2017-01-21

Snow White, as a Play, scene 10, The Stepmother's Feelings Change

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[Scene 10, The Stepmother's Feelings Change -- 

N: Narrator, C: Councilor, M: Mayor,

Q2: the 2nd Queen, who was a vain and confused Woman,

SW: Snow White, MM: Magic Mirror, A: Advisor ]


N: The Mayor and the Councilor teased Snow White and her Stepmother incessantly.

C: I wonder when the King will return?

M: Where is he now? Is the battle going well?

N: The Councilor taught the Queen some fine points of horse riding.

C: You are far too delicate a creature to ride this way.
    Why does the King leave a woman such as yourself alone so long?

Q2: Maybe I should not let you teach me to ride horses.

N: The Mayor discussed the course of the war.

M: The women of the camp need more medical supplies.
    I wonder who is tending the King's wounds?

SW: Mum, I would like to join the women of the camp.

Q2: I would, too. But it's too dangerous, my dear.

N: The New Queen felt the weight of responsibility keenly.

Q2: Oh, Snow White, they ask me to make decisions that I don't understand.

SW: We should leave those decisions to Father's Advisor.

Q2: The Advisor is always out on the business of the court.

SW: Then we should make the Mayor and Councilor wait.

N: Sometimes, the Stepmother Queen consulted her magic mirror.

Q2: Mirror, mirror, on the wall, ...

MM: You keep asking me questions that you should be asking yourself, or God.

Q2: But I have no confidence.

MM: You are the Queen. You have the King's Advisor. You have Snow White.
    You need patience. And to be careful of whom you listen to.

Q2: It is hard to be patient.

N: Little by little, the Mayor and the Councilor poisoned the Stepmother Queen's heart.

M: If he really loved you, I'm sure he could make time to take a break and come home to visit.

C: Maybe he has found someone more beautiful than you.

Q2: There is no one alive more beautiful than I to the King.
    Snow White explained to me how the King feels.

C: And what about your step-daughter?

M: If the King ever does return, and if he should give you children, won't she come before your own children?

N: The Stepmother Queen made herself distant from Snow White.

SW: Mum, can we go for a picnic?

Q2: I am so tired. Maybe not today, honey.

N: Then the Mayor made a shocking suggestion.

M: If Snow White should meet an accident in the forest, there would be no one between you and the King.

Q2: You are evil. Leave, now.
    Never say such things to me or anyone else, again.

N: The Stepmother Queen mentioned this to Snow White.

SW: They are not friends of my father.
    I once asked him why he allowed them to remain in office.

Q2: What did he say?

SW: He said that the people had chosen them.

Q2: But surely the King could overrule the choice.

SW: The people must be free to make bad decisions.

Q2: He said that?

SW: If the people will not choose good, the King cannot save them.
    If he tries, it will only spoil the people and ruin the kingdom.

Q2: Your father's wisdom is greater than I knew.
    Are you afraid of me?

SW: I am a little afraid. Not of you. For you.
    But I must trust you.

Q2: Is it wise for you to trust me?

SW: If we fight, it will destroy both of us.
    And it will destroy the kingdom.
    We have no choice but to trust each other

Q2: How did your father train you so well?

N: But the Stepmother Queen could not shake herself loose of the Councilor and Mayor's influence.
    Eventually, she asked the King's advisor a shocking question.

Q2: What would happen if you and Snow White were in the forest hunting, and she should meet with an accident?

A: The Mayor and the Councilor have been teasing you again.

Q2: They have. But is it safe for her to go hunting with you?

A: I wonder whether it would safer to leave her here with only you against the wolves.

Q2: I see what you mean.

A: Sometimes I think I should take you with us, as well.
    But the duties of the court demand otherwise.
    I really am sorry to ask you to fight these battles alone.

Q2: I think I'm learning, but I'm scared.

[JMR: Written and posted 21 January 2017.]



