Tomorrow is ensoku (遠足) with third graders. We might translate this as ‘field trip’; although literally the kanji are ‘far’ and ‘foot’. Traditionally ensoku should involve a lot of walking with some kind of studying and a little eating. Someone decides on a list of acceptable sites for each grade level and schools select the one they find appropriate to their location.
Occasionally they will decide a place is good, but too far and they’ll rent a bus or take the train. Today a teacher was telling me about their trip this week and they had gone by train. I asked if it was enjiri (遠尻), at first the teacher didn’t get it, but when I explained a little she laughed honestly; however, by definition a joke needing explanation is not a good joke. These characters are ‘far’ and ‘butt’, because they didn’t go far on their feet, but rather on their keesters. Of course, once they arrived at their destination, they had to crawl all over the mountainside collecting information.
My girlfriend came over tonight and made a wonderful dinner for three. Nobody else was here, just the portion was enough for three; which means there are leftovers for me to use when I make my lunch for the field trip with the third grade. It is very traditional Japanese food, so I will get astonished reactions from the teachers when we stop for lunch.