Sunday, March 29, 2009

peace fam,

I went to Starbucks in Matsuyama with the hip-hop rapper Shing02, and there we discussed Japanese and American views towords public bathing, respecting personal space, homo/hetero sexuality, drug laws, and the overall moods of rebellion vs. conformity, individuality vs. membership, modern vs. traditional, disrespect vs. respect. America vs. Japan. Shingo is in a particularly integral position because he has lived in vanguard California for the past 15 years as a Japanese Artist. Our conversation was caffeinated and fantastic. Notes coming soon.

The other day, while eating lunch with some third graders, I was taking apart my empty milk carton in a way different than theirs, and they were saying, “no no, you can't do it that way! Do it this way!’ And I just kept doing it my way, and the kids at my table were laughing and saying “No, no, stop! Sensei, he's doing it wrong!” having a great time, and then, one of the other kids in the classroom who looked quite grumpy blurted out, “Moh, iiyo! Jibun no yarikata demo ii shi.” Which means: “Enough already! Doing things your own way is ok too.”

Deep wisdom entered into the classroom. I stopped unfolding my milk and asked him to repeat what he just said. The boy looked to his teacher confused, but she and I were on the same page. “What you just said about letting others do it their own way..that was wonderful. Say it again, please,” she said.
So he did, and the teacher and I both said to him: “Very good. Nice idea.”

I finally finished unfolding my milk and the little girl next to me held up her empty carton, pushed her thumbs into the center of the top and magically had the thing unfolded in two seconds.
“See? This way is faster.” She said.
“Wow! I see. Thank you for teaching me! You are also a very good teacher.”
Moral of the story: Respecting that there is a rainbow of ways to do things is good, but that doesn't mean that all ways are equally efficient.
All is light, and some lights are faster than others.


Benjamin (Berlin) said...


very nice moment you experienced with the third graders. Would you agree that the Japanese group-culture has begin to open up a little, maybe, due to your teaching? At least at the school you are teaching.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Cheers Ben

Terri said...

yup. i still want to have your babies.

David said...

Greatness follows you everywhere you go David!

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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