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At the beginning of the school year, I have all my kids make name cards to help me remember their names. Today, one girl passed hers back at the end of the lesson with these drawings all over her name. They caught my eye as I was putting the cards back in my file drawer, and um... yeah. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or worry. So I did a little of both.
I asked another teacher what the kanji at the bottom said. She said it refers to a warring period in Japanese history, specifically to the losers of these battles, who traditionally committed ritual seppuku (suicide through disembowelment). Oh! How pleasant!
I expressed concern about the girl but the teacher kind of laughed it off. "Oh, are you worried she might... hurt herself?" she asked. "Oh, no. She's just a bit weird. But she would never kill herself."
Right... Just checking. Mental note, random drawings of people hanging — no big deal. I asked her to check with the girl and see if everything was OK. Just in case.
It does remind me what a weird and tumultuous time high school is. Makes me think of another fellow JET who did a travel lesson with his students. They had to fill out a worksheet inventing their own country and give it a name, national symbol, that kind of thing. One girl named her country "Murder-land" and made its national symbol a large butcher knife. Repressed rage, much? (Or maybe just an intense dislike of English class?)