Thursday, 28 May 2015
Murderers Just Don't Say Good Morning
In 2005 I was having dinner with a professor of law who taught at a prestigious university. He was telling me about a case with a particularly violent offender. During interviews with the man's family it turned out that his mother had never said "welcome home" (okaeri). "No wonder he became a criminal" my acquaintance exclaimed vehemently, "he never learned the most basic thing about living in society!"
In 2011 I was teaching at a junior high school in a low socio-economic status area with a number of pretty troubled students. There was violence, teen pregnancy, kids cracking open beers on the front steps of the school, that sort of thing. The principal made a speech to the assembled student body about how if they just worked on their greetings, their lives would change for the better.
These experiences are why, when I started watching the TV drama "あいしてる” and a kid came home from school without saying "I'm home" (tadaima) I knew he was going to get into serious trouble. Sure enough, episode two and he'd smashed another kid's head in.
Aisatsu, guys. Don't mess with the greetings.