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Snow White, as a Play, scene 9, Insecurity, Accidents, and Intrigue

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[Scene 9, Insecurity, Accidents, and Intrigue Plague the Royal Household -- 

N: Narrator, VW: the 2nd Queen, who was a Vain Woman,

M: Mayor, C: Councilor, A: Advisor, SW: Snow White ]


N: The New Queen became distraught, waiting for the King.

VW: There must be no one more beautiful in the kingdom than I when he returns!

SW: Mum, Daddy will be okay.
    And, to him, no one living is more beautiful than you.

M: Besides yourself, Snow White, of course.
    You worry too much, my Queen.

C: I'm sure he has hasn't found anyone new.

M: He would be too busy on the battlefield.

C: Of course, he can't be fighting all the time.

A: Can't you two leave well enough alone?

VW: Snow White, I need to think. Can we go for a picnic?

SW: That sounds like a great idea, Mummy.

A: I'll come with you.

VW: No need. We won't go far.

SW: Let's go pack some yummy food.

N: The New Queen thought she knew a place in the woods where Snow White had never been.

VW: Isn't this a beautiful place?

SW: Yes, it is. I like to come here when it snows.
    But don't tell Daddy, he would worry.

N: They finally found a place where Snow White didn't say she had been before.

VW: This looks like a nice spot.

SW: I don't remember having come here before.
    It's a little wild, but that makes it all the more fun.

N: They ate their picnic and watched the woods animals and talked for a while.

VW: Do you really think that the King thinks I'm beautiful?

SW: My father sees the real you, just like I do.

VW: That kind of scares me.

SW: I'm not sure you see the real you when you look in the mirror.
    You are more beautiful than I think you know.

VW: Thank you for coming with me. I feel much better, now.

SW: I'm glad.

VW: Do you miss your mother?

SW: Sure I miss her. But you're my Mum, too.
    I think Momma likes you.

N: When she heard that, the New Queen repented.
    And they returned to the castle together, laughing and singing.

C: Back already?

A: They've been gone for four hours.
    I was about to organize a search party.

M: You worry too much.

N: One day, while the King's Advisor was out hunting, the Mayor and the Councilor suggested another picnic.

VW: Is it safe?

C: I'll go with you. See, we've packed a picnic already.
    We can ride horses, to run fast if there is trouble.

SW: We haven't been outside the castle grounds for a while.
    It might be fun.

N: Snow White's horse was not feeling well.

SW: She's off her feed. Poor girl.

M: You can ride mine.
    He's well trained.

VW: Maybe we shouldn't go.

C: You both need a bit of diversion.

N: They rode into the woods.
    Suddenly, something spooked the Mayor's horse.
    The horse ran away, carrying Snow White deep into the wilder part of the woods.

VW: Oh, dear! I knew we shouldn't have come.

C: Don't try to follow her. It's not safe.
    We'll have to go back.
    I'll send some guards to find her.

VW: I really should learn how to ride a horse better.
    I could try to catch up to her.

C: I can teach you.

N: Back at the castle, the Mayor and the Councilor made elaborate search plans.

VW: Can't we hurry?
    She must be frightened!

M: We have to ensure everyone's safety, of course.

N: By the time they were ready, the King's advisor was back.
    Snow white was with him.
    They were carrying the game he had taken on their horses.

A: Well, I'm glad everyone made it safely back.

C: What?

M: Oh, dear ...

VW: Oh, thank you, dear God!
    Snow White! You're okay!

A: She knows more about the woods around here than most of the people in our kingdom.

SW: Mum! Councilor! I found the most wonderful spring in the woods.
    Is the picnic still packed? Let's go back!

A: I trust there will be no more accidents?

C: I'll make certain of that.

N: And they had a nice little picnic.
    That night, the Stepmother Queen talked with the King's Advisor.

VW: I don't think I am to be trusted.

A: I trust you more than I trust certain others.

VW: I am not sure I can defend myself from them.
    I know I can't defend Snow White by myself.

