Friday, 19 June 2015

A speech that moves people to tears, without much understanding of what I'm saying

Today was my last day at the special school where I teach 6 times a year. Although that may not sound like a lot, I really feel like I've formed a strong connection to the place.

It was very emotionally draining to say the least. I started the day by giving a Japanese speech to the entire school. As impressive or terrifying as that may sound, you should know that I poached it from the Ibaraki JET leavers guide. Before you judge me for being a total cheat, I did change and personalise certain parts...for example, I filled in the name of the school and which country I come from into the basically an original piece of writing. Well, at least this blog post is an original piece or writing.

Last night, I went to the local live house bar AKA. Stormy Mondays, where they let me practice my speech on stage with a microphone. It was supposed to be open-mic night, but sometimes nobody shows up, so they let talent-less people like me come on and fill the air.

When delivering my speech this morning, I understood what I was saying of course, it was fairly simple Japanese and the translation is given in the leavers guide. However, there is something in the Japanese turn of phrase where, even if I understand the meaning, I can't truly understand the emotional connection people make with the words. I guess this makes me an apathetic Japanese speaker. Doctors here should hire me to inform people when their loved ones have passed away.

There was also a part where I address the students with a question, which, for some reason I thought was rhetorical. However, there was an unexpected moment when the students answered me in unison with a  "haii". I never really wondered this before, but there might not be rhetorical questions in Japanese. Is that possibly a thing? I guess a quick Google search might answer my question, although sometimes its worth giving yourself a few moments to ponder. Also there are no such things as stupid questions. So there.

So, gifts were exchanged, I had a very nice surprise by the students who had prepared the most beautiful song accompanied by a piano just for me. It felt very surreal.. sitting on a chair and having 100 students singing just for you. Was it the best moment in my life? Quite possible. It was so hard not to cry... but I managed not to, I danced the robot dance right through to the end of the day. Its not that I don't want to cry in front of people, I do that all the time, seriously, ask the dudes at Stormy Mondays.... its just that, when I start crying, I find it very difficult to stop. Also I'm not an attractive crier, my face goes red and blotchy and it looks gross. I have pictures from today which I'll probably cherish for the rest of my life.

Here's the song the students sang to me today:

100 special kids singing this just for me. Now there's a beautiful thing.

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