Saturday, February 02, 2008


Who Man-boo?

My first lesson at my new school, back in December, was with class 1-2. And it was hellish.

Since then, I've got a lot more used to them (and they to me) and it's a barrel of laughs at the moment.

For example, last week a student demonstrated mastery of the possessive pronoun "mine" by leaping onto a desk and loudly declaring ownership of his own penis.

I held my poker face for a fraction of a second, then burst into shameless laughter.

This week, I was drawing a picture of Homer Simpson on the board whilst explaining to students why I always say "Y'ello?" when answering the phone. One of the students jumped up and said he wanted to draw something.

Go ahead, I said.

He drew a pig's face on the blackboard. Very cute.

A second student expressed a wish to doodle. I assented and he drew a couple of lines around the pig's face, leaving the impression that the pig's face was on a bird's-eye-view picture of a canoe, or else peeping out from between some curtains.

A third student came up, further lines were added, and the canoe now looked more like a banana.

And then a fourth student came up and did a couple of horizontal lines.

And I realised that what I was looking at was a pig's head sticking out of a woman's... well, sticking out of a woman, at any rate.

I am rather quicker on the uptake than my Japanese teaching counterpart- an intellectual distinction which I suspect I may share with the vast majority of multicellular organisms- so it was a few moments before she realised the significance of the picture on the board, and by that time I had pretty much lost all pretence of self-control.

"Man-bu!" shouted the students. "Man-BOOOO!!!"

And, unfamiliar though I was with the term, thanks to the picture on the board I was able to determine that, on some bizarre level, it meant a pig's head sticking out of a woman.

And I was truly grateful for the knowledge.

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