Not Okay


Do you see this? Above the eyebrow?This is the mark that was on Me First’s head when he came home from school. It wasn’t there when he left this morning. He says he doesn’t know how he got it, but I suspect it has something to do with the reason he came home from school crying and screaming (again) today: Scratch Boy hit him upside the head with his PE bag.

Why would he do that? Me First said “Cause I was throwing rocks.”
“At the boy?”
“No. I was coming home and throwing rocks and kicking rocks and then they chased me and they hit me with the bag.”

I don’t even know where to start….I don’t understand this obsessive compulsive need to kick and or throw every single rock-like object one comes across. Whenever I am out with Me First, or in with Me First for that matter, every five seconds or so I have to remind him, again, that throwing and kicking rocks is not appropriate behavior. Outside, not surrounded by other people, then go ahead, be my guest, but we live in a city of 3,000,000 people crammed into the space of a matchbox. There are very few times and places where one can indulge this primitive need to project a projectile.

We delved into the rocky mess of his psyche a little deeper. Turns out that today, Scratch Boy and his twin (have I mentioned he was a twin?) were teasing Me First about walking home with a girl last week.. Me First was throwing the rocks because it made him feel better about the teasing. Then they bashed him on the head with a bag full of clothes and a hat. The brim must have hit his head, otherwise I don’t know what else could leave a mark.


Children should be able to go to school without being assaulted. This is common sense. But I am at a total loss as to what to do. I want to walk him to and from school, but he says they’ll tease him at school if I do (which is probably true.) I suggested he go to the after school program for a bit so he doesn’t have to walk home at the same time, but he says he’s tired and wants to come home…and really the other kids are the ones who should be isolated from the school population if they can’t walk home without beating up on other kids.

I called the school last week about the eraser. I wrote a letter about the ruler, but the teacher “talked” to the boys and now Me First is just thoroughly confused about the incident. He says he loaned the ruler to Scratch Boy, Scratch Boy says he put it back on his desk when he wasn’t there but then maybe it fell on the floor….


None of that makes sense. He didn’t need to “borrow” it when the teacher had just handed them out to everyone. You don’t return something to someone when they aren’t there and then “maybe it fell on the floor” ?? And I guess the words jumped out of his mouth when he called Me First a “foreigner” and an “American.” Me First has never considered either of those labels to be negative, and he’s confused about that. And today maybe Scratch Boy’s bag just flew into Me First’s face. Oh yeah, and then there was that time he f@cking scratched up Me First’s arm and left a line of scabs all over his forearm, reckon maybe his fingernails just jumped off his fingers and did that of their own accord?

And maybe I’m just feeling sad, and alone, and helpless, every bit as confused and bewildered as my child. Maybe he did something to attract the wrath of the other kid, who knows, but coming home scratched up is not okay. It’s never okay.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. illahee
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 16:58:24

    that is so not cool. i wish i had advice, but i don’t know what to do, either. hiro’s bullies were ramping up, taking 500 yen from his lunch envelope and hiding it in the room, pushing him into bushes and saying things (i wasn’t told what the ‘things’ were). i talked to his teacher and she spoke to the boys, but i don’t think his tormenter is nearly as mean as me first’s. has his regular teacher returned? it might be time to have a good chat with him/her and say that things are not improving and so far the efforts made haven’t been enough.



    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 13, 2012 @ 17:47:30

      The regular teacher has not returned. The sub’s approach seems to be to convince Me First that nothing is wrong. I have a parent-teacher interview coming up soon. Maybe I can convince HRH to come. Sometimes it seems that men only listen to other men.


  2. illahee
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:11:05

    again, mentally kicking someone in kanto. sorry you have an incompetent teacher involved! (my jury’s still out on hiro’s teacher….)


    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:29:30

      I don’t know what’s up with this teacher….Like I said, he’s come out of retirement to substitute while the regular teacher is recovering from an injury. I don’t know if he’s unable to keep up with the kids, thinking too old school, has never dealt with a foreign mother and doesn’t know what to do, or is just not willing to deal with the problem. Or all of the above? I don’t know the other kid well enough to make any judgements on whether he is a bad kid or just a kid in need of more supervision, though a friend who knows them said he is a bad seed and his mom is at her wit’s end. (Aren’t we all?)


  3. americanlostintokyo
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:49:13

    This is definitely not OK.
    The other day my daughter came home crying because the two girls she walks home with decided that it would be fun to push her around. It sounded like it was very deliberate. While they were pushing her, they were enjoying laughing at the situation. Thankfully she wasn’t injured.