A: We'll have to be more careful.

[JMR: Written and posted 21 January 2017.]



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2017-01-17

January PTA English -- Ringing in the New Year Again

Again, we are going with the season.
また、季節に従ってやります。

We'll probably talk about New Year's resolutions and winter holidays.
たぶん、新年決意や冬休みの話をします。

Maybe we'll play some of the parlor games we have been learning.
もしかして、やってきている居間遊びもするかも知れません。

Maybe we'll sing "Auld Lang Syne".
もしかして、「蛍の光」の元の曲になっている「オールド・ラング・サイン」を歌ってみるかも知れません。

Maybe. I never know for sure.
どうなるでしょう?

At long last, here are notes from last years lesson.
やっと、去年のこの頃のレッスンノートが(ここに)出来上がりました。

[JMR201702101227:

And, at long last, here are the notes from this years lesson.

Also, here is a sample New Year's greeting conversation.

]


2017-01-13

Practice Conversation -- New Years and Winter Holiday

[JMR Posted February 6th. Should have been posted early in January.]
 
At the airport, Nanami is heading home for winter vacation:

Alice: Do you have everything, love?

Nanami: Just my backpack and my carry-on bag.
  It really is okay if I leave everything else?

Alice: It's no problem, love.
  It won't be in our way.

Art: Don't worry 'bout it, mate.
  It'll all be waiting here for you when you get back.

Christopher: I promise I’ll stay out of your stuff!

Julie: If he so much as peeks into your room,
  I’ll take his head off!

Christopher: Mom! She’s threatening me again!

Alice: Oh, behave yourselves.
  There’s your flight, Nana.
  Take care of yourself.

Nanami: Thanks for everything.
  Goodbye. I’ll see you in two weeks.

Art: Have a merry!

Nanami: Everybody have happy holidays!

Julie: See you next year!

Christopher: Take care!

At the airport, two weeks later, Nanami is returning to her home stay family after winter vacation:

Christopher: There she is!

Nanami: Alice!

Alice: Nana, love! Over here!

Nanami: Art, Julie, Christopher, Happy New Year!

Christopher: Oh. Yeah. Happy new year.
  You missed the fireworks.

Julie: Ignore my brother. Happy New Year, Nana! 
  How were your holidays?

Nanami: I had a wonderful time at home.
  But I'm glad to be back.

Alice: Tell us about it on the way.
  We must have your family come visit sometime.

Art: Indeed.  Got your stuff? Let's go.

2017-01-06

Landmark: Kōmyōji in Takino-chō (Katō-shi)

Landmarks (a sample)

Kōmyō-ji

in Takino-chō (now Katō-shi)

Kōmyō-ji Temple
Photo by Corpse Reviver, edited by Joel Rees
Courtesy Wikipedia:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Komyoji%28Kato%29_42.jpg
Licensed under GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Example Presentation (minimum level):

Komyoji is a Buddhist temple


It is located in Katō City, Hyōgo, Japan.


You can throw plates off of the mountain for good luck.

It has a nice view.


The autumn leaves at Komyoji are beautiful.

The nearest train station is the JR Takino Station.

You should visit Komyoji Temple.
 

Example presentation (high level):

Kōmyōji is a Japanese Buddhist temple in Katō City, Hyōgo, Japan.



It is located near the top of Mt. Gobu.



It is also called “Gobu-san”, after the mountain.

I used to live at the foot of Mt. Gobu.



There was a war between the Ashikaga brothers near the temple around the year 1352.



There is a memorial for the war behind the temple.



The image of the founder rests in the henjōin commemorative hall.



Throwing plates off of the mountain is a tradition for bringing good luck.



There is a deck that you can throw the plates off of.



The deck has a nice view.



The autumn leaves at Komyoji are beautiful.



The nearest train station is the JR Takino Station.

It takes about an hour to hike to the temple from the station.



The view from the parking lot is spectacular!



You should visit this temple.


