July 20th, Friday:
- Miso Soup (Onion, Cabbage, Carrot)
- Eggplant and Pork Soy Sauce Stir-fry (Pork, Eggplant, Green Bean, Bell Pepper)
- Miso Grilled Mackerel
Eggplants, even among the summer vegetables, are exceptionally good for cooling down the body. There may be many people who hate eggplants, but we recommend them as a food for people who can’t endure the heat.
I’m afraid I missed about a week’s worth of lunch translations, for which I am very sorry. Having too much on my plate, so to speak, is a weakness of mine, and how I hate being so busy! Anyway, I like my work. On a whole, my middle schoolers are a delight to work with: even if they don’t like English, they are usually interested in me as a young foreigner, and I think that that is something valuable. Recently, I’ve also been doing an evening “English Conversation” (eikaiwa) class. Doing such a class is entirely different from my normal work. During my everyday work at JH schools, there is a lot of focus on making English fun. These students must learn English, whether they like or not, so I am here to help ease the pain that is learning English and help my students discover the wonder and beauty that is different cultures (ie: cultural exchange). Eikaiwa students (adults, I mean), on the other hand, like English. That’s why they signed up for the class. Learning English is their hobby. I must confess I don’t quite understand this.
As a teenager, I did quite a bit dabbling in languages, mostly dead. In fifth grade, I taught myself through a stamp kit to phonetically read Egyptian hieroglyphs (a surprisingly useful skill). In ninth grade I kept an active correspondence with my friends and a certain English teacher, quite honestly, all written in the Tengwar alphabet. At one point I was working through an antiquated German textbook, and then my interest veered into Gothic (yes, the language of that forgotten germanic tribe). At university, I took two years of “Reading Latin”, and signed up for an extremely fascinating class of Ancient Egyptian. Given my diverse language dabbling, I’d think I’d understand perfectly my eikaiwa students. But I don’t. And here is why I think so: I want to learn to read and write. Nearly every language I have dabbled in significantly has been a dead language: a language no one speaks anymore. And naturally “English Conversation” students want to learn to converse, that is talk. It’s an interesting difference, I think. One that merits more thought. That is, assuming I am not the only creature under Heaven who likes reading and writing, but not talking….