Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
by Aron Solomon, Head of School
I have no idea why, but the other day, I wanted to know how fast a cannonball travels. “To calculate the speed of a cannonball,” it said, “we need to know how far it has gone and how long it took to get there.”
The first two weeks at TGS have been either the cannonball or the cannon – I’m not yet sure which one – but I know that our students, our teachers, Stockholm, our amazing host school – they’re all part of the requisite physics.
Yesterday, I showed a few of our students a photo taken the day after they arrived in Stockholm, which was nine days before. In the best of all ways, it seemed like weeks, if not months ago. We look back at images of who we were such a short time ago and are struck at how much we’ve evolved. How quickly. How well we learn to take corners. “Had I really never eaten knackebrod two weeks ago?”. “Is this really my first time living away from home?”
I clearly remember, years ago, speaking to a group of prep school admissions professionals who were asking how to fill an entering class with well-rounded students. “Why do you want classes of only well-rounded kids?” I asked. “Don’t you really want a well-rounded class comprised of young people who are passionate about something – whatever that something is?” There’s huge distinction between the two.
We have that well-rounded class at TGS.
It’s evident every time we see the students pursue their passions. Late yesterday afternoon, I came home from a meeting to hear this amazing acoustic guitar and two amazing young women singing. I then walked to another room and heard classical piano, which I would have sworn was coming from an iPod but was, in fact, being played live by a TGS student. Then I heard chopping and caught the scent of sesame oil and spinach and then the sounds of Dutch being spoken. It’s all part of calculating the speed of the cannonball – we measure how far we are going and how long it takes us to get there.
It’s an honour and a pleasure to spend my days with them. They’re bright and engaged and grateful and funny and everything we hoped they’d be. So in what is becoming ceremonial here at TGS Stockholm, I raise a glass of yogurt which we really thought was milk (sorry, world, but the students will get that – it’s one of the few mistakes we keep repeating) and wish them and all of you a fantastic day!