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
The last minute packing of hopes and dreams and clean socks into a suitcase that threatened to spill over twenty three kilos wasn’t a new experience. I’d crammed enough times to know that I did not need four pairs of black jeans, but that I did need my birkenstocks. Because you learn that it doesn’t matter how Nico looks at you when you wear ‘socks and stocks’ – it’s your life. (Maybe you enjoy looking like a German tourist at a campsite?)
This time felt different though. My brother, Samtag, wasn’t by my side, I took the train to the airport, and I checked in by myself with a sickening smile to sooth hesitations about what loomed before me; senior year. All that stood or more so precariously hung between me and senior year was a thirteen hour flight to Lima, Perú. Within my surprisingly composed exterior, I tossed and turned impatiently. My inner tenth grader that had timidly blended into the TGS family in New Zealand, was healthily terrified. You see, seniors have major ‘street cred’ so to say at TGS. As a senior you’re respected – you’re the embodiment in between the mythical alumni and the impossibility of actually graduating high school. I still remember being awestruck when I met the seniors in Auckland, they were incredible. And then I found myself hoping to be even half the amazing people they were and still are.
Slightly groggy and utterly lost after the flight, it began.
There’s not really a defined moment when you feel like a senior, but it grows on you. All of a sudden, you feel a little ancient amidst the overly enthusiastic newbies that are eager and itching – and all you want to do is finish your EE first draft that was due two weeks ago. And slowly but surely, the worst reality of all set in. This would be the last year with my chosen family; the dams that held back reservoirs of feelings pushed aside seemed to overflow. What would next year be like without them? In an environment where change is the only constant, it’s the class of ‘17 that has become my safety net.
I’ve known these people for a while now. Some even knew me when I was a fourteen-year old struggling to get my washer and dryer to function without shrinking my clothes. I still vividly remember dragging my overweight luggage into my room in New Zealand. That first night, I was utterly yet healthily terrified of all the experiences that encroached. And now I have a collection of memories to go with all those experiences, and only a few stand before me prior to graduation. At this point in time, graduation itself seems like a mythical invention that I’ll never experience, but now all of a sudden I have a grade dinner coming up to plan it all.
I can’t be prouder that I’ll get to stand on that podium with our grade. We might to tempted to leap at each other’s throats at times, but we’re a family. A constant and inconsistent dynamic family. A modern family.
While I should be writing my IAs and EE, I instead look around to see this constructed family. We’re an odd bunch — I can understand why the Samaya that applied was terrified to come here. But now, the fear of leaving everything familiar behind to come to TGS has lost balanced and reversed itself. Currently, I’m battling IB while I stand on the precipice of leaving high school. And now, I’m more so afraid to leave TGS and the people here. It goes to show – change is the only constant.