Chapter 4: The Sad Coming of Age Ceremony
I met a 19-year-old boy. In a terrible downpour, I found him dressed in ragged clothes curled in a ball under a pedestrian bridge on an old futon. He had the vacant eyes of someone addicted to drugs.
When I called out to him he shouted, “you are fucking annoying! Go somewhere else!” back at me. I sat down next to him and, as I did, he began to leave the spot where he sat. Then it happened. The young boy began coughing violently and fell over while foaming at the mouth. I quickly attempted to secure his respiratory track and called an ambulance.
The next morning, the young boy, by luck, had regained consciousness and was able to talk with me while he rested in his bed. He said he knew of the night school I worked at and slowly began to talk about himself.
His mother has passed away when he was in his early years of elementary school. After he graduated from Jr. high, his father quickly remarried and moved in with his new wife – leaving his son. After that, the boy went to Tokyo where he began working and living at a sushi restaurant. However, because of his severe coughing fits induced by asthma, he was fired. Even after this, his father would not take him in and instead gave him a meager allowance while his son lived a homeless life.
As I listened to the boy calmly explain his situation, I felt a tug in my chest. He bore no grudge against his parents.
I quickly began doing everything I could (lit. working) for him. I filed his social welfare papers, found him a appropriate apartment, and got him a working mail address. At the same time, I took him to a hospital to get proper treatment for his severe asthma.
It took hardly any time at all for him to fully recover.
He had a good handle on a stable life style, was accepted to his dream high school, and studied very hard for his future. With the money he saved from his part time job, he was slowly able to buy all his furniture and household effects.
Around the time he finally built a real and stable lifestyle, he also found a girlfriend – a high school student who worked at the same part time job as him.
Their love was cute. The three of us had dinner together once, and the two of them were always fidgeting in a manner that was heartwarming.
Next year would have been his coming of age ceremony. With his saved money he bought himself a new suit and I gave him a new necktie as a gift.
“Sensei, even someone like me can find happiness.”
He said that as he clumsily fastened his necktie with a smile.
I was so happy that all I could do was nod over and over again.
Some time after that he came to the decision that he wanted to work more so he could get off social welfare. Certainly, he was thinking of being able to stand on his own two feet and be able to live with and take care of his girlfriend with his own strength as quickly as possible. But, his medial treatments did not yield the results we had all hoped for.
ღ .:*･ﾟ♡ﾟ･*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*･ﾟ♡ﾟ･*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*･ﾟ♡ﾟ･*:.ღღ .:*･ﾟ♡ﾟ･*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*･ﾟ♡ﾟ･*:.ღ .♡.ღ .:*･ﾟ♡ﾟ･*:.ღ
While Mizutani-sensei does not say that the boy died, from what I could understand (especially in the last sentence) is that he did pass away because of his severe coughing attacks.
So, the school year has started again and I am now in week two of teaching. I have quickly realized that with this new work schedule (literally 5 classes everyday) that the current work shoes I have (PUMA flats) are not up to par with a standing job.
At the Jr. high, things are pretty much as they were last term. The biggest change is that over half of the teaching staff is gone and I know over 2/3 of the first year class because I taught them when they were elementary school students.
At the elementary school, all of Japan is being forced to use a new English textbook called 英語ノート (eigo noto) that I absolutely cannot stand. Not all of it is bad, but the overall organization and theme with each lesson is not clear and the “games” they have listed are hardly games at all. This means a lot of quick thinking on my part to change things just a little to make the activities and the lesson more enjoyable for the students. Of course, this naturally means that I am making even more of a fool of myself than I was last school year. The teachers I am working with at the elementary school are all very kind and only one of them is a new teacher. Two of them were 5th and 6th graders last year and one of them was a 1st grade teacher. The five of us are trying to work together on how to make the best of a forced situation, and I am writing reviews of each lesson based on my thoughts, the teacher’s thoughts, and student reactions to each piece of the lesson. Hopefully, someone with take hold of what I write and suggest and make some small changes to the lesson plan which is apparently going to go through total remake next year…
I do a post showing this new textbook soon so you all can see what I am talking about and maybe post a few of the original lesson plans and then the lesson plans I made with a few changes.