I was on the way to the hospital to investigate a particularly painful headache that bore all the signs of a sinus infection. While rotting away during spring vacation at my desk, having nothing to do focus on my throbbing temples, it seemed like the best course of action. This was easily justified since the combined cost of seeing a doctor immediately and my medications was about 12 dollars. Nationalized health care coverage continues to be a wonderful thing that I and most of the developed world enjoy every day. After arriving at the parking lot, I saw a few of my elementary students who were excited to talk to me. We hung around my car for a few minutes before they took notice to the fact that it was was more than a little dirty. With no homework and somehow nothing better to be doing during the break, they insisted on cleaning and detailing the whole thing. I helped them to sort my papers & belongings and to swab all surfaces with the damp cloths they had sped off to retrieve. The kids I teach in this town have always been great, but this kind treatment of was unprecedented. They even went so far as to bring 1000 yen notes to swap for my excessive amounts of change. I paid them each with a burned CD filled with western songs and a Philippine coin.
Here are the two kids sitting in my newly cleaned car, Kengo (on the right) and Yuki (left).
After I finishing my little hospital visit (no problems, just some medicine for the sinus pain) it was back to ‘work’. Before I left though, they pitched that we play together a little bit more later and ended up making it over to my apartment. At their suggestion we played some kakurenbo, which is just Japanese hide and seek. The rules are basically the same as what I grew up with, except that the hiding populous must verbally state when they are ready to be found rather than facing the unforgiving ‘ready or not, here I come’. In my mind this practice all but gives away the exact location to the seeker and most certainly prevents hiding anywhere near them. The other thing was that they would always opt to hide right near me and then give our location away with unwarranted snickering. After we were all done they were eager to do another play date, so they took down my number and will drop me a call in the future. It’s hard to believe that 4th graders these days have cell phones already… In the end, it was good fun and I figure working overtime like this will only boost my rapport with both parents and students alike.