“Teacher, I want to know things I don’t know
I want to see things I can’t see
Teach me, teach me, teach me”
- Soutaiseiriron, “Jigoku Sensei” (translation by wildarmsheero)
Let me describe a scene to you. It goes like this:
After lunch, in one of the third-year classrooms, five minutes before fifth period English. Kids are reading books, studying, talking at their desks. I’m at the front, reviewing the day’s lesson plan. Two third-year girls come up to me.
The one I don’t expect to talk, a short girl with a ponytail, starts asking me questions.
Her: Hey, sensei. At home, do you cook your own food?
Me: (Looking at the lesson plan) Mmhmm.
Her: What kind of food do you make?
Me: Japanese food, mostly.
Her: Do you prefer Japanese food or American food?
At this point, I’m beginning to notice that she’s talking to me an awful lot more than she usually does. But it’s rare, this kind of interaction, so I don’t mind.
Me: (Putting the lesson plan away) American, I guess.
Her: Does your girlfriend cook for you?
Ah-ha. This old game… At last it’s all clear, or so I think.
Me: That’s a secret!
Her: Do you have a girlfriend?
Her: Do you want a girlfriend?
Oh-ho, clever! But I’m not falling for it.
Me: Hmm, who knows?
Her: Okay, then can I be your girlfriend?
Her: (In English) Sensei, I love you.
I want to say “You’ve got to be kidding,” but all my Japanese has magically evaporated.
Her: Where do you live? I’m gonna come live with you, is that okay?
I don’t say anything to that, but I put my arms up in an X, which in Japanese is convenient shorthand for “No way in hell.” But she’s persistent.
Her: Well, next year I’m going to be a high school student, how about then?
Friend: (Interrupting) Sensei, how old are you? (I tell them.) No way! You’re the youngest teacher in school!
Her: Oh my gosh, how dangerous! (Wait a minute, what’s dangerous? Me? Really?) Okay, then next year I’ll come live with you, all right?
Me: (Sigh. Time to stall.) Yeah, all right. Fine.
Me: Yes, yes, sure.
Friend: He said sure! Isn’t that great?
My co-teacher comes in.
Me: (In English) Oh, finally you’re here, thank god. Save me!
Teach: Huh? What is it?
Her: Listen to this! When I become a high school student next year, I’m going to be his girlfriend and we’re going to live together. I’ll be sixteen! That isn’t bad, right? The age difference is fine, isn’t it?
Teach: Haha, yes, of course. Congratulations. (Fantastic save, sir. Thank you.) Well, let’s start class.
And we do. The girl never looks at me for the rest of the day. Still not quite sure if that was a joke. But she’s pretty, so either way, I’m sure she’ll find some nice guy in high school and forget all about me in time… Or rather, oh please god, make it so!
Really, though. Cute kid.