Saturday, January 2, 2010

3rd grade memories

昔々, many many years ago, in a time long forgotten, in an age of bronze tools and battling ferocious scaled beasts for the rights to one's breakfast... okay, so it wasn't really all that long ago, now that I think about it. I'm not even sure why this memory resurfaced recently, but it struck me as a little funny, so I thought I'd share it. Brace yourselves.

When I was a young lad, I attended private Catholic school from K until 3rd grade. I've heard many a horror story from those who grew up in a Catholic upbringing, but honestly, those early years in school bring back only a flood of good memories. Though today I'm as far from Catholicism as one can get, those four years are something I'm really grateful for.

At any rate, I believe it was in the 3rd grade - perhaps 2nd, it's hard to be certain - when a Japanese girl named Aki joined the class mid-semester. Unsurprisingly, at the age of (probably) 8 or 9, I was pretty ignorant as to the variety of races and languages on this planet, as were most of my peers, who took a fascination to this new student instantly. Honestly, it was hard to blame them - a Japanese student at a private Catholic school? That just wasn't something you'd see every day.
I recall that she was frequently asked if she knew karate - yeah, I know... oy. This was also at a time when The Karate Kid was still fresh in the wild, creative minds of every child, so you can thank Hollywood once again for helping perpetuate stupid stereotypes. Thanks a lot, Hollywood.

There were two memories vivid memories that seem to stand out above all the rest, though.

The first was during recess. Try as I might, I can't recall what the heck was going on at the time, but it was almost time to return to class and I was talking with her near this big, metal fire escape thing on the side of the building. Suddenly, she got a burst of aggression, gave me a good shove and giggled as the bell rang and I went flying backwards - good timing! Yeah, I guess I tend to have that effect on women. Rawr.
As for me, the back of my head made contact with said big, metal fire escape thing, drawing a decent amount of blood and causing me to think, "What the hell is wrong with this broad?!"
Perhaps it was at that very moment that the seeds of the future were planted, the dreaded cooties entering my bloodstream through the scratch on my scalp and taking root and... okay, scratch that, I'd have taken an interest in Japanese and Japan in general thanks to all the video games I played, anyway, with or without the aid of a sadistic school girl. I'm not sure if the same could be claimed for my sadistic school girl fetish, however.
Luckily, the wound was quite minor and it had stopped bleeding long before I got back to the classroom. I remember having the teacher examine my head, in fact, and she couldn't even find the wound, or any blood for that matter. This must have been near the end of the school year at this point, because I can't recall interacting with psycho sadist girl much from this point on. Ahh well.

The second memory I recall vividly was on the very last day of class, when students were going around getting their yearbooks signed, as per school tradition. I remember seeing a line stretching back for what was probably a hundred or more students, leading up to a table with a single student signing yearbooks, like the author of a popular series of novels doing book signings - a certain sadist with a heart of stone and a really cool kanji name. If only they knew...
Even back then, I was too cool and non-conformist to join the line, and perhaps I still even held a grudge for that incident earlier in the year - or a deep, lingering fear.

So what does it all mean? How does it all add up? I uh... really don't know. But here I am, many moons later, doing a pretty damn good job of learning Japanese despite the odds - even those crazy Chinese symbols that all those kids wanted written in their yearbooks!
I wish I could say the same for my luck with the crazy Japanese ladies, but let's take things one step at a time, shall we?

Okay, that's the last time I write up an anecdote on this blog. I promise.

1 comment:

Kanjiwarrior said...

I didn't realize you had a blog! Great post, I had a similar incident in 1st grade but it involved chasing and knocking down a girl who wouldn't leave me alone... too stupid to realize she probably liked me.

We had a foreign girl transfer into our class too but she was Arabic :(, I actually remember that her father was telling the teacher she wasn't allowed to talk to boys.