Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun with Mary Jane

The other day I was teaching a lesson on illness and injury - how to say "I have a fever" and "My head hurts" and that sort of thing. On one of the worksheets I made, I presented three patients with their complaints, and the students had to write some advice, using the "(Person) should ..." format. One of them was Spiderman, saying that he had gotten into a fight with a thief who had punched him in the face, and now his tooth hurt (excuse the implausibility - I know Spiderman would never sustain an injury from such a lowly foe). After a few minutes, when we were checking the answers, some of the more vocal boys started giggling. I asked one of them for his answer, and he offered "Spiderman should go see MJ." It took me a second to process, and then I chuckled. "Mary Jane?" I asked. "Yes, MJ! Mary Jane-u!" the boys laughed.

Little things like that make me appreciate the innocence (in some regards, anyway) of many Japanese high students. Saying "Spiderman should go see Mary Jane" would no doubt evoke a completely different and substance-related image for an American high schooler. I'm sure if that kind of slang and drug culture were existent in Japan, the situation may have been different. But they're not. The boys just meant that Spiderman should go see his girlfriend. Of course, they probably did mean that Spidey should seek a different kind of action from his girlfriend. Hmmm...I guess they're not so innocent after all. Perverts.


  1. Is it bad that I though of both a sexual reference and drugs all at once? X(

  2. its funny i just read an article for my anthropology class about using icons to build trust and bridge gaps between ethnic groups. The article used Pocahontas and spiderman as examples. Spiderman's soo universal!