Yes They Can

Photograph: Graham Whitby Boot/Allstar

Almost 24 hours ago I was crouched in front of this very computer to watch The Inauguration. Even though there have been other inaugurations, this one deserves capitalisation.

I should say now, I’m not American. This you might have inferred from the lack of the letter “z” in this blog so far (though the spellchecker constantly tries to correct me). Last night however, was the third time in my life that I almost wished I was. (The second was during Obama’s victory speech, the first was some years ago on a beach in San Diego. Tequila was involved. In the latter, not the former.)
Today, I taught five classes. One was made up of 4- and 5-year-olds and one had a group of exceptionally quiet girls, but in the other three I was greeted by Japanese children leaping around the classroom shouting “Yes we can!! Yes we can!!” on repeat. They learned the words “inauguration”, “speech” and also, “assassination”. 
Obviously, that last word was not part of the lesson plan. In fact, none of those words were, but the a word came up in response to a group of 7-year-old boys miming the assassination of “Keneji“, a chair playing the role of the Book Depository. 
That this event has permeated the minds of school children in a small town in the Japanese countryside is some indicator of its importance. It was something to follow in the media, to discuss and to explain to the children. 
I, for one, will remember where I was when a black man took “a most sacred oath”. I will tell my children about it. 
And for once,  I hope, really hope, that those kids will forget a word I taught them. 

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