Common Questions at Elementary Schools

A few common questions elementary school students are bound to ask you.

Today let’s discuss how to answer common questions by elementary kids.  I had many elementary schools that I went to every week while in Japan.  I loved it for many reasons: the kids, the coffee, and the chance to brush up on my answers to the same questions asked over and over again.  (I really did like the coffee) For the benefit of the future elementary school goer, I’ll attempt to list the most common questions with the most correct answers.  Let’s have a look:  

The Top 9 Questions:
(sorry I am too lazy to think of 10.)  

#1. How old are you? Now, this has two correct answers, 天才 ten sai (genius) and うるさい urusai (loud, rudely noisy).  Of course while answering, you should emphasize the  さい sai part.  さい sai also means ~ years old . Another good one is – くさい kusai (smelly)

#2. How old is your brothers’ best friend’s dog? I admit this is a rarity and probably should not be included in this survey, but for the answer along with all age related questions see #1

#3. Where do you live? This opens the playing field, if you know what I mean.  Among the common answers are, 宇宙 uchuu outer space , 北極 hokkyoku The North Pole and ぼくは遊牧民です。 boku wa yuubokumin desu. I am a nomad.

#4. How are you? おげんき ですか? ogenki desu ka? Being as that げんき (genki, energy) and べんぴ benpi (constipation) sound similar, you, as a gaijin-who-doesn’t-know-better, can have fun.  
Answer choices are: 1. (pretend you heard べんぴ benpi and say in a surprised voice ” べんぴ !?!” (constipated?!?)
2.   はい、べんぴです。 あなたは? hai, benpi desu. anata wa? (yes, I am constipated, and you?)  
3. with a kind of hazukashii voice admit that you are べんぴ benpi and go on to explain in detail last nights curry.  You can also take the offense with the useful question, ” おべんぴですか? ”  o benpi desu ka? *** a small warning:  DON’T say this to your boss – not even under the gaijin-who-doesn’t-know-better guise! Actually, I don’t recommend the use of this at all.

#5. Are you married? or Do you have a girlfriend/ boyfriend? We all get this one.  My advice is to answer truthfully and then throw the question back at the student.  That poor kid will be hazukashii ed by his fellow classmates ’til lunch time.

#6. How many pets do you have? While seemingly thinking to yourself, hold out your right hand with all five fingers upright (meaning the number five).  With your left hand pat your stomach and lick your lips as if you just had a scrumptious meal while folding each finger in turn (5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1) until you have made a fist (meaning the number zero).  Then look up at the students and answer, ‘zero.’

#7. What is your 特技 tokugi (special skill)? Of course this varies from person to person.  The simplest skill would be いきをする iki o suru (to breathe) or a more complex feat may require super human abilities such as 以心伝心 ishin denshin (telepathy).  I rest on my ゆびずも う yubizumou (thumb wrestling) abilities. In short, it depends on one’s individual talents. 

#8. Can you use chopsticks? The one question that seemingly every Japanese person saves for meeting gaijin.  <from Gaijin comic strip> Gaijin revenge: 外人の復讐 gaijin no fukushuu Wait until they are eating with a knife and complement them on how well they use it.

#9. Do you like natto? The correct answer is, “No.”

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