My teachers asked the American lady to teach the third graders a story from the book about Hiroshima. Thanks guys. There's no way this could be awkward for me. Here's a list of new vocab from the text;
"Alright, minnasan (everyone), please listen and repeat."
I could make a pretty silly greeting card using all those new words.
Ok, a quick once through this story.
Close your textbooks.
For the next 40 odd minutes, I decided to derail from the story and have a discussion about war. I told them about the events that had lead up to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings from a Japanese perspective and from an American perspective. I opened up about the feelings exchanged between my grandfather and I, and how difficult it is for adults to reopen their hearts. We listened to a John Lennon and a Buffalo Springfield song about war. A few of them started crying. During the last 10 minutes, I asked them to write down their feelings in English. They could talk about reactions to the class, thoughts about war, destruction, Hiroshima, anything, really. Below are a few that I thought were worth sharing.
“People have anger but I think that people must coorporate.”
“I think... We mustn't war again. This time was very important for me. Don't worry. We like American people.”
“Big bomb is body injured”
→ (I think he's in special ed. He's seems to have a lot of trouble speaking and sweats when I talk to him. I was really proud that he was able to express himself in English.)
“I think war is very bad. Because it crash many people's lives. I want to peace is No. 1!!”
“I think bomb is scary. War ≠ ☮, too.”
→ (I told the class that people have different opinions on when war should be used. I told them that in my opinion, it may be necessary sometimes, but people should remember that hate usually begets hate even if it solves immediate obstacles... 'War ≠ ☮' was a little picture I drew on the chalkboard).