Welcome to yet another edition of a crazy American's life in  Japan. Yes, sometimes I do things here that I know wouldn't exactly be the  "in" thing in the States...but it gives me a laugh and the students wonder what  I'm laughing at. Here are a few more examples of what I mean. At my elementary schools (aka shogakko) I  sometimes have a Japanese teacher who can actually speak English. She  prepares all sorts of things and I help her to implement them. One thing  she likes doing is starting the class off by asking each student what his/her  name is while being accompanied by a particular song which is appropriately  titled "Hello, what's your name?" Think about a typical Barney song and  that is what this song's musical level is. Everyone (ideally) starts out  singing, "Hello...Hello...hello...what's your name?  Hello...Hello...Hello...(then a boy student might say) My name is John...My name  is John...Hello John. Hello John. Hello." So pretty easy right? Well  silly if you thought right you haven't been reading my emails...of course it  isn't because this song works for names that have one or two syllables and  sometimes a Japanese name has more than that. Add to this the fact that I  can't really pronounce the names sometimes and no one helps me to sing this and  you have the formula for a disaster. "Hello Musashimakimuro...Hello  Musashi...muro ...nan nan..huh...what was it again?" It's an embarrassing  experience for both the student and me...still I wonder what possesses this  teacher to continue this torturous exercise...could it be....humor?   Then came the second part of  class...learning occupations. This is done by holding up a picture of  someone in a particular job and saying the name of the job over and over and  over and over again. Finally when we think the students know some of the  names we go through the cards and I have to yell "What to you want to be?"  I began feeling like a drill sarg and decided to add to my "fun" by trying to  sound as much like one as possible. "What to you want to  be?!!!" Students answer: "A doctor...a doctor!!!" "What do you  want to be?!!!" "A pilot...a pilot!!" With each one we speed up and  by the end I'm saying "What do you want to be" so fast that I doubt even New  Yorkers could understand what I'm saying.  For the younger students we do similar  things but these things are a little more "interesting". For this day it was  doing the "Hokey Pokey." Of course doing this song accompanied with the  body movements gives me particular license to act completely insane...something  that has become increasing easier since I've come to Japan. Know the part  of put "your whole self in...whole self out...whole self in and shake it all  about?" Well I don't think any of these students thought a person could  have some many convulsions in such a short period of time...kinda felt like a  dog who shakes after being bathed...but the kids enjoy laughing at/with me so  it's worth it.  Well that's about it for now. I'm on  my way to the north island Hokkaido for a famous snow festival which consists of  huge ice sculptures...many the size of houses. So that should be  fun. I'll also probably be doing some more snowboarding or skiing so I'll  probably update that upon my return.