Originally published September 6, 2022
In December I had admired an art reception hosted by the special needs school. Though it shares a building with Tokunoshima High School (easily done with the declining population vacating a shocking percentage of the classroom space here), the school belongs to an independent organization located on the neighboring Amami island.
Now they welcomed me again, this time for a painstakingly prepared show-and-tell English lesson. With the staff diligently interpreting my more obscure statements, I proffered my self-introduction slides. Then I settled in for the main event: charades, with the students challenging me to guess.
I treasured my time with them, touched by the staff’s devotion to their charges and the students’ enthusiasm for crossing the language barrier. “I like English!” one boy announced, beaming. His friend, who relies on sign language, nonetheless starred with his superb miming — which only goes to show that communication amounts to more than words.