Winter is certainly upon us, and each time students come up to the lobby they eagerly receive their steaming cups of coffee or tea to take some of the chill off. Partly, too, due to our hardworking heater, the lounge has been particularly cozy of late. Also, integral to any season in Japan is the fashion, and winter fashion is one of my favourites. There are no end to the scarves, mufflers, hats, beanies, toques, gloves, earflaps, earmuffs in all manner of style, pattern and colours. I love teaching seasonal English and anything on current events. Being able to confer with the students and other teachers on all the various vocabulary to describe these warming fashion items is most enjoyable.
I’m not sure if chocolate is actually seasonal, but it tends to come up a lot more now that it’s colder. This pleases me, as it is something that is close to my heart. With chocolate, of course comes related issues, such as diets and exercise, addiction, international specialties and intolerance. For example, in today’s lesson lactose intolerance came up during a routine. As it was a class of high level students I could explain the concept satisfactorily. They were both really fascinated with the idea, and kept asking questions about what kind of food would be the worst, and what would happen to them if they ate it anyway. As it happens, one of our teachers is lactose intolerant, and a great sweet tooth at that, so the students immediately starting applying their new knowledge of lactose intolerance to infer which foods that would cause her trouble.
A couple of our students visited Greece over the new years break, and they brought the teachers and staff at Smith’s back some souvenir Greek chocolate. The perfect gift… I’m not sure any of us had had the opportunity to try Greek chocolate before, and we didn’t want to miss the boat. It was devoured immediately, of course. Being very dark and bitter it was suitable for lactose intolerants, too! Teaching English is indeed very enjoyable in winter.