This conversation took place this morning between Akiyama, Mrs. Betty and I in the teacher’s office:
Me: What’s wrong? You look upset…
Me: Stabbed? A girl got stabbed?? Where? Here?
Me: Wow! Did she die?
Mrs. Betty: (upon hearing the word “die”) Did who die?
Me: The girl who got stabbed.
Mrs. Betty: Got what???
Akiyama- A girl…stabbu ded another girl…they were both students.
Mrs: Betty: Stabbu ded??? What is stabbu ded?
Me: Sashimashita (stabbed)!
Mrs. Betty: (Says something to Akiyama in Japanese I can’t catch but my mind says: Oh goodness gracious me) Kowai! (It’s scary)
Me: Did she die?
Akiyama: No, she was taken to a Hospital and…she is still alive!
Me: Yep, she’s lucky! Why did the girl do it, anyway? Was she being bullied?
Akiyama: I heard she thought the other girl was too noisy or annoying or something…
Akiyama: How can you be so…? I mean, It’s shocking isn’t it?
Mrs. Betty: I’m not surprised at all. There are many students with mental problems in these schools…and most of them never get help. I’m only shocked it doesn’ happen more often.
Me: Me too.
Mrs. Betty: One day a student is going to bring a gun to school, or a…nanto ka…katana…how do you say katana in English?
Mrs. Betty: Yes, a sword, and really hurt somebody. Maybe another student. Maybe even a teacher!
Akiyama: (looking around, though all the known English speakers in the office were sitting right here) You shouldn’t say such things…so loud.
Mrs. Betty: Why not? 45 years I’ve been teaching and I’ve taught some crazy kids. I mean CRAZY! (she says something in Japanese…I hear: crazy as sprayed roaches) And I know some of them belong in a hospital or somewhere…not in a school with normal kids. So, maybe if that happens they will finally get serious about the mental health problems in the schools.
Me: Well, I hope I’m not the one that has to take a bullet or get beheaded for the cause…
Mrs Betty: Take a bullet?
Mrs: Betty: Eeeee! (says something…I hear: If that don’t put pepper in the gumbo!)
Me: (I make the universal sign for beheading, a chopping motion with my hand aimed at my neck) Uchi kubi ni suru.
Akiyama: Sokka. (I see.)
Mrs. Betty: (says something to me in Japanese. I hear: Tie me to an anthill and fill my ears with jam!) You know some strange Japanese words, Loco-Sensei, don’t you?
Me: What can I tell you? I’m from New York.