Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009-

What did I just say yesterday about not knowing what each day would bring? Today I had the pleasant (and slightly nerve-wracking) surprise of speaking in front of the entire school, including all of the teachers. In homeroom, Shimanoki-Sensei (she is the English teacher who helps translate everything for me) explained to me that we would be having a shortened day because an American speaker would be coming to talk to our school about “American High School Culture.” Two thoughts entered my mind: 1) I wouldn’t jump right to “culture” when describing an American high school, and 2) Thank God, I’ll finally be able to understand what someone is talking about!

I spent the morning in art, calligraphy, English, and gym excited to see the speaker. In my mind it was a middle aged, slightly pudgy American woman from Rhode Island named Suzanne (don’t ask me why, I zone out sometimes when I have no idea what is going on – aka often). Nevertheless, I was surprised when half an hour before the speech I was asked to greet the speaker in the principal's office. There, to my great surprise, I found out her name was Lindsay Nelson and not only was Lindsay not a middle-aged, pudgy American woman, but that she was young, absolutely fluent in Japanese, and from WISCONSIN!!! I chose not to bring up the current Vikings-Packers dispute and chose to act like a civilized adult. So instead some of the things we talked about were snowdays, ice fishing, and cheese! I guess you can leave the Midwest, but it won't leave you = )

Lindsay is here with the JET Program that Mr. Blackburn was also working for. She lives in Utsunomiya and today was her first of multiple speeches to high school audiences about life in an American high school. She had a high-tech PowerPoint, all in Japanese, that kept the students laughing at how bizarre high school in the states can really be. They were green with envy when they heard that students often drive their cars to school, they seemed both excited and nervous when the concept of school dances was brought up, and they all agreed that a schedule that didn’t change every day would be far too boring!

As soon as Lindsay had finished her speech, they asked me to join her up front and explain about my school also. I would speak in English and she translated into Japanese. I told them that this week at my school was Homecoming. Lindsay had explained the week of Homecoming (ホームカミング – Hoomu kamingu, haha!) in her speech, but they couldn’t hear enough about it. They loved the idea of Powder Puff. They also wanted to hear about my sports, lunch, and Prom. It was a fun, albeit impromptu, opportunity for me to help share my culture. I only hope that someday soon I’ll be able to do it all by myself!

PS. Happy Birthday to Tom Durkin, my Northfield Rotary Counselor today. I hope you have a great time celebrating, Tom!! =)


  1. What a fun surprise! It's great that you've had opportunities to share a bit of the American culture with the people you're getting to know!


  2. Hey Sam!! :D It was great meeting you. I always feel this overwhelming sense of relief when I get to be with another Midwesterner.

    Also dare-I-say that I could not possibly care less about football, haha. Just my mom is, and she's so obsessed with Brett Farve that the second he set foot on Viking ground she converted to a Viking fan.

    Anyway, thanks so much for taking the initiative to snatch some pics! I'm usually too busy to do it and always regret it.

    You did an awesome job today, and I thank you for saving my butt and being so easy to interpret, haha :D

    ...also for some reason I am quite thrilled to hear that you imagined me as a pudgy old Rhode Island lady. Just leave it at that, I enjoy it too much to ruin the imagery.

  3. Saaaaaaaaam!!!! I found your blog through some other blog and I'M HOOKED. Good luck to you, and keep writing!