Friday, December 10, 2010


Crumbing my way through a stack of Ritz crackers, I noticed a colleague with a giant bag of lanyards. Curious, I had to inquire. It turns out, as the faculty member assigned to the girl's volleyball team he enjoyed an assortment of tedious tasks. On this day, he was in charge of dispersing badges (pictured above) for an upcoming tournament. Five schools were sending both their girls and boys teams to compete in this city wide volleyball competition.

"What are the badges for?" I asked.

"So perverts don't videotape the volleyball players," he said.

Well... it made sense to me. I can't speak for the boys’ team, but when it comes to women, little shorts and hiked up socks make for an appealing ensemble. What's shocking is that this must have been a real problem for the schools to create these 'press passes.'

But something didn't add up. Each pile had 25 badges. Yet each team consisted of around 10 players. Meaning there were enough press passes for each boy and girl player including a bonus 5.

"Who gets to use this press pass?" I asked.

"Anyone," he said, "They just get it from the school."

The Japanese are stereotyped for being snap-happy camera lovers, but 25 that even necessary? So I wondered some more.

"What if someone gets a pass but is a pervert and publishes the footage on the internet? How do you track them?" I asked.

I couldn't believe it, but there was a rationale solution in place. "We look at the sign-up sheet and one-by-one locate the person responsible," he said.

So what's the lesson learned? In Japan, perverts have plenty of time to videotape your sons and daughters. But don't worry! Japanese schools have just as much time to implement a complicated yet 'effective' response.

Happy filming everyone, but do so professionally for if you don't the P.P.P. (Pervert Protection Plan) will put you behind bars or issue you a polite e-mail warning.

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