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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Another wonderful EFL lesson in Japan

English in the Japanese classroom version 2.

Ah yes, once again, a funny vocabulary drill exercise. This year, the junior high school textbook Sunshine was revised. Each grade level has a new revised text. This article covers the Second year book.

The first unit covers the aspect of the students returning back to school after their spring holidays.

The vocabulary which the teacher used consisted of was/science/were/at home/all day/hour/anywhere/hot/Seoul/exciting/Korea/wasn’t/the Korean Folk Village/farmer/band/dance

I just find it very funny how the teacher doesn’t double check how the words are sequenced.

So as I’m going through the word list in front of the students, I read them off and find myself in a fit of giggles.

I mean Was Science at home?

Were at home all day.


Hot Seoul, exciting Korea.

Korea wasn’t the Korean Folk Village.

(Really, then why the hell is the name the Korean folk village if it wasn’t Korean?)

Farmer band dance, (which to be fair, is a traditional Korean cultural music group. Not to be confused with a country hoe down in the midwest.

So the dialogue works like this.

Ms. Wood: Did you go anywhere, Yuki?

Yuki: I went to Korea with my family in early April. We visited the Korean Folk Village near Seoul.

Ms. Wood: What did you see there?

Yuki: We saw the farmer’s band dance.

Ms. Wood: Oh, did you? How was it?

Yuki: It was really good. Their music and dances were exciting.

Ms. Wood: Did you try any traditional Korean dishes?

Yuki: Yes. They were hot but really good. I enjoyed them very much.

After we had gone through these, I then told the students my experiences when I was an English teacher in Korea from 1996-99. For me, the answer to the “traditional Korean dishes” question caused many students to freak out when I told them I had eaten Dogmeat soup twice. I explained that for me it was ok, as I don’t like dogs. And it’s not like I was eating fluffy.

As well, on one of my mountain hikes, I came across some Korean shamanism. Mugyo is the Korean term which wikipedia uses the quaint term eclectic to refer to it. Nothing makes you stand up and take notice like some old lady (who would be a shaman,) standing in a mountain clearing screaming her head off while banging a gong with a pig’s leg!

Then there was the pigs head worship. This was where a pig had been slaughtered, then the head was cleaned up, and was placed on it’s own altar whereby people would stuff money notes into the pigs snout and mouth. They would then give offerings of soju. Different, but I wouldn’t say strange. When I checked wikipedia, the current policy in Korea is to try and give Korean shamans into mental health professions, or help.

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