…and by my kids I mean junior high students. All 12 of them. And not all 12 in one class, all 12 in the entire school, the only one on the island. Did I mention Chibu is small?
I eat oatmeal every day for breakfast. Partly because we bought two huge bags of it off of The Flying Pig and I have to eat it every day to get rid of it, and partly because I actually like oatmeal. My relationship with the mushy brown stuff has always been a rocky one. There were times in my childhood when I couldn’t get more than a few bites down and there were times when I couldn’t get enough of it (particularly the Quaker Oats apple cinnamon flavor).
So when my kids asked me what I eat for breakfast every day, I was hard pressed to describe exactly what oatmeal is. After many failed attempts in Japanese and in English (and plenty of faces that read “ewww, that sounds disgusting”), I decided to bring in a picture of prepared oatmeal and show them the dry oats used to make it in an effort to explain the joy that is waking up to a hot bowl of oatmeal.
…that plan backfired. Not only did they grimace at the picture of my morning breakfast, they also didn’t know what to make of the whole oats that I put in a plastic baggie to show them. They were so skeptical about the oats that without thinking, I opened up the bag and ate a few, trying to reassure them and saying “see, it’s good, you can eat it!” I then proceeded to pour some of the dry Quaker oats into my hand and go around the room, offering each kid a few to try.
…they all ate raw oatmeal. Sorry JET Programme. We’re supposed to be giving these kids a good impression of foreigners, and here’s the only one (two counting Khoa) on the entire island making them eat nasty, dry oats.
So my kids’ first introduction to oatmeal was a grainy photo (get it, grainy :P) of my morning meal, hastily taken before going off to work, and not so appealing, unflavored, uncooked oats. One of these days I’m going to bring in all the fixin’s (you know, milk, cinnamon, sugar, raisins) and serve them some proper oatmeal. But for now, my kids are left with the impression that their crazy gaijin sensei eats a weird, unappetizing breakfast every morning.