I remembered a TV commercial jingle that goes "Brush, brush, three times a day. Brush, brush to keep the cavities away..." This jingle popped in my mind while staring (covertly) at a teacher brushing his teeth. In the staff room. Yes, he was brushing his teeth in the staff room where all other teachers are. And, he is talking to three students. So to give a complete picture, a male Japanese teacher is brushing his teeth while in the staff room while talking to three students.
|photo credit: http://bestclipartblog.com/22-teeth-clip-art.html/teeth-clipart-5|
I was grossed out the first time I saw this sight. Then I eventually got used to the sight of teachers brushing their teeth while on their desks, along the hallway and even in the classroom.Teachers with toothbrushes in hand is a common sight after lunch in school. For people of other cultures, this may seem odd- brushing one's teeth in public. Ironically, for the Japanese people who are very reserved, brushing teeth in public is no big deal.
Teachers would check papers while brushing, they would talk to students while brushing, they would walk in the hallway while brushing, they would give instructions while brushing. It seems that time is too precious for a few minutes of brushing teeth in private.
And this is not only in brushing, cutting nails and cleaning one's ears are acceptable things to do in public. In the school where I work, each class has their own nail cutter. It is proudly displayed on a hook near the door. Students can use it whenever they think they need a cut.
Then there's ear cleaning. There are two teachers in my school who always clean their ears on their desks.I don't know why they can't do in their homes or in the toilet. So far, I haven't seen any student clean their ears, thank God.
I'm not the type of person who is not easily grossed out. I'm just puzzled why these Japanese do their personal hygiene in public. So far, I haven't heard about people from other countries that are like this.It must be a cultural thing. If it is, it's not really very pleasing.