Thursday, August 26, 2004


At orientation I thought that the “one timers” who get to spend their whole year doing self-intros were pretty lucky. They said it sucked, and I didn’t believe them. But they were right, and I was wrong. I have now done my self-intro for the first and second grades of my junior high school, and although they went very well I am glad that there is only one more to go. I’m going to do a completely new one for my three elementary schools, or I will go crazy. I did my junior high self-intro on power point, and for lack of more interesting material to share today I am posting six of the twenty-seven slides. It only takes six to capture the dull flow of the マイネーム (my name . . .) world. I’m glad the students were interested, though.

To clear your palate, here’s a photo of the Japanese language speech contest we had yesterday.

I think perhaps the military did more than any other institution to prepare me for my return to Japanese society. In other, news, I’m coaching the three participants of the upcoming English speech contest. They’re good kids. One of the speeches, though, is the textbook speech: “I Have a Dream” (actually an elementary-level commentary on Martin Luther King Jr.’s beautiful original). A great little speech, but I think its selection for this contest highlights an attitude which seems to be prevalent here: “moral problems are something other countries have.” I find the inference that racial discrimination is a moral deficiency of foreign countries to be heinously hypocritical in light of the speeches that the popular governor of Tokyo has been making. I look forward to the day that teenagers in Shimokita find the freedom to step beyond their textbooks and grapple with their own real issues.