Dancin’ at Kindergarten

If you’ve never seen a five-year-old do the twist, get on it. It’s one of the cuter things you’re likely to witness in this life.

Now imagine 20 five-year old Japanese children all shaking their little hips as best as their uncoordinated bodies will let them and you get an impression of my morning. I spent the morning at Gembi Kindergarten and doing an impression of Vincent Vega with the kids is an image I hope I never lose from my mental imagery file.

Visiting a kindergarten is actually pretty easy. The instructional component of each class is minimal (even more so than elementary school). For the most part, I just play games with the little tykes. In today’s case, I spent half the time dancing with the budding Baryshnikovs. Okay Baryshnikovs is a stretch, but you get the idea.

Any difficulties are addressed (mostly) by the Japanese teachers I work with. Shy or undisciplined students are given hugs or glares respectively and not too much trouble ensues. Really, the only concern I had was for my health. If they weren’t trying to shake my hand with their snot-encrusted fingers, they were plotting ways to get close to my butt to either grab it or poke it. Not that a four year old can do much damage to my butt, (in fact, my butt can probably do more damage to a four your old’), but you can never be too careful. Not to mention, you don’t want to set a bad precedent – bum poking now turns into the infamous kancho later.

I didn’t fear for my safety while being tackled by a hoarde of three years olds. You could probably pile a couple dozen on top of me before I would be unable to burst forth like He-Man in a swarm of enemies. No, the tackling was good fun and the kids made no effort to exploit my vulnerable position.

Instead, the only time any harm came my way was while playing London Bridge. In this harmless game, it’s pretty hard to get injured in any way, but one kid managed to help me to that end. While filing into line, one boy ahead of me decided that giving me an upward-motion karate chop to the groin. He landed a direct hit. But again, he was only four. So, while such a blow delivered by an adult would have landed me in a heap on the floor, this was only mildly surprising.

Though it wasn’t painful, it was, however, a little disappointing. I had managed to make it ten months in Japan without any of my students hitting, groping, poking, pinching, slapping, fondling, kicking, head-butting, elbowing, biting, setting fire to, or otherwise making obviously intentional and inappropriate contact with my genitals.

Sure, at every second urinal where I have a neighbour, I find them trying to sneak a peak at my gaijin endowments (I swear, one day, I’m just going to pee on someone), but no one has really tried to do any damage there before. Fortunately for me, his attempt to render me infertile was unsuccessful (at least, I assume so – we’ll have to wait for the test results).

So aside from the testicle punching and germ-ridden hands, kindergarten is actually a good time. But next time, maybe I’ll wear a cup.

2 Responses to “Dancin’ at Kindergarten”

  1. Christine says:

    LOL! This happened to a British co-worker of mine! The kindergarten kids kept trying to shove their index fingers up his bum! What’s that called again? Is it “kancho”? It never happened to me. They just tried to grab my boobs. *sigh* Kids!

  2. dsawchuk says:

    Yes, you got it. “Kancho” is indeed the bum poking game that is so well loved by Japanese children. I delve into this odd phenomenon here.

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