“Today at 7 o’clock a man was found unconscious suffering neck wounds and profuse bleeding at a local rent-a-car. Locals called the authorities.
The man, who is said to be in his 40s was found in the drivers seat of the car. From the right side of his neck bullet wounds could be seen. He has been taken to the hospital where he currently remains unconscious.”
So came the bulletin at work the other day.
The term “sensei,” which is often translated as “teacher,” can also be used to refer to a doctor or other person of trust. The position of teacher is something somewhat revered in Japan, and it’s no wonder. The elementary teacher and middle school teacher (which I specifically mention because of my first hand experience working with them) are responsible for more than simply educating children ages 6 to 15. They become veritable guardians of their students, welcoming them to school from between 7 to 8am everyday until 4 to 5 in the evening. This means that teachers are at work early, and do not return home till late: planning school events like sports days, cultural festivals, field trips, organizing club activities, marking… the list goes on. Not only this but teachers are also required to act during emergencies and local disturbances. This was the case, much to my surprise, after the earthquake in Fukushima where teachers maintained schools-turned refugee shelters: hundreds of refugees from municipalities around the Fukushima 2nd Nuclear Power Plant came to live in the gymnasiums at the schools in my town and the teachers were in charge of taking care of everyone (although they had a large volunteer staff also at their disposal).
The day of the shooting was no exception and the sensei were all required to patrol and escort the students home and then the next day ensure their safe passage to the school grounds. As an ALT (third-party employed) I was of course not required to do anything whatsoever but fell to the buzz in the air and volunteered to help the youngins on their way.