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November 15, 2006

Myojo 2006.11

I have not even once since middle school cram school invested energy in the tests that accompany passing from middle to high school and then to university. Even though I usually didn't pay attention in class, one week before a test I would suddenly start cramming like mad, not sleeping more than two hours a night. This attitude towards tests has already become normal for me. My friends in class who knew this established habit of mine before a test would always tell me, "Wow, you're really serious!" or "Do you like studying?". And those friends who said this to me were usually the ones who barely managed not to get red numbers [Note: you need 100 points for passing, if you're below 25, I think, you're in the red numbers which means you are in danger of not passing]. I totally hated when they said that to me. Words like "You're really serious!" are supposed to be words of praise, but when they said them to me, they meant them obviously ironically. When they said "Do you like studying?", they looked at me as if someone who liked studying was not even human. Why do people make fun of someone who studies earnestly? And why say this to me on top of that, who rather than liking to study, did so grudgingly, thinking "You won't need the knowledge gained in school in your life anyway, studying is just a waste of time."

In middle school it was a lot of pressure to juggle both school and my job, and I did my best not to make any compromises for either. In high school when the time arrived to enter university, I planned on working harder than anyone else to get favorable, good results. And I worried about what faculty to enter at university. Looking back once more at my middle and high school life, having done well so far in my studies, I realized one reason for that.

"I don't like studying. I like learning about things."

Studying tends to be something you are forced to do, whereas learning about things you like is something you do of your own free will, thus putting in an effort. Everyone has subjects they like and subjects they hate. In the subjects you like you have good grades, while your grades in the subjects you hate are bad - that's because you're more willing to learn about the subjects you like, I think. This is not only the case with school, with the interest in music and theater it's the same. You pick up the things you have an interest in almost in an instant, they come to you very easily. For me who is full of curiosity, if it's for the things that interest me like for example music or fashion, I do a lot to gain knowledge about even seemingly unimportant things. I read magazines, I talk to other people, I have an interest to learn. There are a lot of moments at the dorama location I'm at right now when I feel that it's because I've come to learn a lot this way that I'm able to talk about various topics with the other cast members. This is something I can tell everyone, the more knowledge you've gathered, the more there is you can talk about with other people, thus gaining new knowledge.

If you think of it like this, my friends who said these things to me may have let their chance to learn something slip. What a waste, what a loss. Because they are my friends and precious to me, I'd like them to confront themselves more, they will surely find that there is something that interests them and that it is worth learning about.

When I was in primary school, I used to think for the longest time, "Why do schools have to exist! Stupid Fukuzawa Ronkichi!!" (Fukuzawa Ronkichi is the author of "Gakkou no susume".) But at the time he lived, only a part of the rich people could afford going to school. After these times education has become compulsory, and because "compulsory" sounds like "being forced", we feel uncomfortable at the word. Now being able to study is something normal, but the people living in these times felt the joy of studying, even if they couldn't go to school, they probably were just happy if they could learn something. It's cheeky of me to say this since I never paid attention in class, but I want those people who hate school to not just go to class with these feelings of dislike, I'd like them to search for the joy in learning. Because then there might come the day when they think "School isn't that bad after all."

Translated by riccichan

* Do not repost/retranslate w/o permission *

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