Monday, February 23, 2009

So long, and thanks for all the washcloths.

My student Mayu is quitting English lessons after three years because she's getting older and starting cram school. Cram school takes a lot of time. I'm not offended, because I know that she loves me and that her mom likes me too. She came in a shy little mouse, not knowing any English at all, and now she's so awesome, reading and writing with confidence and ease. She's refused to have any other teacher as long as she's been at the school, and her mom has more than once expressed her appreciation. Sometimes kids quit, and they give a reason to be nice, like they're starting baseball or are busy with other things. Really, they aren't happy with the lessons or the school for some reason and want to quit. I don't think that's the case with Miss M.

So her mom came in the other day and told me that Mayu will be quitting after one more lesson. She gave me her sincere thanks and etc., then gave me a small package, giving me the standard line for giving a small gift like this: "kimochi dake", or "It's just my feeling". There's probably a better way to translate that, but there it is, literally.

Later I opened it, and inside was a Burberry washcloth. This isn't the first time I've received a gift like this, and I know what it's supposed to represent: it's a small, but posh, token of thanks. It's just a washcloth (which most women and some men carry around at all times to, like, dry their hands after using the washroom), but it's an EXPENSIVE washcloth. A designer washcloth.

Still, I can't help thinking...
"It's just my feeling... that you should wipe your nose."
"It's just my feeling... that you should wash your face."
"It's just my feeling... that you should, you know, CLEAN yourself more."

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