Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Month of March & How to Count Rabbits in 日本語

Wow, it's already April, which means March came and went so quickly! In case anyone is wondering what kinds of things the interns have been up to, here is a copy of my monthly report (and a translation in English) with a brief overview of what I've been doing recently:

This month I've attended lots of Hippo events (workshops, group sharing sessions, international learning classes at elementary schools, orientation camps for future exchange students, etc.) At one of the workshops I was one of the main speakers and gave a 15 minute presentation about my experience traveling internationally and working with 4-H and LEX, all in Japanese! My host mom helped me a lot to prepare and practice beforehand, which made me feel a lot more confident :)

The photo is from one of the international learning classes I attended with a group of 3rd and 4th graders. It was a change from how the classes usually go, where we as the coordinators give presentations about different cultures and lead games with the kids. This time the students prepared
presentations on their own Japanese culture and taught us about things like Japanese food, geography, games, and school. I think it was really great! They were really cute too and gave me all kinds of little origami presents.

We also had the second yearlong student midterm meeting at the office, and I have started meeting with some of the students who will go abroad this coming year as yearlong exchange students to give them a chance to practice English. The formal English interviews are pretty nerve wracking, so this is another chance to practice English in a relaxed environment. A lot of them are pretty shy, so I'm trying to come up with new games or other things we can do to get everyone talking and not feeling nervous.

My host family is really great and a lot of fun and we talk all the time about all kinds of things, so my Japanese has been improving a lot! My host sister Kano-chan is 11 but a lot of the time she acts like my big sister because she looks out for me and shows me the correct way to do things, like when to bow or how to say something more correctly in Japanese; she's really cute, and it's actually really helpful! The other day she taught me all about an important part of Japanese culture: the Japanese boy band Arashi! Kano-chan loves them and they are really popular right now. I can now proudly say I know all the band members' names and favorite colors. You never know when this might be an important thing to know...

My favorite new thing I've learned in Japanese is how to count rabbits. In the Japanese language, there are different endings for counting depending on what kind of object you are referring to. For example if you are counting thin, long objects, flat objects, mechanical devices, large animals, small animals, mirrors, hanging scrolls, words, umbrellas, or houses, they will all have a different ending that marks the number.  Normally for small animals, the ending -piki is used but rabbits happen to have a differend ending -ha, which is the ending used for birds or things with wings, because apparently rabbit's ears are so big and floppy they are considered to be just like wings!!!

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