A dear friend of mine surprised me with a care package recently, from someplace far away. Not really sure what to do, I decided to let my students figure it out for this week’s Article of the Week. Three snack foods and a pile of printed material later, one of the students said, “This is the best thing you’ve ever had us do!” Everyone showed genuine curiosity, argued whether the green tea flavored Kit Kat bars were tasty, if the rice crackers were salty enough, figured out what apps to download to help translate the pizza ads, shared advice about how to decipher the material. Their assignment was to reflect on the experience and write ten questions, try to answer five, and describe the food. We’ll see what they come up with. Many of the students got pretty absorbed in the translation process, and I urged them to think bigger and smaller, and we had some discussions about what that meant. Younger students (8th graders) seemed amazed at how impossible the language appeared, and I encouraged them to think about how they learned their own language. I liked seeing some head-scratching going on. Domo arigato, Angela-san.




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