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[YRP Students' Essays] Teen Research in Mish-gun, USB

* 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....

Research has been undertaken by HERP, the Human/Earth Research Project, at Mish-gun High School in the United States of Bamerica. The purpose of the project was to find out about teens' daily lives and educational backgrounds. The project was successful enough to provide much valuable information and examples of interesting customs, and also to set a worldwide measure of the nature teenagers.

Although still dark so early in the morning, many kids start to gather on the sidewalk along the main road. Some of them look extremely tired, yawning with their eyes only half opened. A few start to eat nutrition bars. Several of them cannot shut their mouths; they manage to gossip, who did what and who said what, from six o'clock in the morning. They carry colorful bags on their backs or shoulders, and a few appear to carry fat and enormous dictionary-like books in their arms. After several minutes pass, a humongous yellow truck makes a stop by the sidewalk. The kids line up and shove themselves into the bizarre-looking automobile.

The bus makes its final stop at a huge building. The teens jump out of the bus and rush inside the building. Inside, there are humans everywhere. The long paths called "haal weis" are filled with boys and girls screaming into each others' ears. Boys dash through riding on pieces of wood with four wheels on the bottom shortly after they are chased by their masters yelling from behind.

As a huge sound rings throughout the building, the students make their ways into the smaller divided boxes. They remain quiet in their seats while their master starts his endless speech. On a piece of paper in front of them, some copy the same code that is written on the long white plate at the front, while others decide to draw and exchange messages. The master often asks "questions" to the students, however, many of them only conjecture the answer without reading the text.

The next second, a creepy-looking pink bubble starts to expand from a blonde boy's mouth. Soon it grows to a size of a fist and makes a sound, "pop." The master looks back at the boy, and then points at the door to coerce him out of his lecture. The boy makes a face while he heads out to the path again.

As the fourth "ring" goes off, everybody starts to rush down the path. They gather in a large square and scatter themselves all over the place. They sit in groups of their ilk and open up their brown sacks which contain apples, yogurt, bread called sandwiches and bagels, and various junk food. Others stand in lines to receive their meals from the old ladies standing on the other side of the counters. The newspaper issued in Mish-gun High School has selected a menu called "pee-zaa" as its kids' favorite. The square is filled with various voices, quips, laughter, and shouts. The teens spend approximately thirty minutes in this square. They actually only eat for the first ten minutes. The talking takes over within the next five minute and the last fifteen minutes seems to be chaos as students start to travel around and raise their voices. A study has proven that the teens in Mish-gun can eat, talk, and listen at the same time.

As the final "ring" goes off at 2:17 p.m., all the young humans scamper out the doors on the first floor. They again carry the colorful sacks on their backs and step onto the singular yellow truck that they took in the morning. Some make their way to the other side of the building where hundreds of mini-trucks line up in perfect rows. They take out weapons looking like metal to start the engines and quickly fly out of the site. They all head to their utopia, where school rules no longer restrict them.

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