Books Where The Main.Charaxyers Story Is Only.Told Over Christmas Kojima Nobuo’s The American School – A Review

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Kojima Nobuo’s The American School – A Review

The short story, “The American School” by Kojima Nobuo offers a slightly humorous look at the fictional (yet plausible) accounts of several Japanese English teachers who were forced to attend a newly established American school in Japan shortly after the end of World War II. 2. The plot centers around four main characters- Isa is the protagonist who is forced to teach English as he knows a few words and phrases but hates the language as he cannot pronounce it well. Shibamoto is the head of the Japanese procession visiting the school (although we don’t know much about him because the narrator rarely gives his perspective). Yamada is an overachieving sock-up who speaks English well enough to keep up with the American soldiers and thus considers himself better than Isa (putting her in an antagonistic position), and Michiko is the only woman in the group, who interestingly enough speaks better English than Yamada. . As their procession moves toward the American school, the reader gets to see both Japanese and American cultural traits; United States soldiers driving their jeeps and interacting with local people walking alongside, as well as the behavior of American children at school.

An example of this is how Americans seem indifferent and impatient with the Japanese and their ways. For example, Yamada encounters an American soldier in a jeep who, when he sees that Yamada’s leader is late for his appointment with US officials, throws his hands in the air and quips, “I’m really too good to keep you waiting.” sorry.” With this rushed, “just-in-time” attitude, the verses seem to symbolize the simpler nature of the Japanese, a cultural difference, if you will, between West and East.

Another example showing differences in cultural characteristics occurs later. Isa and Michiko are waiting in line for a tour inside the school when Michiko sees the two students holding hands in “mutual fascination”. Michiko says, “Look at those two over there—how disgusting!” Which suggests that either Michiko had never seen two lovers holding hands before, or holding hands in public was not something that was generally accepted in Japanese culture at the time. Kojima Nobuo usually points to such cultural rifts and usually does not come directly with claims to enlighten a culture. Thus, he tricks by assuming that the reader is smart enough to make his own assumptions and judgments. When Michiko falls off her high heels and sees what happened to the policy, we know she’s a cocky, arrogant American as she says, “Ah yes. The old kamikaze spirit.”

In conclusion, “The American School” is a short well-written, sometimes satirical story that helps to ponder some of the many differences in cultural characteristics between Japan and the United States during the end of World War II.

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