JR Takino Station
by 沙羅星人, edited by Joel Rees
Courtesy of Wikipedia:
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:%E6%BB%9D%E9%87%8E%E9%A7%85.JPG
 Assigned to the Public Domain



This is an example of projects I sometimes use in teaching English.
英語の授業に使う一つのプロジェクトの例です。

The students choose a landmark (in this case) outside of Japan and find information about it.
学生は外国の(この場合は)名所を選んでその名所の情報を調べます。

Then they make a poster and present some of their research during class.
ポスターを作って、研究の一部を授業の間に発表します。

We use it to help the students gain confidence in composition and in making presentations in English.
このプロジェクトによって、学生は英語の作文や発表を経験し、若干の自信が着きます。

Translating -- the Song "Sayonara", by Off Course

Today's English programs on NHK included a segment on an English language version of a popular Japanese song called "Sayonara", by the band Off Course. I have a copy of it in my record collection back in the States, but not here. I think my wife has a copy in her smaller record collection stored at her parents' house. Anyway, I looked it up on the 'net.

Off Course was a Japanese folk rock band, active from the late 1960s to the 1980s. When I returned to the US after my two years as a missionary in Japan, some of their songs were among the music I took back with me.

(Their name was something of a pun in Japan, since -- especially at the time -- "of course" tended to be pronounced the same as "off course": "ofu kōsu".

Oh, here they are on Wikipedia, and here in Japanese.)

"Sayonara" was one of their bigger hits. People here who have never heard of the band will likely know the song.

It's tempting to post the Japanese lyrics, but I'll refrain. You can find them by searching the web, and I don't have permission to post them.

Translations are also supposed to trip over the current international copyright regime, but I do not feel all that bound by all of the vain imaginations of the so-called artists' associations that want to use copyright to establish their minor tyrannies and monopolies. Translation is creative work, and work that has entered the public milieu by way of copyright claims must have boundaries.

So here's my rough translation of the Japanese lyrics:



Sayonara
original lyrics by Kazumasa Oda,
new translation from Japanese by Joel Rees

Now, the end has come, and you look so small to me.
I have this unthinking urge to take you in my arms again.
Go! Leave me alone, I am not going to cry.
I look at your cheeks, wet by the tears that fall.
We are free, is what we used to say,
As if today was a day we would never think of.

Goodbye, farewell, sayonara!
Outside white winter comes.
I am sure it was only you I loved,
Only you the way you are.

Love is such a pitiful thing. Instead of mine
Tonight you may lie in someone else's arms.
I blush easily, so we'd find a hidden path
To walk along on those cold days you liked so much.

Goodbye, farewell, sayonara!
Outside white winter comes.
I am sure it was only you I loved,
Only you the way you are.

Today again outside, it's rain, and it will shortly turn to snow
That will, in our hearts fall and pile deep --
Fall, and pile deep.



I could work harder to fit it to the rhythm and rhyme, but I won't. I could also try harder to connect the stanzas through cultural interpolation, but I'll refrain from that as well.

There are limits to my time, and there is an English version which is pretty fully interpolated and carefully fit to the tune, anyway. Kantner, Balin, and Casady covered it in 1986 as the KBC Band, if you want to find it and listen to it.

After some search, I haven't been able to find out for sure who wrote the original English lyrics. They are definitely interpolated and much more detailed than my translation, probably trying to fill in cultural details [JMR201701131157: with the extra verse ].

The English language Wikipedia page on the KBC Band Album only references Oda, with no details. (I think it odd that they don't reference the band, since the Japanese page credits the band along with Oda on the music.)

