I get asked A LOT of questions here. Which is great, because it means that the students (and teachers) are genuinely curious! But sometimes, it gets to be a little too much. I feel like I’m constantly being interviewed, and there is some imaginary pressure to always say the “right” answer–an answer that students understand, an answer that other people can relate and respond to. (For instance, I’ve stopped responding completely truthfully to questions about my music preferences. No one in Japan knows Ludovico Einaudi and OneRepublic, so conversations die quickly when I mention them… but all my students know Lady Gaga and Beyonce). In some ways, though, the barrage of questions is my own fault, seeing as my self-introduction lesson worksheet includes an area where students can ask me any question.
So, the most popular queries are as follows:
- Do you like sports?
- What Japanese food do you like?
- What do you like about Japan?
- Do you speak Japanese?
- Why did you come to Japan?
- What music do you like?
- What is your favorite movie?
- When is your birthday?
- Do you know ____ J-pop group/anime/Japanese celebrity?
However, one question takes the cake. It’s the most frequently-asked question, the one that all my female students (and apparently half my male students) are dying to know the answer to:
Aside from the really popular questions, I’ve also been asked a few gems. In no particular order, these are a few of my favorites–some hilarious, and some incredibly thought-provoking–asked by real Japanese high-school students (and I’ve copied their exact question without fixing spelling or grammar):
- “Do you like America bison?”
- “What is your favorite UNESCO World Heritage Site?” (This one was asked in front of the class, and admittedly, it threw me for a moment.)
- “What is a secret of your beautiful?” (I cracked up at this one. Maybe it’s Maybelline?)
- “What is a good point and a bad point of America?”
- “Who is the most famous person in your country?” (I ended up giving four answers, listing the most famous people in politics, in the music industry, in history, and in Hollywood).
- “Why very cute?”
- “Why you are here?”
- “What is differences between high school students in Japan and high school students in America?”
- “Which is more difficult for you Tennis or Soccer?” (This sounded like a challenge.)
- “Do you like baseball player? I play baseball.” (This sounded like a hint.)
- “Your brother have girlfriend?” (And this one just made me burst out laughing.)