It has started.
Not so much with me here and now, but it will come, but already almost every conversation I have with anyone ends up on the topic of Yakkuin, and what that person will do if they their name comes up.
I have mentioned this before, probably around the same time last year. ‘ Yakkuin’ is like a committee member, and every single thing has it’s own committee, and parents, by which of course I mean MOTHERS, are required to do at least a year in each while their child is involved.
Maybe I will leave the utter pointlessness, the total powerlessness of these committees to another post, but suffice to say, people, women, mothers, who are already maxed out on things to do, are already worried that their name will come out of the hat, to do their yakkuin duty for the coming new school year.
So one woman I teach was late for the lesson yesterday. She apologised and said the meeting ran on because they had to find 6 incoming members to replace the 6 outgoing ones. If no replacements can be found the incumbent member will be ‘asked’ to do another year.
The irony is that Japanese translate this into ‘volunteer’.
So my student, goes on to say that the meeting, to which she had to take her 2 daughters, age 2 and 4, started at 10a.m. Her lesson was at 4pm?
She said they had to ‘select’ new ‘volunteers’ and call them up on the phone. She said most people refused.
By lunchtime they had 2 new
lambs to the slaughter ‘volunteers’,
so, after someone was despatched to the bakery to buy sandwiches for lunch for everyone, they got out a map and went around to peoples’ houses on the theory it is harder to refuse in person than on the phone.
seems the theory holds water, they got 3 more ‘volunteers’.
The schools, the nursery schools, daycares all require this.
Then there is the GAKKUDO, which is the after school
care system, where kids go because their parents work outside of regular school hours.
Then there is KODOMOKAI, which are kids groups set up in each area. It is nigh on impossible to refuse to put your kids in these groups and they then require the mother’s minimum one year yakkuin duties.
The thing is, most women work these days, so to do the school yakkuin which has it’s meetings weekdays, requires taking unpaid time off work.
To do the gakkudo yakkuin, which is specifically designed to help working women, you have to give up Saturday evenings for meetings and many Sundays for events, the only time they actually get with their families when they are not working.
The same goes for Kodomokai. So if you have more than one child you could quite easily find yourself doing two yakkuins in one year for consecutive years.
And they wonder why the birthrate is so low.
There is so little time left to raise and enjoy being with your kids while you are ‘volunteering’ to be involved on all these committees.
Doris starts Junior High School in April. They choose names out of a hat in the big hall, on the day, at the entrance ceremony. I’ll start stressing that one soon.