Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Little Boys, and Why They Hold Their Winkies

These adult boys could potentially be resisting an impulse to grab their winkies but they have been socialized beyond the point of actually succumbing to such an urge. They are Shimokita’s fresh crop of JETs. Clearly, fourth year JET Teresa who was transferred up from Nambu doesn’t feel she should be too closely associated with the group.

The other day I stumbled into a conversation taking place between the grade one and grade two teachers at Hebiura Elementary School. We had just finished a joint English class with the said teachers’ pupils and they were observing how during class the little boys fiddled with their winkies whenever they were confused, nervous or unable to answer a question. According to theory, these frequent anatomical self-examinations supply surrogate feelings of assurance and wellbeing. I suppose that in most classrooms this behaviour is safely concealed behind those most prominent of physical barriers in academic spaces—the desks. However, due to the lively nature of the Genki English lessons I use I usually have these obstructions swept aside at the beginning of class, exposing my little learners like so many hermit crabs pulled out of their shells. In such an open environment I was able to corroborate this reported winkie-touching behaviour the following day at Ikokuma Elementary School. Sure enough, all the grade one and two boys sat with knees wide apart and in response to questions such as “what colour is this?” pensively felt for their secret parts. It would obviously be wrong to take photographic evidence wherewith to illustrate the phenomenon in this blog . . . thus the substitute photo above.

On a different note . . .

Yuko’s back from her week long psychiatric counsellors’ conference in Kyoto! (And apparently very tired). Among the wickedawesome gifts she brought back for me is the oyaji-towel I am sporting in this photograph. The name of its pattern is “Mountain Trail” and it will join Mowgli’s Tooth as part of my Operation Bear Watch kit.