Monday, July 7, 2014


More often than not, I witness ridiculously heartwarming situations that restore my faith in humanity.
Here’s one example:

As I taught the 2-1 class at Ginoza Elementary words to describe the weather (i.e. sunny, rainy, cloudy, etc.), I noticed that Kota, a special needs student, was in attendance. This wasn’t a problem because I have taught him before, but I hoped the lesson would not be too difficult for him. After I reviewed the words, I asked the students to push back their desk and make a circle with their chairs in order to play Fruit Basket. 

Fruit Basket is a game where the students sit in a circle with one person standing in the middle as “It.” After handing out word (in this case, weather) cards, the person who’s “It” calls out a card; for example “sunny.” Those who have “sunny“cards have to stand up and switch sits with the other students who also carry a sunny cards, while the person who’s “It” tries to take an empty seat. Eventually, one person is left without the seat and that person becomes the new “It”. You can also yell out “Fruit Basket,” and watch all the students switch chairs. However, I always eliminate that option because the students would rather say “Fruit Basket” than practice the vocabulary. 

Before long, Kota was left standing the middle, visibly upset as the new “It.” I tried to reassure him, as I slowly reviewed the vocabulary words. However, another boy called out to Kota. I assumed that the boy was going to give up his seat so that Kota would no longer be “It.” Instead, the sitting boy, held Kota’s hands and asked, “何がいい?” or “What is ok? Sunny? Rainy? Cloudy…” The list continued as Kota fiercely shook his head but when the boy said “Snowy,” Kota nodded and the boy instructed him to loudly say the word and run. Kota said the word and was able to find a sit in order to avoid becoming ‘It’ once again.

The interaction between the two really pulled on my heartstrings. It was really touching to see a student helping his special needs friend that I couldn’t help but wonder if that sort of exchange would happen in the U.S. 

(By the way, it's not a secret to his classmates that Kota is a special needs student. They all know and understand that he is limited. Even then, he is not shunned or excluded by any means. What happened to "the nail that sticks out, gets hammered in" philosophy?)

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