One of the more memorable stories the 3rd year textbook is called "A Mother's Lullaby." The pace at which each class goes through the book varies, but it seems most classes get to "A Mother's Lullaby" right about the beginning of the second trimester, just in time to clobber the new ALTs over the head.
A Mother's LullabyI was blindsided by this story shortly after arriving. Sitting at my desk in the teachers' room, I really struggled to control myself. Everything about everything was new and exciting and confusing, and this story reminded me of the more uncomfortable aspects of my living in Japan, the ones I don't like to think about.
A big, old tree stands by a road near the city of Hiroshima. Through the years, it has seen many things.
One summer night the tree heard a lullaby. A mother was singing to her little girl under the tree. They looked happy, and the song sounded sweet. But the tree remembered something sad.
"Yes, it was some sixty years ago. I heard a lullaby that night, too."
On the morning of that day, a big bomb fell on the city of Hiroshima. Many people lost their lives, and many others were injured. They had burns all over their bodies. I was very sad when I saw those people.
It was a very hot day. Some of the people fell down near me. I said to them, "Come and rest in my shade. You'll be all right soon."
Night came. Some people were already dead. I heard a weak voice. It was a lullaby. A young girl was singing to a little boy.
"Mommy! Mommy!" the boy cried.
"Don't cry," the girl said. "Mommy is here." Then she began to sing again.
She was very weak, but she tried to be a good mother to the poor little boy. She held him in her arms like a real mother.
"Mommy," the boy was still crying.
"Be a good boy," said the girl. "You'll be all right." She held the boy more tightly and began to sing again.
After a while the boy stopped crying and quietly died. But the little mother did not stop singing. It was a sad lullaby. The girl's voice became weaker and weaker.
Morning came and the sun rose, but the girl never moved again.
The revised New Horizon textbooks retain this story, and update it with truly depressing artwork. The new Sunshine textbooks, written by a different company, have an even more depressing Hiroshima story, which I won't go into now—maybe later if Shimane ends up choosing that textbook.
So in case any new ALTs lurk around this blog, you have been warned.