Noisy Ninja

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Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it. The seventh grade English teacher informed me last week that there would be a class trip this Thursday. Being my normal day to teach them, this threw a wrench into the works.

Sometimes when some activity interferes with my teaching schedule, they just tell me that we can’t have class that day. Not a bad system if you aren’t a workaholic. When this happens I either prep for other classes, study, or type in my blog. The teacher’s suggestion this time; however, was to try juggling the class schedule around. Already, I feel like there is too much chaos in my schedule and the juggling usually ends out not working very well, so I always try to discourage this process. An idea popped into my head and I let it spill.

Why don’t I go on the trip with the students? Even after I said it, it still sounded like a good idea. The teacher kept asking if I wanted to do that. She was either meaning, “We’d rather you didn’t…” or “Do you know what you are getting yourself into?” Several days later all of the meetings needed to receive permission to allow me along had occurred, and I was approached with the hesitant message that I could go along, but would be responsible for train fare and lunch. The Vice Principal delivered the message to me and sounded a little worried that I would back out because of the expense. Providing him relief, I gave him a very clear affirmation.

We went to Ueno City (上野市), home of the ninja. Six mandatory meetings related to the trip were, or will be attended by the students. Each han (班), ‘lunch group’, in each kumi (組), ‘class’, was required to write a complete schedule of how they would spend their time. There were four locations approved for visiting and four time slots to fill. There were scheduled announcement sessions where all of the groups must come together, line up, and crouch down to listen to a few speakers talk about how things would be executed.

At the mandatory meetings they had also discussed how things would be executed and, at school, everyone received the official execution report. The report included a list of what supplies must be brought and a severe statement that nothing else must be brought. A restriction of 500 yen or less of pocket change was specified. Students were not supposed to buy anything from vending machines and couldn’t buy any food. With a keitai strap running 350 – 450 yen, there wasn’t a lot of flexibility to buy gifts.

Execution amounted to a forced march to each location (which were quite spread out around town) using a poor map, followed by a quick walk through the locations (no time for studying what was there). At each location, each group had to gather together, accumulate their money, and have one member pay the fee for everyone.

Tomorrow they will start writing reports about what they experienced. I chose ‘experienced’ over ‘learned’ since there was little time for study. Locations included: a museum about ancient floats used to transport gods in a parade; a garden where the famous haiku poet, Basho, would study; an old schoolhouse; and, of course, the ninja training house. I definitely wanted more time at the garden to explore. Also, I spotted an old school book that was edited by GHQ in 1945. I was trying to read what was stricken out by our occupation forces, but didn’t have much time; mostly it looked like some sentences about a girl carrying flowers.

Afterwards the students started getting very boisterous, to the point where several fights were breaking out and the participants pretty much ignored teacher interference. One boy and girl were fighting off and on. Lots of slapping, pinching, punching, and even eye-poking. The train ride was exhausting. Now that I have experienced this once, I won’t ask next time. I am curious about the ninth grade trip, usually to Disneyland, but I don’t think they would approve my participation.

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3 Responses to “Noisy Ninja”

  1. kevenker Says:

    Eye poking?!? Crikey, they don’t fool around. These days, that kind of stuff would get you expelled here.

    It seems strange some of the restrictions they had. Why 500 円? Do they search the kids beforehand to make sure they are carryin only 500 円 and not 600? 🙂

    There is an odd combination of order and disorder it seems…

  2. びっくり Says:

    600 yen would be enough to buy a small gift for yourself AND something for your parents. We wouldn’t want any nonsense like that. There is no need to search the kids beforehand. If a child breaks the rules the other kids are supposed to harangue them endlessly and then properly report the incident at the next checkpoint. (AKA, tattling is expected and required behavior.)

    I typed an entry titled Land of Contradictions a long time ago, but didn’t post it because of its ability to offend. Your comment about order and disorder hits the nail on the head. We constantly have the extremes and rarely the middle.

    My post was a little unfair: in the document explaining the trip the main purpose was listed as teaching the children proper group behavior. I think the trip definitely taught how they are supposed to behave in group activities.

  3. Drunk Life Dream Death « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] (忍者) castle. It is also where Basho (芭蕉) wrote many of his haiku (俳句), as wrote in the Noisy Ninja post. Hattori lived from 1541 to […]

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