I heard back from the sub yesterday. He said he had a talk with the boys. Scratch Boy said Me First said something that made him mad so he hit him. Therefore both boys are at fault.


I’ve heard this before. “I beat her cause she talked back.” “I threw acid in her face because she disrespected me.””She had on a short skirt so she was asking for it.”

Me First isn’t a girl, but the line of thinking is the same.

It is NEVER okay to hit someone out of anger. Full fucking stop. Teaching children anything else is negligent.

It happens, I know. Me First has surely learned a lesson about pushing someone too far.

Or has he?

Me First says Scratch Boy called him くそじじい, crusty old man, so Me First came back with くそばばぁ, crusty old woman. The boys have been calling him the former for days, and Jiji suggested he come back by calling the namecallers the latter.

Thanks, PIL. That worked out well. He has the bruises to prove it.

Me First didn’t even try to contradict Scratch Boy’s story. He said the teacher wasn’t listening and he just wanted to get back to class.

So, to recap: SB has learned that he can tease someone, and then hit them when they talk back.

Me First has learned, what exactly? That it’s okay for people to call him names? That it’s okay to hit someone for saying something you don’t like?

Is this the norm in Japan? I can certainly see how this line of thinking led to Pearl Harbor. Japanese documentaries always focus on how the US instigated the Pearl Harbor attack by placing Japan under sanctions, etc. Basically they seem to be saying “You made us mad, so it was okay to attack you.”

Or maybe not, I don’t know.

I’m not sure public school is where Me First needs to be right now. And I’m not sure any other option would be any better.

Homeschooling him would probably drive us both nuts. Private school means I need to work, which means putting Me Too in daycare. I don’t think I want to do that.


For now, I’m going to volunteer more at his school, in the hope that if more kids know me then the gaijin factor won’t be so interesting and they’ll stop teasing him about it. I’m also gonna be easier on him at home and make an effort to listen without judgement. He needs to build his self-esteem, and he needs to know he is safe at home.

Yesterday, I put Me Too into aftercare and took Me First to the coffee shop. I wanted him to feel special.

Today and tomorrow, I put him into aftercare at school, just briefly, to avoid walking home at the same time as the lords of the flies. I didn’t tell him why, though. My bike is broken, (pain in the butt walking everywhere!) and he just kind of assumed that was why. Makes no sense really, but um… Okay!


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Xana
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 12:43:25

    Oh no! I’m so sorry! When does Real Teacher come back? And why is Real Teacher out, anyway? I hope it wasn’t a nervous breakdown or something. Can you go over Sub’s head to year-leader or Vice-Principal? Sub sounds incompetent to deal with this and poor MF shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences, SB probably has other victims, too. It’s so hard, especially in a foreign culture and language. Is HRH remotely concerned or supportive about it? I have no advice, only sympathy for you both. :(


    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 16, 2012 @ 13:09:16

      HRH is concerned, but his approach is that Me First should “fight back” and “toughen up.” I have no idea when real teach is coming back! I thought it was after Sports Day, but she isn’t here. Apparently she hurt her back during summer vacay and is on $B%I%/%?!<%9%H%C%W(B.

      We have $B;0<TLLCL(B next week, so everything is kind of hingeing on that.


  2. Xana
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 13:56:16

    That’s what dh always says too (toughen up). Blame the victim, right? He thinks they should be in aikido (which they REALLY don’t want to do). I say, great, there are evening lessons, so YOU can bring them as I already chauffeur for swimming, abacus, and piano. Strangely enough, he never gets around to signing them up. Sorry, something about your blog just compels me to rant about my own dh irrelevantly in the comments.

    Anyway, I hope real teacher comes back soon. Can you request a meeting with someone more senior? Sounds like sub just wants to close his eyes and hope the problem disappears, or at least gets brushed under the carpet until he is off the hook for taking responsibility. At least then there will be something on record, otherwise when sub is gone it could be back to square one. Grrrr.


    • hamakkomommy
      Oct 16, 2012 @ 14:33:36

      The whole system seems to be set up to “blame the victim.” My kids both take karate, and have for years, and it hasn’t helped this situation. The first thing they teach I martial arts is to respect your teacher. The next thing they teach is not to hit people. I think that’s part of the problem here. Me First won’t contradict the teacher, and he knows he shouldn’t hit the other boy.

      I don’t think your comments about your own situation are irrelevant! It’s really helpful to hear what other husbands say. Sometimes my hub tries to say things are the “Japanese way” when in reality he’s just being a jack@ss.

      Kind of unrelated, but I remember people from school who were always trying to hang out with the “in crowd,” who would use them and abuse them. I really want Me First to see the value in choosing friends who are good friends, not because they’re cool. He did better last year, but this year his class seems to consist of the “bully group,” the “victim group,” and “the girls.” He’s always had friends that were girls and never thought anything of it before. This round of trouble started when he walked home with a girl, and the alpha boys teased him about it. The whole thing is very silly from an adult perspective, but he was humiliated.


