Okinawa Sunrise

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The world of work

My curiosity about the Japanese school system has been peaked since my last post and the uniform sightings at all hours on all days of the week. I haven't yet established if school is indeed 7 days a week but I have made certain other discoveries which I profoundly regret I have no pictures to illustrate.
Finding 1) While girls uniforms adhere pretty strictly to the sailor moon house of style, the boys are not so...lucky? Some I have seen are swathed in something I can only compare to a darker collared Doctor Evil get-up! 4pm seems to release a parade of little Mussolinis onto the streets of Kintanakagusko or Chatan-cho!
Finding 2) Before they move into the head to toe uniforms of elementary and senior school, Japanese kindergardners wear colorful hats with flaps in the back that look like there were all heading for bee-keeper training school. I first saw a lot of pinks and blues and thought they were just to distinguish the boys from the girls but now the greens and the yellows have me very confused.
Finding 3) I can confirm that even if students are not in class all week, they are worked very hard. I sat in yesterday on what's called a cram school class. After traditional school, students head to extra private classes in a variety of subjects. I caught up with them after abacus class. Yes, abacus. Ancient counting device. I'm told, but can't confirm, that its important that children be able to compute large sums without the aid of a calculator. Not the fastest way, but the smarter way. I joined them for English class, natch, since I might take up the offer of teaching them when their current teacher is on maternity leave.

They were really too adorable for words and thought that I was a very curious large person who couldn't do something so simple as speak Japanese. I was surrounded and just got by asking over and over if they could speak English. My heart went out to one little boy who I think had one cram school class too many. His little head was bobbing up and down throughout the lesson and it seemed that little weights had been tied to his eyelids. He was trying sooooo hard to stay awake and failing hopelessly!

Stay tuned and I'll let you know if I accept the job. Other interviews are currently scheduled!


Blogger Ashley said...

Awwww, your school experience sounds precious! And to think they viewed you as a large person...I cringe to think what they'd think of seeing me walk down the street!

Good luck with the rest of the interviews! But somehow, I can see you as a teacher to little kids. I think you'd be great :)

12:05 PM  
Anonymous kristen said...

i love your stories and photos! keep them coming...get some pictures of the kids!

4:23 PM  
Blogger Gregory Williams said...

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10:27 PM  

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