Friday, August 29, 2008

My Japanese shrink

Actually she is my Japanese teacher who comes to the Kaisha every week to listen to my problems/teach me Japanese. Our lessons often feel akin to a therapy session minus the comfy sofa. The woman takes meticulous notes! Not notes on what we covered or what we will work on the following week, but on ME. It was really disconcerting but now I find it endearing. I'll be telling her something I did on the weekend and she'll confirm with me that yes, it was with 2 friends, and then she scribbles it down in her notebook. Today in a convoluted way of explaining a grammar point to me we ended up talking about my grandfathers, neither of whom are still around. She wrote down the ages I was when each of them passed!! Sensei probably has a better account of my life than I do in my own memory by this point but I still don't know why. She occasionally refers back to notes, refreshing her memory of what flavour ice cream I ate one weekend in May or the train I used on a recent weekend outing.

The more I think about this, the more I am convinced she is taking this notes on my life so that when I fail level 1 of the Test in December, she can look back through her notes and figure out why-graphing the amount of time I spent working, playing and studying, the food and drink I consumed and the amount of times I fought with the beau. I don't even want to pass the Test for myself now, but for Sensei's sake. She keeps stressing that I'm not learning enough kanji to pass and no matter how many times I tell her to chillax, I'm going to give her an ulcer if I don't pass. Fuck.

Sensei is such a sweet woman, she must be in her early 60s, and I guess I provide her with some therapy too as I mm hmm along when she tells me how she had a fight with her husband and was so stressed about it she made herself sick the next day. Whenever she tells me about one of their fights she violently taps her index fingers together to signify the argument. Sensei will tell me about how she has asked her husband to only drink 5 days a week and then asks me what it's like at la casa de Geisha. Oh, I assure her, I'm trying to get the beau to drink less too. Validated, Sensei smiles and nods appreciatively.

Our sessions together aren't always so harmonious. Sometimes she totally riles me. Like the few occasions she gets me to do kanji practice questions for the Test in front of her. I'm sure she just wants to see how I'm getting on (I'm not) but paranoid me thinks she does it to remind me of how far off the mark I am. So I look at a never-before-encountered kanji compound and tell her that I have no idea how to read it. Sensei smiles indulgently and says, Just try. So I do and then she giggles!! Or straight up laughs. Has she not been to Sensei school where they teach you not to laugh at your students when they can't read something?! At the end of those sessions I walk out of the room thinking, Bitch is going to get herself fired like that.

I can't wait until we are done with the Test so that we can really get down to helping each other through our problems.

In other news, we all received an email today scolding the secretaries for taking too damn long to return to their seats after lunch. Guess they are going to have to start cutting that make-up reapplication routine right out. More about the email later.

1 comment:

Lulu said...

You sensei might be feeding all this information on you back to your boss?


Japanese teachers are always disappointed in me too! My old uni teachers when I see them still say "Why have you not done level 1 yet?" and I always reply "Because I know I would fail" and they always purse their lips and say "tsk tsk". I think they feel by me not taking the test that it reflects badly on them.

Best of luck with your study- and your shrink sessions! haha!