If I had a dime for everytime…
Japanese people often seem very repressed. Generally there is a feeling that foreigners live such wild, free, and enviable lives. Normally people just suffer silently while hoping to do something, but on a number of occasions I have encountered people willing to make bold suggestions. Every time I allow myself to get excited, regardless of the track record. Yes, the ideas rarely bear fruit.
Public schools seem particularly adept at this kind of gratification free gratification. “You should go swimming with the kids; they’d love it!”, is a phrase I’ve heard often, but is generally followed by back-pedaling when I start asking questions about which class, which day, what gear to bring, etc. Also, once I’m at a school and they know I don’t have my gear, they really toss the suggestions about. Today they even recommended I strip down to my undies and dive into the water. I was tempted to call their bluff, but don’t want to end up in the newspaper.
Other recommendations have been:
- go on the field trip
- go on the school overnight trip
- go to the campground
- participate in the ‘suspicious character’ safety drill
- allow someone to travel to America with me
It is always a joy when I find staff that wants to make the recommendations and is willing to let me follow them through. Many times, the reason for not following through is a feeling that it would trouble me too much, which is why most people won’t even toss the ideas out there.
My mind drifted off while writing this because I realized how many fun times I’ve had when we run with the ideas:
- cooking class with 5th graders
- ancient card game with 300 junior high students
- free talking with 4th graders to see how much they would try to learn in a non-standard teaching environment
- planting rice
- reading books to the students during break time
Here’s hoping for more brave follow through on the brave words.