11 December 2003

Raining in Fukuoka

Again, it's raining in Fukuoka and today’s news is rather dull so I’ll have to tell a story from yesterday: I’m going to be Santa Claus at a local kindergarten. I’m not real clear why they asked me and I think it’s partially because I’m bigger than most Japanese, but it sounded like fun so I agreed. Yesterday, I went over to the church where the school is to learn the ins-and-outs of being a Japanese Santa Claus. It’s pretty involved actually.

I have to sneak into the building at about 11 in the morning next Wednesday. The principal was very adamant about that. Apparently last year one of the kids recognized the Santa and some sort of unspeakable disaster occurred. Anyway, so I sneak in at 11 and put on the costume in one of the back rooms. I tried it on yesterday in front of the principal and one of the teachers. They seemed like it would work (“Segoi! Wow! Good Santa!”). I get to wear a beard and everything too and ring some sleigh bells.

At about 11:30 there’s going to be this assembly and the kids are going to sing a Santa Claus song and then when they get to the second verse they're going to start yelling, “Santa san! Santa san!” and I’m supposed to come into the assembly, ringing the bells and saying ho-ho-ho and all that crap. Then the kids will settle down and I’m supposed to greet them. “In Japanese?” I asked, but the principal was pretty adamant: “Oh no, no, in English. I’ll translate.” I’m a little confused about this because if they want the children to think I’m the real Santa Claus, shouldn’t I speak Japanese? I mean, can’t Santa speak all languages? This didn’t seem to be a big concern for them. After I greet the children, I’m supposed to answer six questions that will be provided to me on Wednesday. Apparently each class gets to ask one question. Then I give gifts to three of the kids from my bag and leave the assembly. I’m sort of like Batman.

All that to say, I’ve been working on my Santa voice, but it still sucks. Dan’s going to come to take pictures so I may be able to let you see what happened.