Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Rather than the words we say, it's the way of speaking."

Since it's getting colder - and very abruptly at that - the students will switch back to the winter uniforms next week. For this week, though, they're given the choice - or rather, their mothers are given the choice. So now it's a bit disorienting, with every other child you see being an inverse of the one before, navy-on-white, white-on-navy. It's possibly the time with the most variety in outfits - the two season uniforms, plus the kids who change into their sweatsuits (dark green, dark blue, light blue) at the mid-morning break, plus a group going to a band competition dressed all in black, plus during clubs the occasional basketball or kendo outfit wandering in looking for a bag of ice.

The teachers have also gone to the formal end of the spectrum - the men are back in ties and suit jackets. On Monday I thought there was going to be some sort of observation, but it seems they're just adapting to the weather. What was miserable a month ago seems insulating now, though I still feel a little claustrophobic in certain jackets. My pants, however, I continue to have the opposite problem. Even the new black pants that I got only a few months ago, proud to make my first purchase in Japan and proud that I could fit into the infamous sizes here, have started tending to slip dangerously low. Not that it's not a good thing, but it's frustrating when I can't afford a new wardrobe every season.

Since the second-years have been rather wild lately, staff who aren't teaching have been patrolling the halls. Even the principal and vice-principal slowly walk past the rooms, providing a calming influence. I had a moment looking out the window from one building - the school is split in two - and seeing, on all three levels of the other side, a higher-up moving steadily along, like some sort of computer program. Or maybe I've just been watching too much Japanese comedy TV, where they like to make people do life-sized versions of nostalgia games. From the land that brought you human tetris...

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