Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interesting Things That Happen In Japan

(actually just one because I am far too lazy to recount all of them)

Japanese schools are strict. This is evident in the students, in their high grades and uniformly respectful demeanours. HOWEVER: This is not achieved easily. No, myriad crazy steps occur in the formation of these upstanding young adults.

What I learnt this week: at Junior High Schools, it is a general school rule that the students may not dye their hair. (ASIDE: I think this is a sensible rule a) because Japanese hair does not dye well or easily, and often looks it most beautiful and luscious in its natural, ebony state and b) I really wish someone had intervened when I was 13 and stopped me from using Sunsilk Custom Highlights). Now, in any Western school that had this rule, the offending student might be suspended, or be given an official warning, or detention, or some such formulaic punishment. In the Japanese school - wait for it - the student will be taken to the front of the class, given a small towel to protect their uniform, and have their hair SPRAY PAINTED BLACK BY THE TEACHER. I am astounded by this, and also amused. I like how it could only be utilized as a remedy in a country such as Japan, where the majority of the population have the exact same hair colour. Can you imagine the same punishment being issued in NZ?

"Stand still, Amy, while I cover up these honey highlights"

"But the hair spray is BLACK. My natural hair colour is BLONDE"

"Well, you shoulda thought of that before you got these highlights, no? Stand still!"

A fellow JET reports sitting on the bus behind a group of dangerous criminals junior high school students who pulled wet wipes from their bags and calmly ran them through their hair, stripping off the spray paint and revealing the bleached bangs beneath.

Perhaps just as strange is another story I heard, this time concerning a Senior High School. On the first day of attendance at this school, each student will have their hair colour checked against a chart, where it will be matched to one of the six accepted natural shades of Japanese hair (Really Black, Black, Mostly Black, Light Black, Lighter Black, Almost Brown You Giant Weirdo). Then, in the last weeks of their attendance at the school, just before graduation, the charts will be brought back out, and if the hair colour has been altered from the original shade, the offending student must immediately take steps to restore natural colour, otherwise permission to graduate will be withheld.

"Aha! Two years ago your hair was BLACK! Now it is clearly LIGHT BLACK!"

"But... The sun... The natural aging process.... My harsh shampoo..."

"No excuses! No graduation! NO CAREER! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA...."

Delinquent. Also, possible Sunsilk user.

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