This is one of those purely Japanese moments that make me stop and realize that I am living in another culture. It is one of those times when the world comes to a screeching halt and I go “wow”. Like the first time I picked up the phone and casually said, “moshi-moshi” instead of willingly suppressing a “hello”. That was a “wow!” moment, particularly for my mother on the other end who didn’t know what to say back to me.
This was another one of those times. At school, I opened up the broom closet in the hallway that I clean and there was a sword there. It wasn’t a big bad real sword made of metal, it was a practice kendo sword. Kendo is the Japanese fencing. I may be wrong but I believe the word literally means “way of the sword”. It is a very popular sport at my school and some of my best kids are on the kendo club. They practice with weighted bamboo swords that simulate the heft and weight distribution of an actual katana (Japanese long sword). They are not deadly, but I wouldn’t want to get smacked in the face with one.
So I grabbed the sword and walked around the halls with it pretending I was a cleaning samurai for a while. All in all it was a really fun time. When we were all finished cleaning I turned the sword into the teachers’ room. I figure a kid took it and dropped it in the locker as a joke to hide it from his buddy: a completely natural occurrence. Still, when I first opened that door and saw it in there I did go, “Huh, there’s a sword in my closet!”