Saturday, December 18, 2004

Another Japanese moment...

USJ Christmas Tree
The largest christmas tree in Japan, at Universal Studios Japan

I was recently asked by the Principle of Tyler's Pre-school to act as this year's Santa Claus, and of course I gladly volunteered. Arrangements were made for me to meet with him this morning after dropping Tyler off to discuss the day's schedule, and so after getting Tyler settled we got together and I discovered that he speaks quite good English.

I followed his car in mine to his Kindergarten, which in Japan is comprised of childen aged 3-5, or by this stage of the year many are in the range of 4-6 years old. We went inside and entered the warmth of the staff room, where I met their part time English teacher, Hellen. The Principal then took me upstairs to a large hall, where some of the children's mothers were working as volunteer Santa's helpers by packing christmas gifts into bags which were then placed into large white sacks for distribution by yours truly.

Archway in a temple's grounds
Archway in a temple's grounds.

At this stage I was introduced to the Kindergarten's principle, who supplied us with schedules for the day, and we sat down on the steps leading up to the hall's stage to go over them. (yes, I know this is all very dull I did this, and I did that kinda thing, but it's leading up to something...). They day's events had been planned out to an accuracy of 5 minutes in true Japanese efficiency, and included were diagrams outlining Santa's entrance to the stage, which was to be executed by no less than a professional magician!

We took to the stage and walked through Santa's magic entrance before returning to the Principle's office to try on the Santa costume which they were providing, complete with new rubber wellies bought to spec (27.5cm). After the successful fitting we reclined in his leather sofas to watch a short video demonstrating the magician himself performing the magic entrance, follwed by some Japanese green tea and a few minutes light conversation.

The Principle putting his cup down was the sign that the proceedings had drawn to an end, and so I followed suit and then went to stand up. While I was still in a half-squat he stopped and said:

"Oh... your zipper is open."

I looked down and observed that this was very true. For a brief moment I took the time to wonder when exactly it had come undone?

Was it while trying on the Santa costume? No, I just pulled it on over my jeans...

While we were sitting on the steps in the hall or practicing the magic entrance? Not likely...

Was it open while I introduced myself to Hellen? um...

Maybe Tyler's teachers had failed to notice it when I had dropped him off all of an hour or so ago...

Most likely, after waking, grabbing the closest bundle of clothes to the bed and making the brave dash across the fozen floor to the heater, I had in fact in my haste to don a warm woollen jumper simply pulled on my jeans and in my haste forgotten to... um, oh dear.

Well, I've never been known to show an aversion to public expositionism - I said "Oh, excuse me!", turned around and then showed them a little magic of my own... tada! Zipper up! After some brief, awkard chuckling we left the moment behind us.

Universal Studios Japan
Merry Christmas!

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