My first day. After a grand total of 4 hours of sleep, I went through a rather hurried training for so-called "A1" classes—more intensive classes that have year-round schedules—before rushing to a town to the west of Shinjuku I'd never seen before. I meant to do a little preparation before being thrown to the wolves (in this case, rather harmless-looking 6-9 year-olds, but wolves nonetheless, I tell you). A half-hour's prep time is not enough, and so I flubbed through as best I could. Kids give you the benefit of the doubt, at least until they turn nine or ten, so I was able to make do. My greatest pleasure in the kids department was a little girl who began to cry at the prospect of being left alone with me but who smiled and later yelled and laughed a little after I had her jumping around and turning in a circle with the other kids. I remember being the "sensitive" kid when I was young and I have a special place in my heart for the ones that, for some reason, start crying at the drop of a hat. Many people think they want attention or "are cry-babies," ie just lost causes—I know neither is the case, and my heart always goes out to them.

The next group of kids, a bit older, were also good kids, but I can tell I'll have to wow them next time or they may turn on me. I can honestly say I completely failed this lesson, though it didn't feel that way because they were, as I said, willing to give me the benefit of the doubt. Next time (two weeks from now, because of a fluke in the schedule) I will be better prepared, and deserving of that benefit(?).

The rest of the day was spent working with adults in more structured classes. This was more comfortable and I had been prepared by my training—once you learn a formula, you should be able to teach any lesson in the books they give us. I say "should" because I did a pretty poor job in training, but having real students making real mistakes is actually much easier to handle than the artificial setup required in training. I made mistakes, but they were far more manageable than the kids' lessons.

I'd better get some sleep—I've got more of the same tomorrow, as well as the longer, more intensive A1 lesson I wrote about earlier. I'll say, though, that I enjoyed today, I enjoyed overcoming the first hurdle, and after weeks of "I wonder if I can do this" alternating with "There is no way I can ever do this," I enjoy feeling that it might be possible.