Tuesday, May 09, 2006
my stay at the school for bad kids
First of all, here is the finished Sakura painting. I hope you like it. And my loving kindness and thanks to all of you who are reading my blog. I really appreciate it.
Now, about my stay with the bad kids. They aren’t al bad kids, by the way. Some of them have bad parents who couldn’t support them anymore. When I first got to the school I ran with all the kids. 8 boys, 3 girls. My inward smile immediately dropped when I noticed that half the kids were gone. All the 9nth graders had graduated. All my favorite kids were gone, away to there own towns across the prefecture, never to be seen again. Sadness. I ran, determined to move past my broken heart, for how can I dwell on such a loss when about 8 boys begin screaming my name as they see me approach the track. SO we ran, and then had class. One of the teachers found a small snake in the garden, called us all over to look, and then cut its head off. The snake still moved long afterward. He then scooped it up and tossed it into the riverbed. I felt pretty sad. Me, who watches where I step so as not to kill any bugs—how I have changed form my childhood! I used to kill doves and frogs with a bee-bee gun! Now I can’t even step on a bug.
Back to my story.
I did kendo for the first time after school. It was exhausting. Kendo is using a bamboo sword to hit each other in specific points on the body while yelling. This is "the true soul of Japan" or so says one of my teachers. Great fun, but exhausting. During my one-on-one with the kendo teacher, who was this old man ninja with incredible speed, I couldn't help bursting into laughter I was so tired and having so much fun. Then I played tennis with one of the other teachers. Today I am sore. Two new sports. Many new muscles. So, after sports I said goodbye to the teachers with the kids and we all headed to our dormitory. I took a picture of the kids walking up to the dorms, even though no pictures are aloud here to protect the kid’s identity. SO, we headed up to the dorm to take a bath and eat dinner.
Now, one thing you should know is that many Japanese boys are extremely perverted and curious. For example, in the changing room before Kendo practice, some of the boys got down on the ground to look up my boxer shorts. Or whenever I go to the bathroom in any one of my schools, kids will walk over and look down at my penis. Openly. Flat out, they look and then usually comment. This is common. In a way, it’s interesting that they don't have the homophobia we have in the west (or I have) where if I look at another man’s penis I am considered gay and/or a total pervert. So if I am curious about what someone's penis looks like I (or the western male) will either repress or even hate that curiosity, or peek secretly. It’s funny to go into a crowded restroom in the west. You see people peek all the time.
But, in Japan, in the Middle schools especially, if a guy or group of guys wants to see my penis, they just walk up next to me and look. No shame. No fear.
So, as you can imagine, when bath time came they all had a great time, except for one boy, the oldest. He didn't take a bath until we were all out so he could be alone. This 16 year old was sent back to this school because he was caught stealing. His little brother is also attends. They are from Matsuyama, the biggest city in Ehime. more about him later.
Oh, and these kids know the strangest sexual English words, like lube. dildo. G-spot, clitoris, even fellatio! The kids were asking me if I have ever played sex, and one boy, the youngest, 12 years old, looked at me and said, “do you fellatio?” I asked him how he learns these words and he walked over to the dormitory library and pulled out one of about three hundred manga (comic books) and open to a random page of two cartoon characters having sex. The punk kid with tatoos then hand jestured masterbation. The teacher present said nothing.
But, aside from all that, these kids are desperate for love. They crawl on me. Joke with me. Hold my had when we walk (imagine a 15 year old holding my hand as we walk up to the school!) I can tell they want a brother, or father, or friend. They must miss their parents. I sure do.
Or maybe they don’t. Maybe this is the best place they have ever been. The teachers here are all care free and kind (and the kids point, poke, and talk about their penises to! Like I said, it's totally normal here). Maybe they dont miss their families at all.
They loved saying my last name once they learned it. Tetorinton.
Before dinner the teacher who was staying at the dormitory that week (who has a family of his own) took up a father position and talked about what you should do if a girl likes you but you don't really like her. You can't be rude and mean because thet would hurt her feelings. I remember those talks from my parents.
After dinner, before we wrote in our journals, the kids one by one told what was good and what was bad about their day.
One of the kids (the one who said fellatio) insisted that I sleep inn his room. SO I did. I felt like Ender must have felt in Speaker For the Dead, walking into the fatherless family and immediately taking up the position, not just because the kids needed it, but because he needed it as well.
The five boys in my dorm each had strikingly different personalities. There was the quiet one who alternated between serious and stern to silly and playful about five times every hour. he was 13. There was the 15 year old punk with homemade tattoos on his arms and stretched holes in his ears, who also held my hand on our way to school and danced with me during free time (and asked me if I use lotion when I masturbate.) He also enjoyed beat boxing with me. I could tell he had practiced some of the beats I taught him last time.
The two youngest boys, one smart, clever, ("fellatio"), who was funny and hyper and confident, and then the other, less mature, less confident, more angry, who gets very frustrated when he loses games like uno. And the oldest boy, who spent a lot of the time looking at career magazines and house/apartment catalogues. He says he wants to work at a convenient store. He wrote me this note:
Today is Very Happy!!
Dance, Magic good
Thank you very much
During my stay I was constantly reminded of Josh, who works at a boys home. Maybe that is what I should do. It seems so necessary and helpful. These boys really need fathers, older brothers, positive friends. I guess I really want to be a dad. Or at least an older brother.
In the morning I woke up with the birds and the young boy’s face smiling. "Good morning!" We all cleaned the dorms and listened to bad Japanese dance music. The quite boy practiced guitar in his room, the older boy set the table for breakfast. During the day he will study a little, but will spend most of the time working around the school, in the garden, fixing things. I saw him shoveling stuff on one of the roofs with another teacher.
It was a little awkward at breakfast when I said I couldn't eat the ham and does anyone want it. The kids are fed meat three times a day here, and they are expected to eat everything on their plate (so i am to). For dinner I had half a chicken breast (I gave the other half to the boy next to me) and in the morning I was given ham. I couldn't eat it. the chicken was hard enough. adn the fish for lunch was grass, picking the meat and skin from teh bones. The kids all understood, knowing I am a vegetarian. The teacher, on the other hand, said ‘gambare’ which meant, “try harder.” I felt a huge blow, a hit of wind in my insides, but I would not submit to his authority and eat pig. So I said again, politely, Sorry, I can’t eat this. And I gave it to my friend next to me, who ate it happily. Now, here is a moral dilemma of sorts. Am I harming the boy next to me by giving him the meat? Am I disrespecting the school? teh teacher? Am I setting a bad example for the kids?
Also, with the milk, the watery cow puss. I ended up saying I had an allergy so they would get off my back.
Not a good note to end my story on. I had a great great fantastic time. Unfortunately, I won’t see these kids again until September. When I left, sadness came. I said goodbye to the kids playing Baseball and walked away from the school, into the country neighborhod. I could hear them yelling almost all the way to the buss stop. I felt a sadness that soon dissolved into the sunlight and mountains and one of the most beautiful walks I have ever had. Enjoy the pictures.
Posted by David at 2:24 AM
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