  3. Houdini
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 15:18:22

    This sounds too much like the seeds of the other bullying issues going on in this country. I’d try to talk with the principal or vice principal and point that out. They should take this seriously – sub or no sub – because it can come back to haunt them later. Be straight forward about what you are seeing – provide dates and descriptions of the incidences if needed. This shouldn’t be happening in any school. I think volunteering to be around is good but it may not make the difference you are hoping for.
    Praying all get better soon!


  4. americanlostintokyo
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:42:29

    So sorry to hear that the conversation did not go well. I totally agree with everything that you are saying. There is something fundamentally wrong with “justifying” the action in saying that it was caused by something that Me First said. If Me First did result to name calling (and I am certainly not blaming Me First, because I am sure that the other classmate instigated that too…), then the teacher might have a few words with him about that. However, the “punishment” should always fall heavier on the person who resorted to the fist.

    Your examples are appropriate. I could call someone something really terrible…use horrible, hurtful words…which would be stupid and possibly unforgivable… But, if that person responded to those words by whipping out a baseball bat and then beating me up, is that acceptable??? In my book, no. And, yet, that is what kids are being taught here from a young age. Or, that at least a majority are being taught that the school will let a certain extent slide…so go ahead, if you get annoyed or irritated, bop your neighbor—just make sure that the teacher is not watching at the exact moment.

    I have always felt that schools in US were very strict about this type of thing…inflicting injury on someone. And, still I was surprised when my friend told me that a lot of preschools there are “3 strikes and you’re out” type systems. If you child acts out, hitting, biting, etc. and passes that 3 strike point (sometimes earlier), you are sent packing off to hunt for a new preschool. What a concept! I am pretty sure that a few of my daughter’s classmates in kindergarten here would have been kicked out…

    At any rate, no such system exists here.
    Where are the conduct referrals?
    The detentions? (I know…not in elementary school…but do they ever materialize in middle or high school? Probably not.)
    There is even no way that a teacher in public school can force a child to repeat a grade here (until they finish up some reforms they are working on there at the Mombusho)…no matter how behind in a subject they may be or how bad the test scores they produced were. There are many fundamental problems.

    I send my daughter to a private school (not international school), which I have been very happy with so far. There are many reasons why this came about and a lot I could go into there…but this being a blog and not a personal e-mail, I don’t think I should probably go there. Anyway, despite my positive feelings about this school at the present time, I have still had to put up with my own eraser incidents and most recently the deliberate pushing incident, so no school is perfect. If for some reason things should go totally wrong though, I always reserve the right to transfer her to the public school down the street? ( I know…not a good option there either…)

    Like you say, the time and financial commitment is overwhelming at times at private school. And, just as you point out, it makes it necessary to go back to work to finance this whole thing…which is what I did. If I didn’t, there would be no chance whatsoever of my second daughter being able to attend the school.

    I hope that you stick with the teacher and find some way get through to him!


  5. Kym
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:44:55

    SB sounds like the evil twin.
    Your comment about walking home with a girl gave me chills. My son seems to prefer playing with girls (at four), and just this past week I’ve been wondering, how long will others let this last?
    He’s had nightmares about a boy in his class pushing him, but we’re 99% sure it’s never happened in real life. When I was describing this cute, seemingly well behaved boy to my hub, the best way I could find to describe him was the “alpha male” of the group. Maybe that’s what the dream was about?! It’s sad they get a crash course in pecking orders so young.


  6. J's mom
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 12:24:22

    I don’t want to discourage you, but I am not sure your idea of volunteering at the school will work. Students at my son’s school at like I am an alien from another planet. We don’t have a bullying problem, luckily, though. Hugs to you. Email me if you want to see my blog.


  7. growingup20s
    Oct 22, 2012 @ 10:16:13

    Kids will be kids, yes we all know. It happend to my son at school/daycare. He was riding a little 3-wheeler and another kid jerked him off of it, scratching his neck. His father told him to “punch him in the face” next time HA!… I did not agree. We can worry about punching people in the face later, but he’s 3. I’ve taught my son to point out things that are “not nice” and he acknowledged that what was done to him wasn’t “bary nice.” However, in talking to the director–her response was “well, I didn’t see it, so we can’t say for sure what happened.” Well the teacher DID see it and that’s what she said when his dad picked him up (she was in the process of doctoring him up). I just wanted to make sure there was an action to follow such an act as letting the kid’s parents know ( I would want to know if my kid treated someone like so). Again disappointed in her response “We can ask that he gets his nails clipped.” GGEEZZ! Whatever lady!!

    Good Luck with the bullying issuse–hopefully it won’t happen again and can be resolved. Bullying is such an awful thing… New to the blogging and really enjoy yours:)


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