chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

A Welcome Surprise

I receive my class schedule every Friday for the following week. It's just like a lottery. I may be blessed with only 3 classes a day, or I may get 5 classes every single day. Sometimes, I really hit the jackpot, and find that the whole afternoon or day is being used for an unknown reason. Actually, it's unknown only to myself, as every other teacher can read the kanji...

Today, I was lucky enough to have my afternoon filled by an event labeled with the kanji for 'China' or 中国. After inquiring about it to my supervisor, I discovered that it was a Chinese Dance Performance. Sweet! I saw the Beijing Opera in Beijing last March and absolutely loved it! I figured this would be the same deal.

It kind of was. After the entire school filled up the gym, the show was underway. The MC was a Chinese woman who began speaking only Mandarin. I snickered at my students who started to freak out. Finally they could see what it's like for me everyday! But, of course, she switched into heavily-accented Japanese. I was surprised that I could differentiate between good and bad Japanese...

The first performance was by two men dressed as a dragon-dog. They were absolutely fantastic! I had to keep reminding myself that it was a costume and not a real dog! It went through the audience and bit some people's heads, including mine. Apparently, they explained that the bite was for good luck. I'm not sure that's true, but I'm hitting the casino in Toronto at Christmas!

After some other acrobatics, a comedian/acrobat came out to juggle and flip hats unto his head. He called up a bunch of students to try, but my little dudes are uncoordinated. He then called on some teachers... And I volunteered, of course. Making a fool of myself is practically my job!

So there I was. On the stage. Holding the hat. About to try to flip it onto my head. Suddenly, the whole school starts to clap and chant, "Ganbatte! Ganbatte!" Pressure! After several unsuccessful attempts, I managed to almost get the thing properly on my head. Not quite though. For my efforts, the acrobat gave me a ballon. Thanks. I will say that that was the closest any person got to doing it. It's a foreigner thing.

The next bit was the best! The dude called up two students, my head kyoto-sensei (vice-principal), and my kocho-sensei (principal). He made them sit in chairs in a square, and then proceeded to tell them to lay down on each other's laps. I couldn't help but burst out laughing! Anything embarrassing to my sempai (superiors) is a riot! After positioning them, the acrobat removed the chairs, leaving the four of them balancing themselves on each other. Pretty cool stuff. The first thing that went through my head was, "I hope my 65 year-old kocho doesn't have a bad back..."

That stunt was followed by some other fantastic bits, including a woman who balanced 7 lit candles, and a man who flipped bowls onto his head whilst balancing on a see-saw thing. Sugei! (Cool!)

All-in-all, today's performance was a much-needed reprieve from boring classes, and it reminded me of how much I love China. I'm definitely heading that way again soon!
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On October 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Wow, that is so cool! And oddly timed, as I was just thinking that maybe instead of a return trip to Korea (listen to me, I haven't even been there once yet!), I should maybe go to China! How much were your tickets last year?

On October 08, 2005, Blogger laceylala said:

that does sound cool..and you were being paid 26 ( or is it more like 20 with the crappy exchange rate) bucks an hour to watch it.i saw something like it at the Chinese lantern festival in nagasaki. You should go check it out...maybe there are cheap flights then or someboday has a birthday flight. nagasaki is a really cool city and the lantern fesival was beautiful. it is in the winter sometime...

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