The Japanese Wikipedia page on the song simply indicates that the KBC Band used the lyrics from a promotional video that Off Course put together in 1983 with the intent to try to break into the English language markets. [JMR201701131157: So I can't say who did that translation. I have the impression it might have been Oda himself, with the help with a native English speaking friend. ]

My father was not the only one who ever told me that you can't fully enjoy foreign language literary works unless you can enjoy them in the original language. I think it's true. [JMR201701131157: I also think someone raised outside the culture will still miss much of the symbolism and many of the references. ]

But I think we can try to appreciate them to a limited extent in translation, especially if we can find translations by different people. [JMR201701131157: So, having taken time I didn't really have to take a stab at it, I thought I'd share the results. ]

2017-01-05

Eikaiwall ch. 01 -- The Door in the Wall

A World in a Wall

An English and Japanese Language Adventure

by Joel Matthew Rees, Copyright 2017
...
adapted from, and extending
this Eikaiwa session
recorded fancifully in 1995.

Names, details, and events changed
... to protect the people to whom this didn't really happen.

Ch. 1 -- The Door in the Wall

「あの掛物の裏、なにがあるかな?」 Iwakazu asked absently of no one in particular.
-- Ano kakemono no ura, nani ga aru kana? [I wonder what's behind that wall hanging.]

His friend Yasufusa replied, 「壁ぇあろう。」
-- Kabe 'earō. [The wall, of course.]

「ちゃうやろう。やっぱり、なにかその裏にある。」
-- Chau yarō. Yappari, nanika sono ura ni aru. [I don't believe it. There's gotta be something there.]

Their other friend, Takeru, asked, 「なんでそう思わなアカン?」
-- Nande sō omowanaakan? [Why? What makes you think so?]

The three friends were sitting cross-legged around a low table on a raised tatami-dai in the second-story juku classroom where they were taking Eikaiwa lessons. Iwakazu was a third-year junior high (9th grader, or freshman) student and the other two were first-year high school (10th grader, or sophomore) students.

Iwakazu was insistent. 「怪しいや。絶対あやしい。怪しぉ思わへん?」
-- Ayashii ya. Zettai ayashii. Ayasho omowahen? [It looks suspicious. Definitely suspicious, don'cha think?]

「どうして?」 Takeru didn't think he was buying any fantasies today.
-- Dōshite? [How so?]

「影のところ、な、線あるやろう?それに、な、勝手口ぐらいの大きさや。」
-- Kage no tokoro, na, sen aru yarō? Soreni, na, katte-guchi gurai no ōkisa ya. [Well, see how there's a line right at the shadow? And the size is about right for a small utility door.]

Yasufusa shook his head. 「あれ、外の壁。ドアの向こうになにがある?」
-- Are, soto no kabe. Doa no mukō ni nani ga aru? [That's the outside wall. What would be on the other side of the door?]"

Takeru asked, 「でな、なにに使うぇあろう。」
-- Dena, nani ni tsukau earō. [And what would it be used for?]

「イヤ、めっちゃ怪しい。ドアあるやろう。ある、思わへん?」
-- Iya, meccha ayashii. Doa aru yarō. Aru, omowahen? [Nah, I think it's very suspicious. There must be a door behind it. Don't you think there's a door there?]

「さぁっ…」Yasufusa was beginning to look carefully at the pattern of shadows on the wall.
-- Saa ... [Well, ...]

Takeru was shining him on. 「考えすぎ。な、ジェームズ先生、あの壁掛けの裏、なにかある?」
-- Kangae-sugi. Na, Jēmuzu Sensei, ano kabe gake no ura, nanika aru? [You're imagining too much. Hey, James Sensei, Is there something behind that wall hanging?]

I was waiting for this. "Ask me in English."

The three boys put on their best dumbfounded expressions. Iwakazu started to joke around. 「発音良すぎ、わからへん。」
-- Hatsuon yosugi, wakarahen. [Your pronunciation is too good. Can't understand it.]

I repeated myself, slowly. "Ask. Me. In. English." The boys were still giving me expressions of incredulity. Raising my hands and pretending to be a hypnotist, I dropped into an exaggerated Japanese accent. "Asuku mii iin Iingurisshu."

