My Best Teaching Is One-on-One

一対一が僕のベスト

Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.

当然、先生方と共同レッスンも、特別レッスンの指導もします。

But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.

しかし、僕の一番意味あると思っている仕事は、講義が終わってから、
一対一と
個人的にその課題の勉強を応援することです。

It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.

まあ、コンピュータプログラムにすると、得意先の方に出来上がった製品を体験させるようなことと思います。
役に立たない製品はまだ製品になっていないと同様です。

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What was the Thriller?

 [This is part of a meta-thread on Love and Romance.]

The 8th grade (middle school second grade in Japanese) English teacher I work with this year used Michael Jackson's Thriller in his relax-before-summer classes last week. (Summer starts a couple of days early this year.)

I was watching, and remembering dancing to it way back when. And I was thinking, man, this is chauvinistic.

Well, okay, it was Michael Jackson, struttin' his stuff, being his version of the alpha male. I would have liked it better if his date had been dancing with the ghouls during the credits. (Maybe she was? Too dark to tell. Who was she, anyway? Ah. Ola Ray, and, no she wasn't dancing in the credits. Darn.)

Working through the lyrics,
Cause this is Thriller Night
isn't bad grammar after all. I remember the lyrics always felt bumpy in my head, but I don't remember whether I figured out back then that the lyrics were saying it was thriller night at the theater. Half-memories there.

The Japanese translation we were working from missed the jokes, and plays it, near as I can read it, as straight horror. The line,
To terrorize y'alls neighborhood
is translated with the familiar form of "you", kimi, but ignores the southern sense of neighborliness in the word. (And Vincent Price did such a good job slipping into the drawl and back out.)

And then there's the give-away stanza,

And whosoever shall be found

without the soul for getting down

must stand and face the hounds of hell

and rot inside a corpse's shell.

that just gets completely lost. The "getting down" is completely missed, and the rest is mixed into other places, as if the translator were looking for some relative/conjunctive pronoun and reference that just isn't there.

It isn't there because this is it, the reference, right here. This is the verse the whole thing pivots on, the lines that bear out Michael Jackson's initial assertion that it isn't intended to encourage a belief in the occult.

David Bowie said it more directly, but this is what the whole video was all about:
Let's dance.
And the difficulty that young men have getting that invitation into words.

Well, one of the problems with horror as a genre is that it is usually misunderstood. Much like the rest of art.

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