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[YRP Students' Essays] SO COOL

* In 1956 Horace Miner published the oft reprinted essay, "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" in the academic journal American Anthropologist. In it, he examined North American healthcare from the prospective of an outsider, renaming the United States as "Nacirema," or America spelled backwards. Young people were invited to write their own version of his essay about a culture they had lived in, adopting the voice of an outside observer and perhaps hiding the name of the country for the reader to guess....

Little boys and girls in Japan go to a concrete building everyday. Everyday except for weekends, they go into the building at about eight o'clock and come out at about three o'clock in the afternoon. These mysterious buildings are everywhere, with one acre of land attached to them. This place is "SO COOL"!! That is what they call it.

The day of the boys and girls starts when the sound of the bell rings and the "holy chalk man/woman" enters the room. This person is so clever that they are a paragon for the kids. When he/she enters the room and stands in front of a large green board, the kids all stand up, bow, and sit down. It looks like some kind of religious group, but every time the "holy chalk man/woman" enters the room they repeat this action. The bell rings twelve times a day. Each time the bell rings, the kids know if the "holy chalk man/woman" will come or if they should leave the room. The "holy chalk men/women" are often phlegmatic and meticulous when teaching the kids the basic knowledge that they should know.

At lunch time a few of the children put on white clothes, hats, and masks. They look like they are going to perform some kind of operation. When the large aluminum box and bucket filled with rice and soup arrives, the kids wearing all white start to serve it to others. Children are only able to eat the food that has been prepared for them. After everyone gets their food, they put their hands together and say a magical word. They are not allowed to eat before saying the word. Eating the same food might be an integral part of the children's education, states Mr. Fruichi, a professor of children's learning and education.

After lunch, all the kids start to perform what looks like a musical dance. Some of the kids sweep the room using a thin stick with small bundle of branches attached at the end, while some of the others scurry through the hallway bending down with wet and dirty white clothes.

When the last bell rings, every child comes out laughing and talking. Their faces are filled with great big smiles. Since this place is SO COOL it is called....... socool socool sokool sch........

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Kanae Ukita, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.
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