Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Soukou: Wolf sacrifices beasts/ wild camellias bloom (3 of 5)

October 27th, 2008

Soukou 3 of 15Autumn is the offical season for picnicing and this is definitely one of my favourite activities in Tokyo. It not only presents the occasion for inventive cooking, but also offers an opportunity for people-watching.

Today we headed to Kitanomaru Koen for a leisurely picinc. When we arrived there were about 100 school children of varying sizes spread across one lawn. They just finished their lunches. The older boys were throwing things (balls, sticks, anything) while the girls were skipping around the green. Just as they were packing up, another 100 school children descended on the park. This group was older, perhaps first year of junior high school students. They were wearning casual clothes and pink scarfs. In the most (self-) organised fashion (without supervision of any kind), they formed small groups, took out their 1 meter-square plastic picnic mats (each had different colours, patterns and designs), sat down, and started on the picnic lunches O-kaa-san (mother) had prepared.

Whilst everyone were enjoying their picnics, there was one girl who was still standing with her back-pack on. It was clear that she didn’t have any friends to sit with. She was looking around at her classmates and couldn’t decide whether she should just ask to join a group or sit down by herself. She started to take her back-pack off then decided against it and put it back on again. No one seemed to have noticed her. One group of children nearby (quite unusally made up of both boys and girls) was joking around and generally making a loud racket. They were those unconventional arty kids we all know at school. The girls in the group saw our girl and started talking to her. I was so relieved to see the girl taking off her back-pack, taking out her picnic-mat and joining the group for lunch.

5 Responses to “Soukou: Wolf sacrifices beasts/ wild camellias bloom (3 of 5)”

  1. 1 Lucas in Austinmer
    October 29th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    great story jo. maybe it’s a parable about the tendency of art (those “arty kids”) to accomodate whatever’s left out/left over/ unused/discarded in society. how’s that for an over-the-top interpretation!?

  2. 2 jolaw
    October 29th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Hey Lucas, were you one of those ‘arty kids’ at school?

  3. 3 Lucas
    October 31st, 2008 at 11:51 am

    not really. i didn’t have the funny haircuts or nothing. i knew nothing of fashion (still don’t). i was more of an “empowered nerd” i think.

  4. 4 Silvia Kwon
    December 10th, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I do think ‘arty’ types are more sensitive to others – especially those on the fringes – probably because they are themselves not at the conventional centre..I wonder if one could say they have more ‘humanity’?

  5. 5 jolaw
    December 15th, 2008 at 8:54 am

    It’s hard being an outsider in a society that emphasizes so much on the group. I was one of those kids who talked to their own lunch boxes during recess. That was until my younger cousin also started at the same school, then we wandered together and talked to sparrows on the playground.

    I wonder what happens to loners in these societies. Are they the ones who eat by themselves at ramen bars? Perhaps they are the daring sorts who wear modified aprons as dresses? Maybe they go to artschools to find out why everyoneelse seems to be a joiner?