Monday, March 14, 2011


"A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes that he has got the biggest piece." - Paul Gauguin

Free Cake!
卒業式 (Graduation) is a time of celebration. Especially at 青森高校 (Aomori High School), arguably the top academic school in all of 青森県 (Aomori Prefecture). But for a society fueled by respect, rules, and organization, graduation is a piece of cake, literally. Every year, the head teacher of 3年生 (3rd year / comparitive to senior year) pushes a cart through the office. He delivers a piece of cake to everyone. But unlike Santa, he doesn't make a list and exclude the bad little boys and girls. Instead, everyone gets a piece, the same piece of cake. As the resident foreigner, and technically only an 'assistant language teacher,' sometimes I'm not professionally seen as an equal. But thankfully when the bakery bandwagon rolls into town, I'm one of the gang. What especially delighted my senses was a label with my Japanese name, クラバクステイブン (kurabaku, suteibun) attached to the package. Talk about organized fairness!

I'm sure whoever had the task of wrapping each box in the celebratory Aomori High School paper and labeling the names was dying for a drink, but instead of hiding behind a union, they got the job done. I vividly recall, these same 'kind gestures' bestowed upon the high school staff where I taught in Florida. However, with no intended disrespect, it was chaotic. Often times, people would be 'left out.' I'm not sure if the person in charge simply failed at math, or if others 'behind the curtain' were greedy and took more than they were allotted. Regardless, I love Japan's tradition of organized giving. Even though its お茶 (green tea) flavored, this rebel is happy to enjoy his namecake and bow to conformity.

Green Tea Cake?
Beggars can't be choosy!

No comments: