Teenagers of Mito


A girl runs up behind two friends and throws her arms around them giggling quietly. Smiles break out as those surprised turn to recognise her face. Conversation breaks out as it always does with teenagers.

Two boys walk along.  They are clearly childhood buddies from the way the taller one has his arm draped over the shoulder of the smaller. They are grinning from ear to ear and their eyes fall on the girls the way all boys’ eyes do.

School uniforms are worn with disdain.  A requirement that is seen as a way to strangle individuality. I did the same when I was theit age some twenty years ago in a land across the oceans. Some skirts are hitched up to fall above the knee. Shirts are shabbily tucked with corners starting to show from the waist bands. Fashionable t-shirts show through white blouses (do men wear blouses or should I use a different word?). Ties has come loose and, if you look closely, you’ll notice that leather shoes are scuffed.

But there’s still a sense of style.  This is how uniformed teens show themselves. They don’t want to be confined or restrained. None of us did when we were that age. They might speak Japanese but they are just like the kids at home both now and in the past. It’s refreshing and fun and pure. Like teenagers everywhere,  they have their whole adult lives to conform to society’s demands. It’s good to see them rebel and try to find themselves through the rigours, stresses and confines that come with secondary education. 


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