Teaching In Socks

October 29, 2008, 5:10 pm
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This Friday, it has been mandated by the powers that be (management) that I teach a complimentary, thirty minute, children’s Halloween class. Despite my initial resistance to the thought of doing extra work, I’m looking forward to this. Kids plus costumes is generally an equation for spirited fun, and when “gross-out tactics” are not only permissible but encouraged, the degree of difficulty goes down and the quotient for awesomeness increases exponentially.

That said, I’m trying to keep my expectations low. The aim of the class is to attract new students to the school (hence the “complimentary”) but my personal goal is to avoid a situation that lands my name or picture on the news, attached to the headline ” Massive Japan Halloween Folly!”.

This may sound a bit pessimistic, but when children are involved it’s imperative to consider every possible scenario and to think on your feet. In some corners of the planet kids have been known to eat a light bulbs with absolutely no warning or provocation.

This risk will no dissuade me form taking pleasure in being the the harbinger of Halloween awesomeness to Ako (I know, I used awesome twice already). Japan is still an emerging market in the Halloween economy. My older students say it gained popularity withing the last ten to fifteen years, but they still haven’t entirely embraced the holiday. Presumably, and by presumably I mean what the crooked scenario I created in my mind with no factual basis to it, it appears a portion of the country was looking for another  reason to wear costumes and arrange decorations. They looked around, much like the Pilgrims looked for America, and immediately started grabbing orange marigolds, black origami paper and silly bodysuits.

my other costume

my other costume

Surprisingly though, it appears the confectionery industry–really the pay off of the whole holiday–still hasn’t gotten their act together. Their delegation must be shivering in a deep sugar fix somewhere because they haveailed to seize this obvious opportunity. In America, Halloween in like candy’s Christmas. In Japan, while many stores are equipped with small displays totting Disney, Halloween themed treats, the selection is vastly underwhelming; especially when viewed proportionally to the costume and decorating options offered.

I believe this a result of the absence of trick or treating. For reasons unknown to me, and possibly having to do with a variety of Japanese social moires, the tradition of  going from house to house to collect free candy in exchange for a barrage of fabulously lame jokes hasn’t spread like wildfire. This saddens me. A world devoid of trick or treating robs these children of a valuable learning opportunity.

These children will never learn about MUNG or razorblades in apples. Proper retribution for people who give out dimes instead of candy. How do you expect a child to develop any appreciation for humor when they don’t know what a vampires favorite fruit is? (nectarine) What do you expect them to understand the deep metaphysical mechanisms of society when they don’t know what a ghost’s favorite fruit is? (boo berries!) or why mummies have trouble making friends? (They’re soooo wrapped up in themselves).

Thus, it is left to me to deliever this vital knowledge to the young and impressionable minds of Japan. Which ultimately, fufills the vision and dream that I had when I took this job–that one day, in ruraly Japan, I would change the world while dressed in a makeshift Harry Potter costume.

“dorkus facimus!”


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