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 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. Ideally he showed it to me quickly, soon after getting it. But that doesn’t seem likely in this household. No one around here tells me anything until well after the fact. 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.