Every week at school we have at least one "mission". The mission involves getting outside of the classroom, into the streets, and interacting with real Nihonjin. Ack! During Week 1 our first mission was to go upstairs and have a conversation with the office staff. We had to introduce ourselves, explain where we're from and what we do and then ask them questions about themselves. It went ok but I was so focused on what I was saying that I didn't remember anything she told me about herself. My teacher thought that was interesting. :-/
The next day we were placed strategically on the streets of Itabashi with a slip of paper stating our mission. I had to ask people to help me find a supermarket and then find and purchase some vegetable juice! The first lady that I asked on the street was a grandma and looked so nice that I thought she would definitely want to help me. Wrong. She took one look at me and kept walking. Ack! Then I decided to approach two college girls - they looked more open to strangers. When I asked them where the supa was they actually decided to take me there! They asked me questions (in English) about myself throughout the trip. So friendly! I got my vegetable juice without any more issues. Week 1: Mission accomplished!
During Week 2 we all took a class field trip to a nearby mall. There is a delicious udon shop inside and that is right where we headed. We each had to order by ourselves, and of course, pay. Key sentences were:
"_______ (type of udon) please"
"Excuse me, what is this?" (pointing to tempura selection)
"Can I pay with credit card?"
"Thank you very much"
This mission was way more fun and much less stressful than being abandoned on the street last week.
Our last mission of Week 2 involved pairing up with a classmate and interviewing staff at a restaurant. We were given a map and a set of questions to ask (written in English). Esther was my partner and I think we did a pretty good job. We were able to rely on our map to help us navigate to the assigned cafe so we didn't have to approach people on the street this time. Phew!
When we got to the cafe, the staff was a little confused by our "mission" but still very sweet. The waitress went and found the manager to make sure it was ok if she chatted with us. What a good employee!
We were able to get through our questions (with a few grammatical errors) and she was very accommodating.
"What is the name of this restaurant?"
"We don't have a pen. Can we borrow one?"
"Can you write the restaurant name here on this paper?"
"Do you have a lunch menu?"
"Can we take a photo with you?"
This challenge was so much easier than the first one because we did it together. Safety in numbers!
Sadly, we are losing one student today and then two more after Week 3 (not everyone can hang out in Tokyo for a whole month). Here's our last shot of the "August Crash Course" group! I'll be updating this post with a photo of Esther (who isn't in this photo because she took it).
Week 2: Mission accomplished! Don't we look proud of ourselves? :D