Another reason why I love my job: I get free periods everyday. Some teachers have a free period per day in America but I usually have at least two. Today, for example, I had two fifty minute blocks where I was not required to do anything. ALTs usually make the most out of the free time and I’m no exception. The options are endless: study Japanese, read a book, attend a class etc. During my first free period today I decided to roam around the halls hungry for an adventure. First, I discovered that my school has a pool! I guess they don’t close pools after labor day here in Japan. The ninth grade boys P.E. class there looked like more a pool party than anything. I then made my way to school gymnasium to find the ninth grade girls doing some kind of acrobatic training. When a section of them in the gym spotted me they simultaneously in cheerleader-esk voices beckoned me over with a shout of “Wesley Sensei!!”
There were about 13-15 girls per group and everyone was practicing handstands and forward rolls. The school festival (different than Undokai) is coming up in October so maybe they were practicing for that. Even though I was in a button up and khakis I was instantly asked to try what they were doing. How could I say no?
I slipped off my sandals (yes…I get to where sandals to work) and stepped on the mat. I went vertical and heard clapping from the girls; then I heard my cell phone and loose change hit the ground. Rather than gracefully roll out of my handstand I more or less fell flat on my back. After laying there for a second I got up and embraced the laughter from a gym full of junior high girls. I then made my way to all the groups in the gym practicing my handstand ability wherever I went.
The last group seemed to be laughing more than the previous ones. When I heard whispering and caught some girls staring at me I knew something was up. After a group session to form a sentence, an “ambassador” from the group came up to me and said, “ah….hehehehe…Harry Potter!” So apparently the Randolph Macon basketball fans and Japanese junior high school girls have something in common: they both think I resemble the boy wizard.
In passing, the student in the speech contest did her absolute best but was not able to move on to the next round.; still, I was extremely proud. She will be in ninth grade next year so she has another chance. Also, this coming weekend is the Jazz Festival in Sendai which is two days of live music and sporting events. I’ll try and write up about it and post some pictures.