Wacky Weather


Woke up this morning not realizing anything special until I opened the water closet window and saw snow on my car. Fortunately there was nothing on the roadway and I got to work without incident. All day the weather was changing. At least once an hour, the snow would stop, the clouds would part, and the sun would come out and melt everything; only to be followed by a fresh flurry under dark gray cloud cover. Needless to say, this kind of rapid weather change was accompanied by strong winds.

Currently harboring a little concern over tomorrow’s conditions, because the snow had frozen on my window before I went to my evening class at the community center. Perhaps I should get up early to check: then I can watch the replay of SG-1 that I missed tonight.

Japanese people are completely sold on the concept of global warming. We call it chikyuu ondanka (地球温暖化), which is an odd word; on means ‘warm’ and dan means ‘warm’, and together they mean ‘warm’. Anyhow, on days like today, I like to mess with people’s concepts a little. (OK, I like to challenge people’s positions every day, but back to the point…) Global temperatures have been low for a couple years and Japan is no exception, but nobody is throwing off the chokehold yet. I like to tell people (on these days) that, “I am worried about chikyuu kanreika (地球寒冷化).” I replaced ondan with kanrei, which is made of two characters, each individually meaning ‘cold’; together they mean – you guessed it – ‘cold’.

Let me just be clear, throwing around a term like ‘global cooling’ gets a look of total bewilderment from educators. Partly this must be because nobody generally uses this term, but I think a big factor is that teaching is really closer to indoctrinating. When I was a child, all of my teachers told me I came from a monkey… Come to think of it, when I was in college they insisted I came from primordial slime. Had I said something audacious like, “Just because you found two things that look similar in different places, doesn’t mean one turned into the other.”, I surely would have gotten similar blank looks.

Certainly I am an odd fish, but I always enjoy the feeling when someone asks me a tough question about what I’m teaching and I realize I’ve been mistaken. Rather than being unsettled, I realize that I don’t have all knowledge yet, and this is just an aspect of learning… a process that all good teachers should continually be following. Teachers are students too.


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One Response to “Wacky Weather”

  1. Arukiyomi Says:

    chikyuu kanreika… brilliant. Love the blog by the way. Great insight into the country we know and love. Please, please do continue to mess with people’s minds over there on my behalf!

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