    I know that boys will be rougher than girls, but finding an injury on your child caused by a classmate at school is inexcusable.

    For my daughter, this is the first incident in a while…so I am still debating on what to do. I told her that we would watch the situation for a couple of days to see if they were going to repeat the same behavior again. It is unsettling. Have they now graduated from erasers to physical pushing? It is beyond my ability to understand.


    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 14, 2012 @ 11:11:41

      I’m sorry to hear that happened to your daughter. Boys do that kind of thing from the time they are small, so my feeling is more like “have we not grown out of that yet?” My son has turned out to be much more of a pushover than I thought he would be… Lots of kids seem to be going through something similar. WTH is going on at the schools here?

      For the time being, I’m going to volunteer more at school and am considering applying for a job there….if nothing else then at least I hope that makes the other teachers feel more sympathetic toward my kid. Maybe it’ll help the other kids see me as a “person” instead of a “gaijin” and help with some of the teasing that is happening about that. (It seems like all the school functions overlap with kindy functions….are they planning it that way?)


  4. americanlostintokyo
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 11:44:06

    I agree with the ‘haven’t we grown out of that yet?’ feeling. Since my daughter is almost half way through 2nd grade, I just keep wondering if this is going to continue even into 3rd grade. I thought the same thing…that the main instigator in this pushing incident has yet catch up with the maturity level of everyone else…or that her hunger for attention is growing?

    I wonder if the fact that the boy who is causing your son trouble has a twin has any relation to his behavior. I wonder if he is so attention hungry that this is fulfilling his “need”.

    It is very depressing to think about. Yes, all kids mature and grow at different speeds. But, I think the schools here need to do a better job of enforcing very basic rules…no physical contact or bullying…respect for the property of others, etc.

    And, yes…as I found in kindergarten, my daughter has trouble standing up for herself. I have tried to talk with her about ways to try to walk away from situations like this without “fighting back”. To me, this seems logical, because I don’t want her to become an “instigator” in the future. But, I was shocked when I told my husband about this and his response was, “Well, she doesn’t know how to push back does she?” I think I about fainted at that point. I tried to explain to him that there are only certain situations where it is OK to “push back” or “punch back”, etc. and that this was not one of them. I hope that he does not go behind my back and teach my girls how to “push back” when they are at one of their park outings… ( _ _ )

    Anyway, yes…it seems that all of the school things generally overlap with each other. I guess in an ideal Japanese world, all of our kids would be born at intervals so that these events would never overlap with each other.


    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 14, 2012 @ 21:59:32

      I tried to talk to HRH about it, but his reply is always that Me First should “toughen up” or that he should fight back…. He’s just not that kind of kid, and that kind of advice confuses him more.

      I wonder about the twin thing, too. I know one incident started when Me First inadvertently brushed some eraser crumbles onto the other boy’s desk. The other boy then asked to borrow the eraser, tore it into pieces, and ground those pieces into Me First’s hair.

      It wasn’t like he had brushed those little bits over there on purpose. Maybe if you have another seven-year-old boy to contend with all the time you have to stand your ground about even little things like that…but it’s inappropriate behavior at school.

      I *think* HRH is gonna come to the $B;0<TLLCL(B with me next week. This teacher seems like the type who might listen to another man, if not to me.

      For next week, I'm gonna try sending Me First to the after school care for a bit and pick him up from there. At least I won't have to worry about him being injured on the way home. The baachans at the after care don't take any crap! I don't want to lie to Me First, but I don't want him to feel he is being punished when he hasn't done anything wrong….My bike broke again, so for a day or two I'll blame it on that. And it'll be mostly true.

      Do you remember those days when your biggest worries were lack of sleep or how to get the kids to eat their veggies? This is so much worse.


  5. Kym
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 20:58:30

    Ohhh, the sub had retired. I’d wondered where they’d found him, because I didn’t think they had that system in place here. This is truly not OK. Is it all the rough stuff on kids TV here that makes kids think it’s OK, and is that a broader indicator of the attitude here? My son’s kindy teachers teach them the AnpanMan punch, much to the shock of friends back home. I honestly don’t think he knew what a punch was before he learnt it there, because he’s never seen any fighty things on TV – you just don’t see it on Australian kids TV these days.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do next.


    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 14, 2012 @ 21:59:23

      Oh, the things they learn at school. My first rude awakening was at a mommy and me class when Me First was two. They read this book about a little boy who wouldn’t go to bed on time. The ghosts came and snatched him away. The end.


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