Big day. Misato Primary is the biggest primary school in Nagano Prefecture. 1100 students. A challenge certainly, but we eat challenges for breakfast!
The shows were to be in gym No. 1. It was full of pianos etc so we warmed up by moving everything to the sides. Sound check was fine. I gave Anna a basic course on operating a video camera. The press and TV crew gathered. Neighbouring ALTs were also in attendance. Then it was time to start.
The 1st and 2nd years were great. 350 kids and they were well behaved and more importantly they were genki as hell! The reporters and TV crew had a field day, and afterwards took turns interviewing both the students and us. The TV crew, from Azumino TV, even let us do a quick website promo to camera. The reporter from the Daily Yomiuri was present - big stuff - if we are in the Daily Yomiuri we will be national!!!!!
The 5th and 6th years kicked genki butt. We did the higher level show with "Mr Wolf" in it, and they whipped though it. It was hot in the gym, and though we wore nothing heavier than our bright yellow GenkiEnglish t-shirts we were dripping with sweat - testament to our high octane performance. Sweaty but happy. We were on a roll.
We lunched with the Daily Yomiuri reporter, Anna and Jen - a neighbouring JET. As we ate school lunch the reporter set her tape recorder running and began asking us questions. We hope she gets many hours of enjoyment from listening to the tapes afterwards.
The 3rd and 4th years were the best - so genki we thought they would burst.
We had a short break, but were ambushed by the autograph hounds, and only the intervention of Uchikawa Sensei, the cheerful music teacher, saved us from contracting RSI.
At 3.45 we had the teaching seminar. 30 teachers gathered in the English lab and for 75 minutes they jumped around playing Genki English games as if they were kids again. The Yomiuri reporter was grinning widely and I swear she wanted to join in too. Even the Principal joined us and had a go. If I describe how teachers were fiercely competing, ruthlessly calling out, and fearlessly impersonating members of the animal kingdom you may not get the full picture. Have no fear - I have it on video.
We had found a new friend in Uchikawa Sensei. He was the resident computer whiz and had already posted digicam images of us on the school notice boards. He even let us use the school printer to run off some extra meishi!
Then, as we were exhausted, it was decided we should definitely go out to dinner. We dined at the Phra Yao Thai Restaurant, where the service was not speedy, but it was worth the wait. Uchikawa, Anna, the English teacher Maruyama, one more teacher (we were never introduced) and I savoured the wondrous flavours, and it was rewarding to hear the intial cries of "Thai food is really hot isn't it?" turn to "Wow - this is great!"
Post dinner discussion was wide-ranging and well argued. Uchikawa Sensei and I talked about Japan in Manchuria - he was a worthy opponent in that he knew his history and didn't shrink from making a point. Best of all, we argued completely civilly, and without an ounce of rancor.
Time to return to Chez Warren, where we watched the hapless goings on of the US elections and sipped Irish coffee. It had been a fantastic day, and we didn't want to let it go.
I briefly wrestled with the sandman, lost, and fell deeply asleep.
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