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It's the beginning of the new school year in Japan.

Walking past the local university today, I saw all of the freshmen out on campus looking dazed, carrying orientation packets, and chatting in small groups. The were busy trying to figure it all out before classes begin and signing themselves up for interesting campus organizations to meet people and fill their newly free hours after years of cram schools and entrance exam pressures.

It looked like they were new hires at a conservative company. They were all wearing suits. Everyone had fresh haircuts or carefully applied cosmetics. They were quite a contrast to the upperclassmen who were wearing jeans and artfully rumpled t-shirts, tossled hairstyles and a lot of attitude.

Some of the frosh had their parents in tow. It was cute. They looked so young-- soft-featured, unsullied, eager. Their parents seemed to be my age, which struck me as odd. Then I realised that I entered university 22 years ago.

Yeah, OK. I walked on past a little faster.

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Reminds me of when I was entering my last year of university. A large group of orientation packet-bearing freshmen came passing below the window of the school newspaper editorial office where I worked. I went out on the balcony and yelled down, "It's a cookbook!" which only makes sense if you've seen that episode of The Twilight Zone. (Americans my age have seen EVERY episode of The Twilight Zone, so it was no risk on my part.) http://twilightzonemuseum.com/autokiel1.jpg

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  • nils: Reminds me of when I was entering my last year read more