Yesterday I took a day off!
Some friends of mine are visiting from America for a few weeks so I rearranged my schedule a bit in order to show them around. It’s pretty nice that I was able to do so with relatively little notice. Thanks office staff members and Kyobashi coaches for taking care of everything while I was away!
I figured that my friends should see some of the quintessential cultural stops during their visit here so of course we went to Nara. Toudaiji （東大寺）is pretty impressive in my opinion and a nice place to check out if you’re in the western area of Japan. Aside from hanging out with the deer and taking in the culture, a fairly cool thing happened related to English in Japan.
I guess yesterday was scheduled as some sort of field trip day because there were hundreds of middle school kids roving in packs all over the place. Some were led by teachers, others by tour group leaders holding flags; others still seemed to be going it alone. As usual, volleys of “Hello!” were thrown back and forth between the students and my friends and I as we crossed paths. However, when we got nearer the temple a few kids approached us in a way I wasn’t as used to.
Three middle school girls rushed up to us saying “Sign please!” They were collecting signatures from foreigners including place of origin. I asked them a few questions about it and it turns out it’s just a hobby of theirs. Cool! I signed my name in and marked down Detroit, USA (for the sake of simplicity) and my friends did the same. Just as we said bye to them and were turning to continue our trek up to the temple we were rushed again! This time by two middle school boys who were also collecting signatures for a homework assignment. While signing, I took a little time to coach them from “Your sign here.” to “Could you please sign here?” They seemed pretty excited about it so I asked them a few basic questions which they responded to well and they both told me they like studying English. I couldn’t help but smile a bit. They got to finish their homework and my friends and I got a little bit of celebrity style attention. Not a bad trade.
Has this happened to anyone else lately?