Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2004 at 8:18am by Brett.
(Monday, April 12th, 2004 at 9:18pm Japanese Standard Time)
This month has been the month of perpetual move in for the first years. Beacuse of this, the student organizations have been out in force. For the last week or so, each evening I have been visisted by at least 5 different groups wanting me to join their clubs or circles.
Japanese colleges, and general education system also, put high value on extracurricular activities--they count if not more than, at least as much as the grades you get. For that reason, some circles and clubs take things VERY seriously. (Band, anyone?) These organizations are not unlike frats in the states, only much more important.
Tonight, as I was finishing in the shower I heard this loud noise. Screaming, pounding, cheering. I was interested, and a little concerned. It sounded like a huge number of people were in the open area by the Oikoshi Community center, which is next to the showers.
I got outside and the source of the noise was immediately noticable. There was a ridiculous amount of people not IN the open area, but crammed on the steps that surround 2 sides of the 4-sided open space. They were, in fact, screaming, pounding, and cheering at something in the middle of the open area. Though I couldn't see what it was, I looked around the crowd, and was certain that I was witnessing a lynching.
These people had signs, golf and hockey clubs, and tennis, lacrosse, and badminton rackets...and were making quite a big one, themselves...If I would have been in the states, I would have expected white hoods and burning crosses...
My first thought was "You're a foreigner. RUN." Then I realized, "Wait a minute. These aren't the sounds of a large, angry, lynching mob. These are the sounds of a large...happy mob."
Curiousity took over, and I walked to the stairs to see what was going on. I pushed my way through the crowd to see into the open area, where there were about 5 terrified looking kids--who had to be freshmen--standing looking around nervously, but happily.
I looked around myself, and noticed that the signs had the names of different clubs and circles on them, and each club had brought the equipment associated with that club. The freshmen in the middle were apparently meant to go to one of the groups that was shouting for them.
After that lot cleared, I was interested where more people would come from. It appeared that they had people to "recruit" innocent walkers-by by guiding them into the middle of the open area, then running back out, and of course with lots of shouting.
Interesting, indeed. I curiously looked to see if the band was there. It wasn't. The burden of recruiting new members is, of course, on their disciples...