Thursday 7 February 2013

The Bullying Update

First off, I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support, sorry I haven't had chance to answer everyone personally. 

If you are reading this and wonder what I am talking about, the first post is HERE.

So, Tuesday, finished with Sensei visiting the 2 bully's homes and then called here to tell Ebi-kun what was going on and that the boys would be apologizing the next day.

Wednesday, Ebi-kun went off to school, he walks to school with a different bunch of kids, even so, he wasn't his usual chipper self. Of course, I spent all day worrying - like you do!
He got back all smiles and in a great mood. He told me that when he got to school R-kun (main instigator) came over to him and apologised, without Sensei telling him. Then a bit later Sensei had all three  boys together and talked to them, more apologies.

I asked Ebi-kun if he thought R-kun was really sorry or just saying sorry because he had been told to, he believes R-kun was being genuine. The reason I asked was that I had remembered an incident last term when L-kun (the other boy involved) broke Ebi-kun's umbrella. At the time, I put it down to boys arsing around, now I am not so sure. Anyway, L-kun's mom arrived that day with a new umbrella, cookies and a thousand apologies, he son on the other hand was no apologetic and gave a flippant 'gomen'. From what I can gather L-kun only apologised when sensei made him do it.

Ebi-kun and L-kun have known each other for quite a while, they played together in the same park when they were little, it was L-kun who broke the cherry tree saplings and L-kun's mom apologised to me after L-kun punched Ebi-kun, blaming it on the TV programmes he watches (Ultraman et al). She should thank her lucky starts that my Japanese isn't that good or she would have been going home with serious earache that day!

Ebi-kun walked home yesterday with L-kun and a few other kids from his class, R-kun had been picked up from school for swimming class so he wasn't there. Ebi-kun said that nothing happened on the way home, so I am hoping that will be the end of it.

The tough-nut in the class, is a boy fondly known in our house as mullet-boy and he lives just round the corner. Him and Ebi-kun are friends but not best mates, Ebi-kun did say that no one picks on him when mullet-boy is walking home with them, trouble is mullet-boy's mom works so he goes to after school club two or three times a week.

So, now we wait and see. I am impressed with how quick Sensei reacted and dealt with the situation. We haven't had the 2 boys come round to the house and apologise, which is what I was expecting - it is the Japanese way. Today I will bake some cake or cookies for the moms who stepped in, the English speaking mom has a 2nd grader boy, the other mom has a boy who I am guessing is 3rd grade, they have invited Ebi-kun to go and call round to play sometime, so I will encourage him to do that.

Previous to this incident, we had already decided to take Ebi-kun to Aikido to see how he likes it. We think it is the martial art most suited for his personality and one that fits with our beliefs. Akido is a way to defend yourself whilst protecting the attacker from injury, it doesn't need physical strength as the person uses the other persons force and displaces it. The other thing is that there is a strong emphasis on training the mind and body to stay calm in stressful situations. This is why the Japanese riot police have to undertake one year of intensive Aikido training. We will see how it all goes on Sunday. 

The silver lining in all this is that because that mom stepped in, we are now aware of the situation and Ebi-kun now knows that 'he doesn't have to get used to it'. 


  1. GREAT update Jo. So glad to hear it - and very pleased that at least one of the boys came over to apologize before the teacher lined them up.

  2. So glad things are looking up. I hope that the bully's apologies will be the end of their bad behaviour.

  3. I am so so sorry that this happened to Ebikun. Your last post made me cry. I cried, of course, for poor Ebi-kun suffering and gammaning, but also for the goodness of the mom who put a stop to it. I can only imagine what you have been going through. Bullying, especially on that long unattended walk home, is something we all dread, or at least I do. I am very glad that the teacher is taking quick and (hopefully) effective action. L-kun does sound like a long-term worry.

    Thinking of you and your son.


    1. Hopefully the classes will be mixed up next year and then he will be walking home with other kids - I hope that means he gets nicer kids to walk home with! So grateful for the mom, she really went out of her way to help.

