...of teacher and student. At Baiko (and at all Japanese schools, I suspect) teachers are far removed from the students. They are placed in an untouchable position of power that the students are taught to respect at all times. There are certain cultural "rules" governing student-teacher interaction. Teachers greet each other each day by saying "Ohayo gozaimasu." "Gozaimasu" is a formality added to lots of phrases. Thus "Ohayo gozaimasu" is a very polite phrase that means "good morning." But when addressing students teachers simply say, "Ohayo" without the formal ending. When students enter or exit the teacher's office they must bow and say "Shitsureshimasu," which literally means, "I am being discourteous," but is usually translated as "excuse me," or "sorry to bother you." In many classrooms there is a raised platform below the chalkboard that teachers stand on to give lectures, thus placing the teachers at a higher level than the students. I am aware that construing some of these things as intentional separations of a lower class from a higher class could be assuming too much, but there's more. The teachers have separate bathrooms from the students-- bathrooms with Western-style toilets, a door at the entrance and sometimes even decorations. They use a different set of stairs that students are generally forbidden to use. They also enter and exit the classroom from a different door. These things, to me, are not only weird but wrong, in a way. I may feel this way because I am removed from student life by only one year, so I don't feel that much higher in status than the students. Sure, I'm older and I am an authority figure over them, but some of these customs to me seem a little absurd. Am I blowing these things out of proportion? Or is this weird to anyone else?
written by Ruthie @ 12:26 AM  
1 thoughts:
  • At 6/02/2007 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No, actually, that IS weird . . . so yeah. I agree.
    And it's hard to say "this is a cultural difference" or "this is just wrong." Hard to separate for me, anywho.
    But yeah, seems . . . well, separate bathrooms reminds me of American segregation . . . psychological oppression.

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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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