Cleaning Windows with Pornographic Newspaper

Every now and then, I am baffled at what daily life in Japan throws at me. Whether it’s witnessing co-workers brushing their teeth at their desk, or watching other teachers use rulers and white-out to make handouts, instead of using the computer. Yes, Japanese culture can seem quite different than American culture at times. However, for every minor annoyance, there is always a positive cultural treat. Like having teachers bring in homemade sweets, or gifts from places they visited. And that’s why I came here. I wanted to expose myself to a totally new way of thinking, as I believe there is a lot to learn from immersing yourself in a foreign country.

However, yesterday tops the list of, “What the %&$#@*! ONLY IN JAPAN.” Let me explain…

It all started after school during the cleaning period. Everyday after all the classes, students clean for fifty minutes. This is a pretty cool concept, as it teaches students to work together, while making them take pride in their school. It also eliminates the need for custodians.

Since I spent most the day cooped up in the teachers office, I asked if I could help clean. Now, I tried to clean at my other school, but for some reason they wouldn’t let me. Luckily, this school was fine with me volunteering.

The Japanese English teacher told me I could clean the windows, and handed me a bottle of window cleaner. When I asked for a towel he replied, “Just use the newspaper over there.”

“Wouldn’t this get the newspaper ink on the windows?” I asked. He looked at me like it is completely normal to used newspaper, instead of towels when it comes to cleaning windows. So, we went into the hallway, crumpled up some paper, and went to town.

“Iwaya Chūgakkō (the name of the junior high school) is really a sweat shop,” he said. We both shared a laugh, and he soon left me on my own with the bottle of cleaning solution and that day’s newspaper.

After going through a few sheets of paper from the sports section, I reached down to pick up the next page to crumple. As I pulled the page out, something caught my eye. Rather, somethingS caught my eye. To my surprise, it was a full on color picture of a big set of taddies. And it wasn’t just one picture. There were a few spread over a couple pages. Surely, this couldn’t be in the back of the sports section in the daily newspaper!

But, it was. I stood there in disbelief, just thinking, “Right now, I’m washing windows with pornographic newspaper. Is this really happening?” Once I realized that this was indeed reality, I quickly covered up the pictures so the students wouldn’t see. But maybe it’s not a big deal to them. After all, if it’s in the regular newspaper, they must already know about it, right?

So, in a sense, I was cleaning away the sins of the newspaper, while cleaning the window panes. I’d say that’s pretty efficient. There are many things in Japan that I can’t explain. But this definitely takes the cake. I tell you, you just can’t make this stuff up if you tried!

6 thoughts on “Cleaning Windows with Pornographic Newspaper

  1. Not crazy but cleansey, denversun.
    Anyone would know that way here in Japan, where almost all news papers are printed on recycled papers and much softer due to their fiber fineness. And ink on paper cuts oil on the grimy window. Disposable. So it is the best way for us to clean windows.

  2. This post gave me a great chuckle–as a retired school administrator (U.S.) I can only imagine the ruckus that would occur if some of our Jr. Hi kids came upon the newspaper you describe, particularly if at school. Ha!

    Best wishes for a very happy New Year as you continue your work!

  3. Hi. I found your blog from MSN jpn site. The link to this entry is posted there! Now your blog is well known to all the Japanese people…you are a famous “Gaijin” now! Haha.
    I’m glad that you are introducing true Japanese culture to the non-Japanese population. Some are funny, some doesn’t make sense, but some are really good. I grew up in Japan and moved to the states when I was 16 and still living in the states now in mid 30s. I totally understand what you are seeing and experiencing. I definitely think it’s a great thing to clean your own classroom. First, I couldn’t understand why a lot of my classmates from high school in the US were purposefully making a big mess and leaving the toilet so nasty. They didn’t care because they didn’t have to clean the mess. In Japan, most students tried to keep school clean because we had to clean our own mess including the nasty bathroom. When you know you have to clean at the end of the day, you try to keep it clean. You have more appreciation. I wish we can teach all the teenagers in the states about the importance of keeping the place clean!!! Thanks for your contribution to the Japanese students and their education.

    • Hi Nikki. Thank you for reading my blog. That’s crazy that MSN jpn has a link to this blog! I agree with you on having students in the US clean their school. Thanks for the support!

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