Japanese teenage boys
My 16-year-old son, Ken, recently got a copy of his junior high school yearbook, a boys’ school. (His third and final year of junior high school ended in March. The Japanese school year ends in March and re-starts in April.) I don’t know how long he has had the book, but I only saw it on Monday, July 21st, which was the annual Sea Day, or “umi no hi” national public holiday here. So I paged through it quickly. Every parent is biased towards their own children, of course, and I thought Ken was one of the best looking boys in the school. Most of the other boys featured typical male adolescent ugliness - kind of a cross between a scarecrow, Mr. Potatohead, Gumby, and a lump of playdough, with bad haircuts and ill-fitting eyeglasses. I looked at these boys’ faces and tried to imagine the adult men they will become, wishing for adulthood to come swiftly. The sooner the better. Ken’s body seems better-proportioned than many of his classmates, and I can see his adult face already, although still in soft outline.