The boys responded in chorus. 「イヤ、無理むりむりむりむり。勘弁してくれ!」
-- Iya, muri-muri-muri-muri-muri. Kanben shite kure! [Wait! No way! Huh uh! Give us a break!]

After a bit of negotiating and practice writing and asking what was behind, over, under, etc. several things in the room, the boys returned to the subject of the wall hanging.

This time, they asked me in English. Takeru led, "One, two, three," then all three chorused on cue, "What's behind the wall hanging?" It was pretty nice pronunciation, too.

[I can only wish I had had the teaching skills and Japanese to have pulled it off like James Sensei demonstrates here, back in 1995. It would have saved me a painful ten years' trip back through the computer industry that was always going someplace I didn't want to go.]

We all laughed, and I said, "I think it's just the outside wall, but I've never looked. Let's take a look."

I stood up and lifted the hanging to look behind it. It was an inexpensive printed scroll of the year's calendar on a background of plum blossoms and snow capped peaks and other Japanese seasonal symbols.

 "Hmm." I showed them the bare wall underneath where the scroll hung. "Looks like just the wall to me." I tapped the wall around where the scroll had hung, the taps echo hollowly -- tap, tap, tap, tap. "It does sound hollow, but most walls in Japan sound hollow."

I had to explain what hollow meant at that point: 「中が開いている、という感じ。うつろに響く。」
-- Naka ga aite-iru to iu kanji. Utsuro ni hibiku. [Like it's empty inside. echoes hollowly.]

To emphasize the point, I tapped again where I had found a beam, then between beams, just under where the hanging scroll had rested.

Whoosh!

Yasufusa exclaimed, 「エェッ!まっさか!なーなーなにヤ?」
-- Eh eh eh! Massaka! Naa naa nani ya? [Huh? Wha wha what?]

Takeru echoed his friend's concern. 「嫌だよ!先生どこに行ったん?」
-- Iyada yo! Sensei doko ni ittan? [Oh, no! Where's Sensei?]

Iwakazu didn't say anything, just stared.

[That is, James Sensei could have imagined it this way, if he hadn't been suddenly busy elsewhere. Since he can't tell you what happened next at the Eikaiwa juku, I'll have to take over.]

Iwakazu came out of his shock first, but he was in denial. 「先生、今日、来てた?居らへんかったん、ちゃう?」
-- Sensei, kyō, kiteta? Orahenkattan, chau? [Sensei, today, was here? He never showed up, right?]

Yasufusa slapped his friend back-of-the-head a little harder than he intended. 「お前悪い。あの馬鹿な掛物のことを気にするもんか?」
-- Omae warui. Ano baka na kakemono no koto wo ki ni suru mon ka? [It's your fault. Who'd pay attention that stupid hanging scroll?]

Takeru stood up and went to the wall, tracing around the scroll, which now hung as if nothing untoward had happened. None of the shadows that had raised Iwakazu's curiosity were in evidence, but he tried to trace around where they had seen the door open for a brief moment. Then he started tapping -- tap, tap, tap, ...

「オイオイ、気をつけろ!」 Yasufusa jumped up and held Takeru's hand away from the wall.
-- Oi oi, ki wo tsukero! [Hey! Watch what you're doing!]

Iwakazu stood up and joined his friends around the hanging scroll, examining the wall and the scroll, looking for seams or cracks. He even dared tap the wall once or twice.

「手持って。」 Takeru extended his hand to Iwakazu.
-- Te motte. [Grab my hand.]

Iwakazu looked at the hand quizzically.

「持ってってば。しっかり持って。やっすん、イワちゃんの手を持って。あちの壁へ行って。」
-- Motte 'tteba. Shikkari motte. Yassun, Iwachan no te wo motte. Achi no kabe 'e itte. [Didn't I tell you to grab it? Yasu, grab Iwa's other hand and go to the other wall over there.]

Yasufusa understood and did as he was told.

