Living an hour away from work is terribly inconvenient, so I moved back to Tsu; but, sometimes it has it’s advantages. Being a teacher to two thousand students can often make one feel like a rock star. When I go out shopping or dining, it is common to be spotted by someone who knows me. Generally I am OK with being spotted and even greeted for a short conversation; however, when things get closer to home privacy becomes an issue.
We chose a home that is two minutes from one of my schools which guarantees that I will be discovered by my students. Even so, my hope was to delay that discovery as long as possible. Having kids showing up at strange times wanting attention could get tiring. Although I could walk to this school, I go as far as to ride my bike so when the students see me, they might think I was riding from the station as I did before.
My first time being seen was putting out the plastic recycle a couple weeks ago. For some reason I have to walk half a kilometer to put out recyclable trash. Two students walking to school were heading straight toward me, and their eyes went wide as saucers when they realized who I was. I greeted them politely – as I would if we met in the hall at school – and continued on. I returned to the house on a different street, hoping the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ saying carries some truth. One of them is very clever and I guess some wheels have been turning in her mind.
Meeting my wife at the nearest grocery store also resulted in my being identified, but even when I was living in Ise, I would sometimes poke in their after work, so I don’t think this outed me.
Behind our house is a narrow rice field. On the other side of the rice field is the back of a “maisonette”, which I would translate as townhome. Basically there are four little back yards visible from where we park and dry our laundry. One family has three cute and generally well-behaved children who help hang out their laundry. Several times I have observed them working away and thought what a desirable family they have. Well, Saturday they became my official third sighting.
I was hanging out our laundry and suddenly I heard my name in an exclamatory tone. The oldest daughter is one of my third graders and the son is a first grader. He was the one who spotted me. Sunday morning we could hear all sorts of excited chatter coming in our kitchen window. Even though I hadn’t been outside, the boy kept running to the back yard, pointing across the rice field and announcing my presence. I will teach his class on Wednesday this week and his sister on Friday. I guess at least two hundred of my students will be aware of my location by the end of the week.