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Dum-dada-DA-da (Ride of the Valkyries)

Okay, so, just to give you an idea of what these "reading journals" I'm always grading are about, here's a sample one. It was written by Yanagita-kun (who's definitely cute, but definitely stupid). Keep in mind that I have to grade roughly 300 of these things a month. Also keep in mind that Yanagita's English is comparatively good here. Plus, he has a single, somewhat continuous thought running throughout the essay, as opposed to those of his fellow classmates.

Yanagita's essay is based on an article he found about an explosion at a chemical plant here in Japan (they have them all the time). Only two people got hurt, and not all that badly.

So here it is, word-for-word, line-for-line, in all its retarded, Japanglish glory:

WOW!! How terrible accident this is!! I can't imagine the
scale of this explosion. Only what I can say is that this explosion in occurred by chemical substance, so this explosion must be so big and tremendous that I can't imagine. ...wait ...want me. the injured people only two? It is very strange. Did the explosion occur in the stage of "big explosion of laughter by Dorifters"? This explosion was occurred at chemical plant in Mito. ...Mito!? Mito is well known as the place where Natto is made. It is often said that it is very healthy to eat Natto. I think that because workers who work in chemical plant in Mito eat Natto everyday, only two people was injured without dying. Actually, I don't like Natto. But I like natto when I read this article. When I am asked my favorite food, I want to answer "Natto" gladly. ...And stupid?

January 30th, 2004

Nrr?! (That's my comment.)

How exactly does one grade that and maintain one's sanity? I have yet to figure that one out.

Was the runner this morning for the 体育試験 thingy. It's wasn't really an "exam," but they test all the kids' athletic ability and the coaches all come out of their coaches' offices to scope out prospective athletes. It's really disgusting. The coaches point out the ones they want. The athletic part of the whole entrance exam isn't big, but it still counts, and the coaches are also regular teachers, so they have say in who gets recommended to the high school and who doesn't.

There were four events: 50-meter-dash, ball toss, rope climb, and long jump. So two arm and two leg events. The ball toss thing was really more of a "how far can you throw this ball across the gym?" than it was a "toss," but it didn't look any less dumb to me. The rope climb was awful, though, and although most of the kids were able to climb up to the red tape, some couldn't and just sort of wiggled around at the bottom of the rope. There was one fat kid who was sweating (which was miraculous because the kids were all in shorts and short-sleeved shirts and the gym was the same temperature as it was outside, which was about 30 degrees) and the buzzer rang for the rope climb and he jerked around at the bottom of the rope for a while and then plopped down on the mat below when the ending buzzer finally rang (each kid got 25 seconds to reach the top).

Of those who made it to the top, most of them burned their hands on the way down. It was pretty gruesome.

At the long jump, on kid slipped and landed square on his ass. Everybody in the gym grimaced at the same time, which was kind of funny, but the poor guy had to limp off.

My job was to run around the gym, going from station to station and then taking the collected data from each station downstairs to where they were inputting (did I spell that right?) it into computers. The office was on the bottom floor. The gym was up two floors.

I think I ran up and down those stairs about 20 times.

It was such murder on my thighs (and I think I half-pulled a hamstring last night while I was doing my aerobic pilates workout thingy). However, I DO feel much healthier.

I've graded a bijillion reading journals today. Almost...finished....

Man, I told myself I wasn't going to write much today. Just have 10 more reading journals to do, and then I can go home. Go home, Abby, go home!!!

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