Good to know I trained him in my image!
Also, you REALLY have to come visit. All the styles here - they scream 'Ali'. I think you would love it. So, therefore you must come visit and we can go shopping!!!! Woo!!