Monday, November 27, 2006


I love boys. And most of all, these boys. I first noticed the divide between boys and girls, men and women, when during my first weeks at school. Actually, during my first week in Japan, when a group of us got in trouble for the mixing of the two during onsen.
But I didn't fully catch on until the day the kids were allowed to choose their own seating arrangement in class. I arranged the chairs into a circle for a class where the students had to give mini presentations. It was amazing to see how half of the class sat on one side, boys, and the other half on the other, girls. And their were 2 empty seats between the two groups.
"Whaaaaat?" was what went on inside my head. See, in Japanese society, the two genders work very differently than they do in many other western places. Men sit and work with men, and women with women. Very simple.
And though this is the standard practice among all age groups, it still confuses me when I go to group functions, and I always end up chilling with the guys. Even tonight at our Nomikai after the hike, I conformed to the rule that we should sit where our elders expect us to sit. The teachers all motioned me to sit at the other head of the table where I was two tables away from where all the women sat. I wondered why I wasn't put with them, but didn't argue since I tend to prefer to sit with the guys anyway. I mean, I seem to get along with Japanese males much better, for some reason.
The thing is, though, that the boys and girls learn this behavior very early in life, and it is a bit surprising to see the degrees of intimacy that similar genders share here.

The baseball team is highly exclusive, as they do not sit, walk with, or even really chat with others who are not the baseball team.
Even the boys can be very intimate with each other, and it is not seen in any way strange.
I mean, they even hold hands with each other. Seriously, isn't it cute?
It is a very friendly atmosphere despite the divide.
I mean, isn't it cute?
Do you see how these boys are pretending to kiss each other?

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