At shōgakkō ichinensei (first grade elementary), Iva’s math is still far from, say, complex linear and quadratic equations, although during this instance, I had rather wished that it were.
“Can you help me with this, Daddy?” Iva told me, while doing her math homework. Unusual that she would come to me with an unfinished work, as I was usually confined to rechecking what she had already done, and she just wanted to brag at how she had done everything by herself.
Any mathematical equation would have worked fine for me but what Iva was asking about was sporadic math in Nihongo.
“Google Translate, don’t fail me,” I thought to myself.
But alas, Google had misfired at the onset:
“Context clues, don’t fail me,” I prayerfully whispered, as Iva and I punched in our guesses for her homework.
“Honey, let me know if Sensei corrects our answer, so I’ll know better next time.
“Okay, Daddy. Thank you for helping me,” Iva said as she began returning her stuff in her randoseru – that infamous leather backpack that Japanese kids walked around with on schooldays.
“If that were in English, it would have been easier,” was what I muttered, just sounding defensive.
“Well, you did your best.”
Thanks, honey, for recognizing how much I had squeezed my survival Nihongo for this, that I will always be there for you.
By the way, I found out that keisan in this instance is not Mr. Kei, per Google, but the Nihongo for calculation, and tajishan is addition. So, “3 + 2” and “1 + 2” are examples of what you’ve always known: addition.
Truly, AS LONG AS THERE IS MATHEMATICS (and Japanese!) THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PRAYER IN SCHOOL (and at home!).