Happy (Belated) Halloween!

This past weekend my supervisor asked me to teach a Halloween lesson to a few children at our neighboring town’s community center. So I showed up Saturday morning not exactly sure what to expect. There were about 10 kids and a couple of adults there to help out, including my taiko drumming sensei. We started with a little Halloween crossword, with words such as “Haunted” and “Jack-o-Lantern.” Then, it was time to do what the kids were really there for: trick-or-treating. First, though, we all practiced our lines:

Child: “Trick-or-Treat!”
Adult: “Here you are.”
*Child takes one piece of candy
Child: “Thank you. Happy Halloween!”
Adult: “Happy Halloween!”

I was considering telling them if they really wanted to imitate trick-or-treating in the States, the kids would mob the adult, take as much candy as possible, knocking down the bowl if necessary, and complain if they had anything smaller than King Size. But I figured that might dampen the Halloween spirit, so I refrained.

Before any trick-or-treating commenced, everyone donned costumes. One adult was a witch, another a pumpkin, my taiko teacher was the devil, and I was Dracula. However, as I began searching for the fake vampire teeth, the kids had a different idea in mind…

Evidently, in Japan, Dracula wears a cape, boa, and Mad-Hatter-esqe top hat with bow.

I think I look more like a confused pimp.

Oh yes, and throughout the trick-or-treating, the Harry Potter soundtrack played down the hall. Definitely set the mood. And, of course, no Halloween lesson is complete without a rousing round of…

…the Hokey Cokey!

When I got home, I made myself a sandwich, ate it outside on my lovely deck, and was cleaning up when suddenly, the door bell rang. At the door stood a boy who greeted me with:

Boy: Konichi….er, herro!
Me: Hello!
Boy: Genki desu ka? (Are you well?)
Me: Hai, genki desu. (Yep.) (At this point, I was pretty proud of myself for understanding something in Japanese)
Then he said something I didn’t understand and made an exaggerated coughing motion.
Me: Umm, I don’t understand. Oh, er, choto matte. Jisho! (Wait a minute. Dictionary!)
I ran inside to grab my 1995 tatter-paged Random House Japanese-English dictionary. By the time I returned, though, the boy was already pointing at the translation in his electronic jisho on his cell phone. I guess I’m old-fashioned. The translation was indeed “a cough, coughing.” I pointed at myself with a quizzical look. He nodded. I explained to him that I was fine. He gave me a relieved smile and left.

This may be the most random house visit I have ever received. Maybe he caught me coughing outside while attempting to master the Japanese inhaling technique with my sandwich? Well, about an hour later, I spotted him again, standing in the parking lot staring whimsically in the general direction of my apartment. Clearly, this kid was climbing the awkward stalker ladder rather quickly, so I resorted to my best method for breaking the ice – Frisbee. Fortunately, this glorious plastic disc has its own international language, so as soon as I brought it out, he was eager to play. And man, could he throw! Despite being the first time he’s ever touched a Frisbee, he was tossing it the length of the parking lot in no time. To Emmet 1st Right, you guys picked it up quickly, but your skills are no match for this kid’s learning curve. Some claim the samurai defined Japanese culture. Well, let’s just say when this kid is through, “Flick” and “Hammer” (or “Hu-ri-ku” and “Ha-ma”) will have official definitions in the Japanese dictionary. And what’s more, through this wonderful sport I discovered that the boy’s name is Reiya, he is a 4th grader at one of my elementary schools, and his favorite Pokemon is Pikachu. He also offered me a piece of gum and sips from his Coke.

I think I’ve discovered the secret to international friendship. Now, I just need to figure out how to convince world leaders to trade bullets for Frisbees…


3 responses to this post.

  1. Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?


  2. Posted by rrrika on November 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    they were playing the Harry Potter soundtrack??? I love japan.


  3. Brandon. You have to teach him trick frisbee. And that retarded frisbee game where you throw it against the wind.


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