Thursday, November 14, 2013

To the Boy in the Front Row

It was another one of those Wakuwaku days.  The distraction of middle school students seems to transcend all national boundaries.  In some ways it is a beautiful thing to see them fall asleep or clap facetiously.  But in their Japanese uniforms, rarely is there any misbehavior, an almost surreal to witness.   Today when some in the front row wore Spiderman eye masks while they slept or turned around to make jokes with their friends while we were playing, I felt a small sense of relief.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a Spiderman Jests in Japan.

And yet as touching as it is to see the borderless universality of human nature, and as edifying as it is to see the egoistical itch of mischief in a uniform world, the rare bright, innocent, and enthusiastic eyes of curiosity are shining diamonds in the rough.  At first it can be hard to tell them apart from the ironic shows of excitement passed among friends, because these curious children seem to have friends and the trust of those around them.  But they are sincere in their amazement, in the speed of their clapping, in the way they absorb the movements of everything on stage, staring into the words and the sounds that they hear, even while their peers have teetered off to other distractions.

I want to know what they will become, what they will see in their lives, what they will make of it.  It is something more than human, and yet human, only.

At my lesson today, I told Fukunari-sensei about the concerts.  She said she thought they were very important for children and for the adults that they would become.  At least that's roughly what I think she said, but I think I understood her properly.  It is fairly easy to understand her, and I think I understand more than her language.  Always, her opinion on the matter was followed with, "I think."  She would never deign to say that it was so.  But in adding this humility to her statement, it was as though she were sure enough to wait for the world to learn it on their own.

For the eyes that are wide open, and for those that must think of other things for the time being but will likely remember this space, may she be right.

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