11.17.2006

International Day

Yesterday I participated in Day 1 of Hamada 1st Junior High School's International Day. Basically the largest JHS in Hamada invited all the local JETs to come and teach short workshops on cultural activities from their home countries. (I taught about Thanksgiving and American football.) In addition the 1st JHS kids also gave us a brief taste of elements of Japanese culture. Well I'd venture to say they gave me a little more than that.

1st JHS has one JET, a hell of a decent guy named Evan. His school is about 3 times the size of both of my schools put together. Being there yesterday made me thankful for how lucky I was in my school placement. However much I may complain about little things, I have an excellent group of kids who are extremely well-behaved. As is to be expected from a larger school, some of Evan's kids are real discipline cases. Apparently a few of them don't even go to class, they just roam the halls and do as they please, as long as they don't hurt anyone. Evan takes this all in stride, and I'm sure I'd get used to it if I were there everyday, but it seems kind of crazy to me.

It all stems from something I talked about in one of my first posts. In Japan education is considered a right, not a privilege. Hence, it cannot be taken away. They don't even give detentions or remove misbehaving kids from class because that would be depriving them of their precious education time. They do "punish" students in extended sessions of browbeating, but these usually take place after school and have almost no consequences outside of imparting a feeling of guilt. And I don't think the guilt thing even works on Evan's kids.

As an aside, the "bad kids" are, in reality, goofy as all hell. They call themselves "Yankees" which is sort of a catch-all term in Japanese for Japanese people who act foreign. They alter their uniforms so that their jackets are cropped high above the waist and their pants look like MC Hammer. A lot of them have extravagant haircuts or dye-jobs. Evan said they may look tough, but if you mess up their clothes or hair they fold like a card table. One of these kids came to the begining of my workshop only to introduce himself in English and tell me what a big penis he had. I told him that must be why he wears the parachute pants. I don't think he got the joke.

So yeah, I'm going back today and I'm actually looking forward to it. I did have a fun time yesterday, but I sure am glad I have my tiny mountain schools to retreat to when it's all over.

6 Comments:

Blogger Janet L. Wissmann said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:59  
Anonymous alex said...

fresh prince of the rising sun

16:25  
Anonymous Harry Potter And His Chambers of Secretions said...

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!

14:59  
Blogger tom said...

oh man, yankees. best ever. have you had a chance to play the wii yet?

and to continue the tradition of supplying you with awesome time wasting links i present you with:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgHK3P3zsv8

that user has a full set uploaded too, so awesome.

05:35  
Blogger darrell said...

The Wii isn't out here...you guys got it first this time!

17:39  
Anonymous Natalie said...

i LOLed at the parachute pants comment.

04:29  

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