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22 Common Questions I Get From Students, and 5 Weird Ones

May 16, 2010
When I first met with the teachers I would end up working alongside at a Board of Education meeting a week prior to my starting they showed me the lesson they wanted me to teach.  At the end of the lesson they had left space for the students to ask me questions, because apparently they had a lot.  I found this be only be partly true, a handful of kids had a lot of questions, the rest seemed too shy to say anything, but luckily those outspoken kids would often act as representatives and ask even more.
Also, as the kids have gotten more comfortable with me, I’ve been getting a lot more questions in the hallways and during lunch.  Which is a great way to get them to improve their English outside of class.
I always seem to get a wide variety of questions, but there are always good handful that I’m always asked.  So here’s a collection of those.
  1. How old are you? 23 years old
  2. How tall are you? 185 cm
  3. Do you like Michael Jackson? Yes, I do
  4. What’s your favorite color? Since I’m not 12 years old, I don’t really have a favorite color, so I tend to go with green since I can use the chalkboard as an example.
  5. Have you been to Disneyland? I try to explain to them that haven’t, but I’ve been to Disney World, and I tell them that there are 2 Disney parks in America and I show them where they both are.
  6. Who’s your favorite singer? Sometimes I’ll say Michael Jackson, other times I’ll say the popular Japanese boy band “Arashi” and the kids go crazy.  I’ve never heard a single Arashi song.
  7. Favorite cartoon/anime? I’ll often say One Piece (a really popular, long running show about pirates) and the kids go crazy.
  8. Favorite movie? Most of them have never heard of Back to the Future, so I’ll say Totoro or some other wildly popular Studio Ghibli cartoon that all the kids know.
  9. Favorite comic? Comic books are extremely popular here in Japan, and people of all ages read them, so not too unusual of a question.  I try to stick with something they know, so I again say “One Piece” or maybe Batman.
  10. Do you like Japan? Yes, I do.
  11. What’s your favorite place in Japan? Fuji! Sure, it’s a lie, but Fuji isn’t half bad and I’ve barely been anywhere else.
  12. Favorite food/Japanese food? Rice, Okonomoyaki and Ramen.  Showing the tiniest knowledge of Japanese food or culture blows any Japanese person’s mind.  Telling them that rice is one of my favorite foods blows there minds because it’s so banal to them (and the rest of the world).
  13. Do you have a car? No, I don’t.
  14. What food do you not like? Avacados.  Which gets a surprised reaction just like it does back home.
  15. What sports do you like? Hockey (exclusively called “Ice Hockey” in Japan) and Football (the Japanese call American Football “Amefto”).
  16. What are your hobbies? I like traveling.
  17. Favorite animal? Whales, bears or something else that I’ve recently showed them a flashcard of.
  18. Shoe size? 27cm
  19. Where in Japan do you live? Fuji, because some of them think it’s a possibility that I commute from Tokyo or Kyoto.
  20. How long have you been in Japan? I got this question the most during the first few classes I ever taught, so the question was often 3 or 4 weeks, which was mind blowing to even the teacher I was assisting.
  21. When’s your birthday?
  22. Are you married? No, I’m not.

During every Q & A session I have during class, there always seems to be one odd question out of left field that I wasn’t expecting.  It usually starts with the “Japanese Teacher of English” scratching their head, trying to figure out the translation.  Here are some of my favorite of these questions.

  1. Are you Christian Born Again?
  2. Is your hair natural?
  3. What’s your favorite type of history book?
  4. Favorite flag?
  5. What’s your favorite type of woman?
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2 Comments
  1. Grandma & Papa permalink
    May 18, 2010 6:43 am

    Hi Jon We enjoy reading your blog & find it very intersting, keep up the good work.

    I’m curious to know the names of some of your students. next time U can write their namesin your blog & whether it is a boy or girl as I know we can’t always determine gender from JAPANESE spelling.

    Also I’m wondering if any of your students have a true intertest in stamp collecting, & if so I could send some which I have & hope it would be a delight for some boy or girl to get mail from the U S of A.

  2. Mom permalink
    May 24, 2010 10:42 am

    Jon, you can tell your students about your favorite cartoon when you were little, Inspector Gadget, remember?

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