Did you know that during every 24-hour period Osaka changes from the second to third most populated city in Japan--and then back again?*
Today we did Osaka trivia, because Azumanga Daioh arrived, and it has a character from Osaka. She's treated like a freak by her classmates because of where she comes from. What's interesting is that since most Americans know little about Osaka, the translators had to find a way to convey the character's weirdness. So they gave her a mafioso big city way of talking (i.e. Fuhgeddaboudit, and how you doin?).
I had the kids read the relevant section and then tell me their impressions of Osaka. They figured it was full of gang bangers. Then I framed some trivia questions to give them a better picture--it's actually more of an industrial town. And interestingly, at least one reviewer opines that Osaka, being in the South of Japan, is more like the Southern part of the US. In that case, it would have made sense to give the character from Osaka a southern accent. Which would totally change the vibe.
The kids' prompt for this week was then to rewrite the scene, making the Osaka character from wherever they wanted--the South, Providence, the moon. I made mine from a library. Doesn't get much freakier than that, right?
*Since so many people go into the city to work, the daytime population is 3.7 million, but the nighttime population is 2.6 million. So during the day it's the second largest city in Japan, and at night it's the third.