  4. Jo, Ebi-kun has been in my mind since I read your first post about the incident. So glad to hear the update, I hope things will get better.
    Sidra had a couple of bullies at school when he just entered shogakkou, I was pretty stressed out at that time. Apparently some kids didn't know how to react when encountering a 'different' kid. Fortunately the school had been very good at dealing with it. Sidra even had one teacher who would look after him and pay more attention on what was going on with him. Now the kids are used to him and they are friends.

    I love your idea about aikido! In fact Sidra is in aikido club too and he really likes it. He is now more in tunes with his body, for example when he falls (from bike etc), he instinctively know how to fall without hurting his body. I hope Ebi-kun will enjoy it as well.

    Sending good thoughts to your family!

    1. Thank you - sorry to hear that Sidra had to go through it too, I hope he has it easy now!

  5. Really glad to hear how it all went, especially that one boy apologised sincerely. Fingers crossed that this puts an end to it all, and glad that Ebi-kun now knows to speak up if anything should happen again.

    1. Yes, in a way I am grateful that it happened and it was caught before it got too serious, at least Ebi-kun knows it's not OK now.

  6. Jo, I read the original post and found the image of a little first grade boy putting up this so heartbreaking.
    Now, reading the follow up post, I am relieved to know that things are being dealt with and that your son
    knows he can rely on those meant to protect him to follow through. You did everything right! And sounds like some nice caring mums in the neighborhood, along with a competent teacher.

    None of my three have been bullied in the real sense of the word, but my oldest did come home in tears in first grade after being called Amerika-jin. Technically, he is American, having been born there, but he is also Kiwi and Japanese! I called the teacher immediately, and it turned out similar stuff had been going on with other children in the class that week. The Filipino-Japanese girl was being called "Piri-Piri-jin", the chubby boy was "Debu", the little girl with glasses was "Megane-mushi", etc. The teacher gave the children a lecture about treating others well, and covered all these things in one go. She explained about differences, and how everyone is unique and how it is OK to be different but not OK to tease and make fun of people. The teasing stopped and my little boy's smile returned.

    A few years later, his little sister, who is quite fairhaired, came home crying after being called a 'kinpatsu baka' by some boy in her third-grade class. (Literally a blonde bimbo?!) She wouldn't tell me who it was for but the incident had upset her more than she wanted to admit. She cried over it several times in the ensuing months. Finally, she did tell me and I said I was going to tell the teacher, so that the boy could understand what his careless comment had cost my daughter. She reluctantly agreed, and the teacher did follow through. The boy was surprised it had made my child feel so bad, but he learned a lesson from it. I didn't insist on an apology, as my daughter didn't want it. I felt that the teacher handled it right, and nothing else happened.

    My youngest has navigated primary school with no trouble to date. No doubt she has benefitted from her siblings blazing the trail for her, and also from an increase in the number of bicultural kids at the school. And I am just fine with that!

    Wishing Ebi-kun the best with his Akido!

    1. I think at this age much of it the kids don't realise how much they are hurting the other kids, yes, they know if the hit or say something mean it will upset the other kid but I don't think they understand the long term effect it has, that is why I like the crumpled paper demo so much. Good to hear your kids survived :)

  7. Three cheers for the teachers. They have almost no administrative support and have so much on their plates. I can't imagine a home visit by a teacher in Aus - parents might be called into the school, but not home visits.

    You're very lucky to have teachers and a school that's taking it seriously. Kudos to the mothers for getting in touch with you, kudos to you for following it up constructively, kudos to the teachers for taking it seriously and acting so quickly. I am not sure that bullying on the way home from school would be seen as the teacher's task in a lot of places.

    Since they have been called on it at this stage, there is lots of hope that it will cease to be a problem.

    Hoping all goes well.

    1. Yep, we were very lucky in that respect, let's hope it is the end of it.

  8. Glad you have got it sorted, sounds like your school is much more on top it it that ours here. They believe in supporting the victim whilst totally ignoring dealing with the bully.

    Unfortunately their support was far from enough, my piece of paper has many creases to help iron out and deeper ones that she has added herself.

    Keep keeping on top of it x x x


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