Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Went to Minami Osawa Gakuen School for Children with Special Needs.
The temperature was a little high, but the humidity must have been low as it was cooler in the shade. It was delightfully refreshing.
Ms. S and Mr. M came to school to interview me as soon as I arrived at the school.
Mr. K also joined me around the bell time as he had done the week before. He stood by me with a sign hanging from his neck saying "Protect Ms. Nezu from Dismissal; Stop 'Kimigayo' Coercion," and greeted students cheerfully. "I'd like to show your principal and his staff that there are teachers supporting you," said Mr. K. His words made me very happy.
This morning, Mr. S, Mr. S2, a friend of Mr. S2, Ms. T, a university student, and Ms. M arrived one after the other.

Our group was too big and the sun was too bright to talk outside, and so we decided to go to a coffee shop in Oyamadairi Park next to the school. We were delighted to learn that any drink was 100 yen each! It was wonderful to see the interaction between warmly welcoming store staff and the student staff on practicum who were working very hard.

In one half of the coffee shop, young dads and moms with infants and toddlers were mingling and chatting. It has been a while since I last saw so many babies that close.
While fully enjoying being in that lovely space, we had a great time chatting and laughing.
At the time of school dismissal, I greeted students in front of the school gates as usual.

Today a few future colleagues spoke to me.
"You don't get any salary or bonus?"
(Myself: "Of course not.")
"That's horrible. Still, you are fighting for your beliefs. I thank you very much."
"I do know I must sit down as you do for the 'Kimigayo' performance, but…"
"Let us know if there is anything we can do to help."
I found these words encouraging.