[personal profile] cycleboy1957
There are 6 of us in the class, now that the young Chinese lad, Ho, has re-joined us*. Ryu is a painfully shy Chinese girl of 15 and our teachers are forever getting her to look at the person she's speaking with and to speak up. Ho is also Chinese and will be 19 this Friday. He's still struggling, but making valiant efforts.

Astrid is from Germany and in her 50s with school-aged children. Christine has a very mixed history. Her mother is Chilean, father Hungarian, whose language of communication is German. Christine married a Swiss man and describes herself as Swiss, though she was living in the USA before coming to Japan 2 years ago. She too is in her 50s with children. The trouble is, Christine and Astrid are terrible chatterboxes. More than once a teacher has asked them to pay attention or 'switch into Japanese mode', only for them to carry on whispering to each other within seconds of apologising. Granted, I think they're talking about Japanese, but I still feel it's impolite. I'm sure that, if one of their children's school teachers reproached their child for talking in class, they'd round on their own child and tell them off royally. Yet, as students, they must be the bane of our teachers' lives.

Finally, O-en. Another Chinese student who is in her early 30s and a 'model' student, in that there's little to remark on; she's attentive, answers questions clearly and does her homework.

Not forgetting me, of course, the 6th member. I'm the teacher's favourite, as I'm just so good and so polite. But, then you knew that anyway.

In the break we got chatting with another member of the intermediate class. I didn't hear her name, but she is Finnish. I think she did the beginners class in April and has graduated to the intermediate class. She seems to be able to converse relatively freely with the Japanese-Norwegian woman, which bodes well for the rest of us. What is humbling is that I have gone right through the text book she went through, yet don't have a cat in hell's chance of understanding a tenth of what she says in Japanese. Let's hope the oral practice we are getting will make the difference. She said she is a missionary. I didn't ask for which religion, but I guess that would give her a pretty good motive to learn.

Speaking of missionaries, yesterday I saw a woman in town standing next to a table on which were, what I took to be, The Watchtower and Awake. I don't know whether or not she is allowed to evangelise, but she simply stood there, holding up the copies with a wide, fixed smile on her face. I'd give her full marks for perseverance, because it must have been pretty dispiriting.

* Ho was with us on the first day, but, as a complete beginner against our slightly advance standard, was taken off into a class of his own.
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cycleboy1957

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