Then Iwakazu picked up on the plan and grabbed Takeru's arm in a death grip. But he expressed his disagreement. 「イヤよ!」
-- Iya yo! [I don't like this!]

Takeru proceeded to tap around the wall randomly.

「あち。おち。それ。それ。」 Iwakazu gave his opinion of where he should tap, trying to recall where they had seen James Sensei tapping.
-- Achi. Achi. Sore. Sore. [There. There. That. That.]

But nothing happened.

Yasufusa suggested, 「比嘉さんに言ってたほうがええ?」
-- Higa-san ni yutteta hō ga ē? [Shouldn't we tell Mrs. Higa?]

「なにを?あの、あんたらは何をしてはる?」 Mrs. Higa had just come to the door and had heard him. 「先生は?」
-- Nani wo? Ano, antara wa nani wo shite haru? [Tell me what? Wait. What are you boys up to?]
-- Sansei wa? [Where's your teacher?]

All three looked at her in surprise. Iwakazu blurted out, 「消えた、よ。」
-- Kieta, yo. [He disappeared!]

Yasufusa and Takeru looked at him with expressions that might have been intended to warn him off.

But Mrs. Higa misinterpreted him. 「おトイレですか?」 She left them and went down the stairs to the middle landing, where the toilet was.
-- O-toire desu ka? [Has he gone to the toilet?]

「何を言ってる?」 Yasufusa chided Isakazu.
-- Nani wo yutteru? [What are you saying?]

Takeru was thinking out loud. 「でも、本当に消えている。どっかに行くつもりだったはずもない、し。」
-- Demo, hontō ni kiete-iru. Dokka ni iku tsumori datta hazu mo nai, shi. [But he really did disappear. It's not like he went somewhere on purpose.]

They could hear Mrs. Higa knocking on the toilet door. -- Knock, knock. --「先生?大丈夫ですか?」
-- Sensei, daijōbu desu ka? [Sensei, are you all right?]

They listened hopefully, but heard no response. They did hear a faint click, like a light switch being turned on below them.

「見てたよ、このカレンダーの壁掛けを。」 Takeru was still thinking out loud.
-- Miteta yo, kono karendā no kabekake wo. [She was looking at this calendar wall hanging.]

Mrs. Higa's voice drifted up from the stairwell. 「突然に胃が悪くなりましたのですか?」
-- Totsuzen ni i ga waruku narimashita no desu ka? [Oh? Your stomach suddenly started acting up?]

「居る?」 Yasufusa clearly wanted a simple explanation.
-- Oru? [You think he's there?]

「そんなわけあらへん。」 Takeru was definitely not convinced.
-- Sonna wake arahen. [No way.]

From the stairwell, 「授業できなさそうですか。」
-- Jugyō deki nasasō desu ka. [So you won't be able to finish the lesson?]

「都合の良さすぎる。」 Iwakazu was also doubtful.
-- Tsugō no yosa sugiru. [Too convenient.]

「まあ、岩一くんらはがっかりすると思いますけど、仕方がありません、ね。」
-- Maa, Iwakazu-kunra wa gakkari suru to omoimasu kedo, shikata ga arimasen, ne. [Iwakazu and his friends will be disappointed, but what else can we do?]

「どうする?」 Iwakazu was the one who asked.
-- Dō suru? [What should we do?]

「レッスン5の途中ですね。やります、よ。三人から聞けばいいですね。」
-- Ressun go no tochū desu ne. Yarimasu, yo. San-nin kara kikeba ii desu ne. [In the middle of lesson five? I'll finish it. I can ask the boys where, right?]

「先生がそんなん言わへん。」
-- Sensei ga sonnan iwahen. [Sensei would not be saying that.]

Yasufusa wasn't willing to consider the possibility that Mrs. Higa was trying to fool them into thinking that James Sensei was there. 「だけど、先生は確かに不基準的なやり方。」
-- Dakedo, Sensei wa tashika ni fu-kijunteki na yarikata. [Well, James Sensei does use irregular methods.] 

