April 14, 2006

On being a teenage girl in Japan

Metablog: The title... I say triple entendre achieved.
Oy, I wanted to go out tonight, paint the town red, but then I ran into my own culinary creation. Usually, I do pretty good in the kitchen, but attempting to make chicken/shrimp custard without a steamer was pure folly. Not to mention I don't even like custards; what was I thinking? So yeah, I ended up making Japanese eggdrop soup (or inventing it rather), and getting a little sick. So now I sit at home on a Friday and blog. Weeeeee here we go!

So I was brought into the new school year with a screech of pleasure, more accurately, the screech of five girls. Their car pulled up (grinning mother driving).
Girls: Mr. B! Mr. B! You... our teacher! Mr. B! Do you remember us?
Clay: Uh yeah, you only graduated a week ago. So, I see by your outfits that you are in Tara high school.
Girls: We are in high school!
Clay: Yes.
Girls: !!!
Clay: Well, see you!
Girls:?!? Okay! See you!

They caught me at the supermarket, as I was looking for the ingredients to what I didn't realize then would be a failed attempt at custard.
Girls: Mr. B!
Clay: Ah, good, can you help me find some shitake mushrooms?
Girls: Yes, but first we take pictures with our new cell phones!
Ah yes, cell phones, the thing I never realized middle school students covet the most. The ability to own a cell phone and hang out at the supermarket is a right of passage I never was cognizant of, but now I realize I saw this phenomenon all the time before, albeit to a lesser extent due to my arrival in Japan halfway through the school year (once the novelty had worn off a little).

Imagine, if you will, being an old Japanese lady. Old enough that you remember WWII and practically starving to death and hearing that the next prefecture down got an atomic bomb dropped on it. Imagine living in a small, sea-side town your whole life and practicing traditional Japanese dances on the weekends with the other old ladies. You are 4 feet tall and have bowed legs from farming all your life. Now imagine, if you possibly can, how queer the following scene would be to your aged eyes: A very white, very tall man, surrounded by a loud army of about ten girls in uniform, swarming down your aisle of the supermarket. All the girls very loud, all their hands busy grabbing mushrooms, or cell phones, or smacking each other.

If you are that old woman, you have just plotzed.