Some people say that the best takoyaki in Kanto was served at the little stand outside of Ashigara station, a hop skip and a jump from our “mansion.”
It was 1995 and I was teaching 7th graders at my favorite school. Jamie and I had friends in town, and they were visiting this day, along with a film crew from the Ministry of Education who were filming a video for teaching English in junior highs around the country. It was a crowded room.
In the kind of call and repeat exercises that were both of limited pedagogical value and essential to most lessons, and in a moment of perversity, I had them all shout out with verve “I love octopus balls!”
Some of those students are now in college, and I sometimes imagine them meeting some random exchange student and, in an effort to wow them with their proficiency, leaning over and saying in a conspiratorial tone “I love octopus balls.” I know I must have violated some sacrosanct student/teacher trust there, but I think it may have been worth it.