Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dancing clean

This post is kind of like when they say “Captain's log: supplemental” on Star Trek. As I think I've mentioned previously, schoolkids in Japan spend 15 minutes a day cleaning the school. If I'm not doing anything important, as is the case 90% of the time, I join in. There are many kinds of cleaning that happen, and I think the students have some kind of rota worked out. But I usually just grab a broom, and head for a room that might actually be dirty, like an art or home economics room. Normal classrooms don't have much opportunity to gather dust in the 24 hours since their last sweeping, and I find it kind of depressing to sweep an already clean room.

But there's currently a much more fun cleaning activity on offer. Since there is 60cm of snow on the ground (they have a measuring stick), some students shovel snow out of the carpark and onto a nearby frozen pond. This is my kind of cleaning. Physical, manly cleaning. I particularly like breaking up the snow mound by wielding a spade like I'm some kind of wintry samurai.

Anyway, during this cleaning time they always play music over the school PA system. Their choices of tune often strike me as a little odd. One of my schools plays The land of hope and glory, which just seems a bit too stirring for idly sweeping fluff from under bookcases. Another plays music that made me feel exactly like I was playing an RPG on a 16-bit console. I eventually asked a student what it was and he told me it was from Kingdom Hearts, so I was more-or-less right. But my current school takes the prize. They play a weird mid-90s dance style reworking of Abba's Dancing Queen. It's amazing. Today I managed to record a little sample of it on my phone. Apologies for the quality. Check out the funky breakdown and the pseudo-scratching sampling effect.

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