The Japanese Science Wizard

I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge* preparing for my the following day’s lesson, when the school science teacher came up to me and said “ペット、ペット、まってください.” (Pet. Pet. Please wait). I waited, expecting him to bring back a snake, spider, lizard, or something creepy.
*Japan Guy Brownie Points if you can tell me what “teacher’s lounge” is in Japanese.

When he returned, he wasn’t carrying an animal at all, but a glass vial with a dark colored liquid inside. “みて” (Mite-Look) he said as he showed me the glass bottle a bit more closely. I then saw this strangle looking shape come out of the oily dark water and slowly start moving. “Sore wa nan desu ka??” I said in disbelief, because I had never seen this odd-looking creature before.

The teacher smiled, and showed me that it wasn’t an animal at all, but a trick he was doing with magnets and a magnetic liquid. Magnetic liquid? It sounded very James Bond-ish/Mission Impossible to me. I jokingly (semi-seriously) asked one of my fellow teachers to drink the liquid. In my mind, I figured if they drank enough of this stuff, and I had strong enough magnets, I could probably be a real-life Magneto or something. On the flip-side, I guess drinking that stuff would probably send the other teacher to the ICU, which probably wouldn’t be so much fun.

This is one of several things that this teacher has shown me. There was another activity he did with the students making this cookie using a sweetener that was far sweeter than sugar. I’ve seen him make basic circuits with the kids, fans, slime, and some other weird substance that solidifies as you pour it. VE-RY cool stuff.

The experiments I’ve seen in his class are the kinds of things that make me remember why I loved science so much when I was in elementary school and high school. There were just so many cool things to do. The coolest experiment I ever did was making a shoebox radio back in the 7th grade through this program called “Science By Mail.” I actually had to walk around touch copper wire to different metal surfaces to get any kind of reception (most of it was just static), but it the radio DID work. I mean how freakin’ cool is that. I can’t think of too many kids who wouldn’t want to do something like that. Sigh, I miss those days. Those were the times before I found out that science had a dark side for me, that there were science disciplines that I was going to find gut-wrenchingly complex, disciplines that I was going to find a little bit dry/dull, and ones that would knock me on my proverbial ass once I got to college.

But as for today, I enjoyed reminiscing on the fun, light hearted side of science. Mizunoe Sensei, thank your for showing me some awesome experiments, I know the students must love you for it.

See you tomorrow,

Donald Ash


P.S.-What is the absolute coolest science experiment you ever remember doing?

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  • Kurt

    せんせい きゅうそくじょ

    How bout dat brownie point?

    • Donald Ash

      The brownie point is yours my friend! A bonus brownie point if you can tell me what “staff room” is in Japanese. :)

  • Kurt

    しょくいんしつ of course. Unless you go for the katakana version which I think is also acceptable…スタッフルーム.

    Good JLPT practice.


    • Donald Ash

      Bonus brownie points awarded to Kurt. You’re the man!

  • Have you ever heard of “Denjiro-sensei”?
    He’s the most famous and fun “science teacher” in Japan!
    I’m sure your students know him.

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