Before I get to his guest post, I wanted to let everyone know he has a book Grasping at Self Worth that he has written. It's got a kickstarter page so if you are interested in helping out a fellow writer, check out his kickstarter page here. Now without further ado, I give you Bryan Maine.
My best experiences in Tokyo weren't Tokyo Tower, Maid Cafe's or Love Hotels (though each had their moments), the best was working a job each day that left me feeling satisfied with the work day I had accomplished. I was a Canadian university student in Tokyo for the summer with a then girlfriend and needed work. My friend's father set up a job at a neighborhood preschool for me within days and I was weary, expecting to be the warden I rebelled against so strongly only years prior as a Japanese high school student. Preschool was completely different though. The children were bubbly and full of life. I noticed how if a child was crying or hurt that the teachers had no fear when picking the kid up and kissing the scratch on their arm to make it better. It wasn't 'inappropriate' the way it seems our western culture has made it out to be, it was providing general love and compassion to a child.
The oddest experience was a particularly hot day that I was asked to assist with a large steel drum sitting atop cinder blocks in the center of the play yard. A hose was draped over the side pumping water as another teacher fanned a tiny fire beneath the barrel. I asked what the set up was all about and they explained that since it had been an extra hot week that we were making a pool for the kids to take a dunk in. On that note another teacher ushered out a parade of 30 small, naked humans waiting for their turn, giggling. I was shocked. The entire 5 year old class was standing naked in the school yard and right at that moment an old woman rode her bicycle past the gate and waved with a smile, completely unaffected by the sight. With each dunk, the child would give a brief shiver before smiling back at their classmates to the cheers of excitement. After the moment in the spotlight we hoisted the kid out and wrapped a towel around them on their way inside. "Why are the kids all naked," I asked, lowering a fresh body into the makeshift hot tub. "Because they don't have their swimsuits," the other teacher responded matter of factly. It wasn't odd that tiny kids were naked in the sight of the public, it was odd to wonder why.
As my time in Tokyo passed the girl I was there with became more and more distant and as such I became very depressed. The children of the school were the only thing that kept me sane. They didn't judge but were constantly curious and happy. Their joy was a reminder to me to try and hold onto mine.
Thanks to Susie for letting me write on her blog, it is truly an honor The experiences listed above are part of my new book Grasping at Self Worth will be available through Kickstarter. The book expresses my experience of traveling to Tokyo with the girl I loved only to have her mother and older sister torture her because I wasn't Japanese and sacrificed my own sense of worth in an attempt to please them.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this guest post from Bryan. He has also guest appeared on 1000 Life Lessons and you can see that guest post here. He also appears here on another of my favorite blogs 1000 Things About Japan. I wish him the best of luck getting his book published.