Monday, 14 May 2012

Wish! Fulfilment: The Return (Part 1)

Last September I scuttled around nurseries and after school clubs all over Tokyo, telling stories in a mixture of awful Japanese, good English and a very strange brand of 'Laura-Japanglish', to kids between the ages of 2 and 7. Last month, I was delighted to be asked back to do it again.

Delighted, but nervous. Before, they'd given me 10 or 15 kids and nice short "wow, look, she's English, and she has a loud voice!" slots. This time, I had an hour to fill, and an audience of 30 or 40. My Japanese is a tiny bit better, but nowhere near good enough to hold an improvised conversation for an hour. Not without some serious cramming, anyway. Errk!

The brightly coloured objects (otherwise known as 'decoys') came out first:

...but before long, I had no choice but to start talking. With the help of a conveniently placed globe ('I am from here. We are here' etc) I introduced myself...

...and asked them to bear with me, because I'm a bit clumsy and I fall over a lot:

But when (too soon for me) that started to get old, it was time to get down to business.

Harapeko Aomushi made his first appearance since I got back to Tokyo in March. Thankfully, I can now actually read the thing in recognisable Japanese.

Then, I took a deep breath. After an excruciating moment of smiling in a rather desperate 'please stay - I really CAN speak Japanese!' way -

and a quick prayer to whichever Japanese deity happened to be listening that day...

and one or two magic spells of my own...

...out came The Three Litle Pigs - 'Sanbiki no Kobuta'. For anyone who doesn't already know the story, it's the one in which a rather angry Mother (Okaasan)

throws her three sons out of the house (or the field, depending on the version)...

where they find themselves all alone. Aw!

Before long, though, they get bored and start to think about building their own houses...

and then, they actually do it. Here, the first little pig is clearly having trouble putting the curtains up:

In the end, though, all three of them look at their new homes, pretty pleased with their first DIY efforts...

...that is, until a Big Bad Wolf, whose favourite food is fresh pork,

tiptoes upto the fields from the woods next door...

 ...and makes good use of his very large and powerful pair of lungs:

Two of the three houses got trashed. Lucky for the little pigs, though, the wolf hyperventilated trying to blow down the third.

When the Wolf (who, instead of getting roast pork, got his own tail roasted when he tried to climb down the third pig's chimney) was arrested for vandalism, his defence was 'well, it's their fault for being so inhospitable - I did knock!'

Dredging up my almost forgotten legal knowledge, I explained to him why that excuse wasn't going to wash:

So, the Wolf went to jail, paid his debt to society and became a Success Story. Transformed by the Prison Service, he became a vegetarian, developed an obsession with growing giant mutant peaches, and became the owner of an orchard next to a river in Old Japan...

But that's another story.

More soon!

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