Thursday, September 11, 2008

March of the Children

I have timed my journey to work to coincide with an epic event; the March of the Children. There are no yellow busses in Aomori. So how do the children get to school? The old fashioned way: THEY WALK! Talk about barbaric. How dare the Japanese force their children to travel on foot to school. Perhaps this explains why I can’t spot any over-weight children. I can honestly count on one hand the ‘fat kids’ I’ve seen at Aomori Koko (High School). How dare the Nihon-jin (Japanese) be so fit! Who are we supposed to make fun of? You see, one would have to be a real lazy son of a gun to be packing the pounds in Japan. With all the rice, and daily exercise, it’s no wonder they put America to shame.

Moving on to my original point, let’s return to the wondrous ‘March of the Children.’ I thoroughly enjoy strutting along the streets with this parade of youngsters. Every morning, around 7:00am they begin. They will start their journey by putting on their cute synchronized outfits and if a boy, a nice little baseball cap. They look so tiny under the weight of their gigantic square backpacks. Japanese book-bags are stupid. They just look so lame. Our (America’s) book bags are far superior with their leather bottoms and endless compartments and colors.

Like all youngsters, Japanese children are playfully innocent. You’ll see an older kid politely bullying another child or little girls giggling in packs as they waddle along. Then it breaks my heart to see the loner...he’s in the back of the parade, usually with his head down low picking a winner in his nose or anus.

I adore the childrens’ reactions when I sidle up behind them. Their jaws instantly plummet to the ground as their eyes open wide. Little girls are more prone to throw me a nice little ‘Ohaiyo gozaimasu (Good morning).’ Though boys remain conservative and prefer to practice their stare-down tactics. If I say ‘konnichiwa,’ I won’t hear it returned until about 100 yards later when a disgruntled ‘konNIchiWA’ is muttered beneath their swollen breath.

The parade is not complete without the high schoolers. They have technologically progressed their methods of transportation and ride in on bicycles. Be careful, for they are wheeled warriors. They will not hesitate to run your sorry behind out of the way. They’re usually so tired from staying at school past 7pm only to study until early morning. Girls wear blue dresses with straps over a white short sleeve shirt. Smart girls wear long dresses, and dumb girls wear short dresses. Consequently, being at the top academic school in the ken (prefecture) we rarely see ‘skin.’ This is good. However, at the other schools my god do those skirts rise. I’m sure the old men don’t mind checking out all that leg. On the other side, the boys adorn a modestly professional white sleeve button down shirt and black slacks.

It wouldn’t be a school morning though without crossing guards. Yes, Japan has crossing guards. But...Japan is smart. They don’t pay people to simply stand at a corner only to walk in front of children. Japan utilizes its team-oriented culture and gathers volunteers. It’s hilarious watching a thirty old man handsomely dressed in a stellar three-piece suit helping youngsters cross a puddle-ridden street in the rain.

So if one wants to kidnap children, come to Japan between 7:00am and 8:00am. They are waiting for you!

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