Thursday, July 10, 2008
Summer Gifts 2008
As the Japanese population continues to decline, many English schools have been specifically targeting having kids take their classes. The not-so-dearly-departed chain conversation school Nova had a "Nova Kids" class to attract parents who wanted to give their off-spring a leg up on their English learning. It's not that parents care if their kids speak English so much as they want them to do well on university entrance exams.
Teaching kids is a whole other kettle of fish than teaching adults. You have to have a different bag of tricks since they are likely complying with a parents' directive to study with you, not seeing it as something they want to do. Some people (God bless them) are all for teaching kids and know how to handle them. They can make them laugh and learn at the same time. I'm not one of them. I have no rapport with children. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I'd get along better with an alien if it dropped from the sky and perched on my sofa with the intention of learning to communicate with me.
My CH, on the other hand, has a natural rapport with kids. However, he still has little interest in teaching them for the aforementioned reasons. Fortunately, his school doesn't tend to attract many children and the ones he has taught have been pretty cooperative. Incidentally, his school doesn't attract them because its raison d'etre is pretty much one to one lessons and kids don't tend to like being on the spot all the time so much as being in groups where they can hide or carry on with friends.
One of the two kids he has taught has a very traditional mother who follows the tradition of giving summer gifts each year. This tradition is fading more and more as time goes by. Yesterday, the lovely boxes pictured above were proffered.
Inside them are sweet treats. We haven't sampled the cake yet, but it's very, very dense and heavy. It's rather reminiscent of a fruitcake in terms of its weight and by touch. All we know right now is that it's chocolate and has walnuts. I'm betting it'd pair well with some vanilla ice cream. The other cakes are like dense madeleines with an ultra-thin slice of somewhat bitter orange on top.
Though these gifts in no way indicate affection as they are from the mother and a formal gesture in accord with very traditional Japanese culture, the student himself is rather partial to being taught by my husband. There was a scheduling mix-up at one point and my husband wasn't available to teach the young man. The secretary at the school said he (the boy) could just take another teacher's lesson but this made him somewhat visibly upset and he declined and told them he'd have his mother speak with them as he always took my CH's lesson. The next day, he got the lesson he wanted.
Of course, it's not like I don't sympathize with his sentiment. I would accept no substitute for my CH either. ;-)