The other two looked at him.

「乗ったほうがいいと思う。」
-- Notta hō ga ii to omou. [We should play along.]

「誰の演技に乗る?」 Takeru was not really asking, though.
-- Dare no engi ni noru? [Play along with whom?]

「だって、先生かわいそう。辞めさせられるかも知らへん。」
-- Datte, Sensei kawaisō. Yamesaserareru ka mo shirahen. [Think of poor James Sensei. He could get fired.] 

「先生、本当に大丈夫かな?」 Iwakazu voiced there concern.
-- Sensei, hontō ni daijōbu kana? [Will Sensei be okay?]

「比嘉さんに任せたほうが良いと思う。」
-- Higa-san ni makaseta hō ga ii to omou. [I think we should let Mrs. Higa take care of it.]

Mrs. Higa came back in the room at this point. She clapped her hands primly. "Okay boys, back to work."

"Huh?"

Yasufusa translated. 「勉強に戻るって。」
-- Benkyō ni modoru 'tte. [She's telling us to get back to studying.]

"It's too early to close your textbooks. Let's open them back up to page fifty-three. That's where you are, isn't it?"

Caught off-guard by Mrs. Higa's speaking English, they boys opened their books and pretended to be picking things back up in the lesson they had never started.

"Repeat after me: 'Where are you going?'"

Three boys chorused: 「ホォエアー アール ユー ゴーイング。」
-- Howeā āru yū gōingu. 

"No, no, not 'ho-weh-ah', not 'fu-eh-ah', either. It's 'where'."

When she was satisfied with their pronunciation, she worked with them on the grammar of replies. Shortly, it was time to end the lesson. She asked the boys, "Where are you going after class?"

「授業の後、どこに行くのさ。」 Takeru translated this one.
-- Jugyō no ato, doko ni iku no sa. [She's asking where we are going after the lesson.]

"That's right."

"I'm going to study math at Mr. Kuwahara's juku." Yasufusa volunteered.

"I'm going to Mr. Kuwahara's juku, too, but I will be studying chemistry." Takeru replied next.

"I will go to Ms. Horiuchi's juku to study Japanese." Iwakazu took his turn. Then, without thinking, he added, "but I'd rather go through the wall to find James Sensei."

Mrs. Higa was taken by surprise.

「イエイ。やるやん。」 Takeru approved of his friend's sudden attack.
-- Yei. Yaru yan. [Hey, there you go, guy!]

"Whatever are you talking about?" Mrs. Higa recovered quickly.

「解かってるでしょう。」 Takeru joined the attack.
-- Wakatteru deshō. [You know what we are talking about.]

"James Sensei is in the toilet trying to recover from a bit of stomach distress. Do you want to break through the toilet wall?"

「無理か。トイレに入っているって。」
-- Muri ka. Toire ni haitteiru 'tte. [No use. She insists he's in the toilet.]

Yasufusa jumped to Mrs. Higa's defense. 「当たり前。あっ。幸代。」
-- Atari mae. Ah. Sachiyo. [Of course. Oh, hello, Sachiyo.]

「や、…」Mrs. Higa's daughter, Sachiyo came in the room. Her mother warned her with a look. "Oh, hi, guys. How was the lesson?"
-- Ya, ... [Hey! ...]

Taking advantage of the distraction of Sachiyo's arrival, Mrs. Higa managed to send the boys home.

「来てくれた、幸。」
-- Kite kureta, Sachi. [Sachi, you came.]

「来ないんか。」
-- Konain ka? [Would I not come?]

Mrs. Higa immediately went to the wall and tapped in four specific places, then stepped away from the wall. 「開くかしら?」
-- Hiraku kashira? [Will it open?]

Whoosh!

A hand appeared near the floor, grasping the edge of the doorway that opened. Then another, grasping the opposite edge.





(Next)


Table of Contents

  1. The Door in the Wall
    In which a sensei disappears, mid class.
  2. (TBA)