Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not a Mukade

I had been dreading this workday, mostly because this particular school schedules me to teach all six hours. It shouldn't seem like such a big deal, since classes are only 45 minutes and in total it adds up to only a 7-hour workday. But when you factor in the onigokko during mid-morning break and recess and then all the screaming at the top of your lungs and acting genki on top of that, it makes for an exhausting day. No one's complaining here, it just makes for one of those days when you immediately collapse in the bed as soon as you walk in the door.

It's days like this, however, that I remind myself of the people who have to toil like mules until they die, and then I thank God for my overpaid position as the clown foreigner.

The kids actually didn't want to play onigokko today! Here's a transcript of today's exchange:

starry-eyed first-graders: "See-saw sukinaaaa??" translation: Do you like see-saw?
Me: "Dai-sukidesu!" translation: It is the thing that is loved!
starry-eyed first-graders: "Asobu!" translation: To play!
Me: "Ikimashou!" translation: Thank you, little darlings for not making me play onigokko! Let's go!

They led me to the see-saw, which--I might add--had a much safer construction and design than the ones I remember as a child. It even came equipped with a tire stop that was embedded under each end, to give it a little bounce every time the lever hit the ground. I tell ya, the Japanese always do it better.

starry-eyed first-graders: "Sensei wa nani kiro?" translation: How much do you weigh in kilos?
Me: ".... Wakarinai" translation: I don't know. I'm American, and I haven't figured out how to convert pounds to kilos yet.

Apparently, one Kim-Chi + 2 first graders is equal to 3 and a half first graders (one of them just kind of draped himself over the beam), all screaming, "Kohaaaiiii (scary)!" at the top of their lungs. You do the math.

As I was hanging my laundry tonite, I stumbled upon this on my balcony:
One of the very poisonous and quite commonly seen insects in Japan is the mukade. They're nasty little things, and last month I saw my first live one, scurrying and slinking a hundred miles an hour after a fresh rain. Up until then i had only seen dead ones lying flattened in the street. One of the first things my coworkers told me when I first arrived in Japan was to call an ambulance if I ever got bitten by a mukade, because the bites are nasty and can cause a lot of problems. The fear was instilled in me early on.

Anyway, all the legs on this little guy had me a little freaked so I ran to my computer to do some quick research. Turns out that this is a Geji Geji, a house centipede, and that they're actually quite harmless. I let it be, hung the rest of my laundry hoping that it wouldn't decide to jump on me (they're jumpers and they move fast), and we shall live in symbiosis. Ah, symbiosis.


  1. According to the math, one Kim-Chi=1.5 starry-eyed first graders. Ooh, Sensei, you are a thin brush.

  2. You and the geji geji. Yeah, those suckers are fast as hell. I've seen them in the States. You should feed it beef with egg.