bya Gabrielle at 7:21 AM

Don’t ask a question if you already know the answer.”

Ah, I have heard that statement many of times, but yet I don’t follow it.

Today in class we were going over an exercise that was talking about Japanese food. I thought hey, what the heck, while on the subject I’ll ask how they feel about Japan. Other students have asked me if I liked Japan, Korea(they never mentioned north or south) and what I thought about 9/11. I mean, if they can ask – why can’t I? So, I did.

“Do you guys like Japan.”

Usually, I have to explain myself, but this time they understood completely.

“NO! I hate Japan!” Emma said ecstatically. She really said it in bold italics, too.

Although I half expected it, I was taken aback just a little. Maybe it had to do with the bold italics thing. “Ok, Monica, what about you? Do you like Japan?”

“NO! I hate Japan too!”

At this point in the conversation I thought, well, I’ve already taken the plunge, I might as well take a swim while I’m at it.

“Why?” Ah, as a teacher you have to love this question.

“Because . . . because . . . a long time ago,” Emma started, but her tongue couldn’t spit out what she wanted to say in English. I could see the emotion behind her eyes and could all most hear the Chinese version of what she wanted to say bouncing in between her ears. “Because,” she said, lifting up her hands. She balled one into a fist and left the other one flat and open. I knew what was coming. It was pretty obvious. How else is one supposed to express hate and war without being able to verbalize it? And then it happened. She started pummeling her open hand with her fist. “Because,” she said, “Because.”

They were both quiet for a minute. They were frustrated that they couldn’t tell me why exactly, but I told them that that was OK and that I understood.

“Do you like Japan?” Emma asked.

Well, I don’t believe in lying so I told them the truth. “Yes.” Both of their eyes squinted together and their lips got very tight. If you know what look I’m talking about, which I’m sure some of you do, then you should be able to picture that image rather well. It was the look of mixed anger and disappointment, that I, their teacher, could in any way shape or form like their supposed enemy. It only lasted a second though.

It was as though they thought they had made me angry or something. I’m not sure what their logic was, but after giving me that horrid look, Emma perked up with a big smile on her face and said, “We like America. America is good.”

She gave me the thumbs up to demonstrate how good good was.

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