Sunday, 26 August 2012

School Days with a Pig

There is a good reason why I paid for a paid TV package that includes an Asian channel called RED. This channel, along with Celestial TV, has many good Asian movies. I like Japanese movies in particular, because somehow they often manage to make even a weird theme go alive as humanely possible.

One of such a movie was 'School Days with a Pig', which talks about a class of 6th grade elementary school kids (about 11-12 years old perhaps?) that has a weird class project. Mr Hoshi the teacher (played admirably with sweet cuteness by Satoshi Tsumabuki) wanted to give a life lesson for the kids. He chose to bring a piglet for the class to raise until they graduate, at which time the piglet will be killed and eaten by the class.

The weird project was apparently well-received by the whole class. They took turn in taking care of the piglet, fondly code-named 'P-chan', made a supercute holding pen for her, brushed and cleaned her, and even came to the school in a pouring rain to see if she was okay. The kids cared so much for P-chan, so that they cannot decide whether to kill her (who has become a big and fat - and clean! - pig) or just let her live.

Eventually, Mr Hoshi held several discussions with his students, such lively discussions that I cannot believe it wasn't rehearsed. But I learned that those discussion scenes were actually almost non-scripted, which means the students had a high degree of liberty to say what they think. The arguments from both parties were valid and were actually based by their real concerns over P-chan's future. The non-eating section said it was very cruel to eat P-chan; she's our friend, a class member, and we should not kill her. The eating section said, well, won't it be unfair for you not to kill P-chan but then you still eat other pigs? Plus, if we give her to another class, they will have to decide her fate anyway at the end. Might as well leave it to us to decide her fate. That was when a girl asked Hoshi this question:

'Sensei, who decides the time to end one's life?'

A question which naturally left Hoshi flabbergasted. He muttered that no one should have that right, actually.

The discussions went on and on until they had to vote TWICE to decide P-chan's fate. Even at the end, the vote was a draw, 50-50 for both parties. The kids eventually asked Hoshi to vote, because he was also part of the class, and it wasn't the kids' sole problem anymore. Hoshi's swinging vote became the decided factor for P-chan's life... which I don't agree with. I mean, come on! How can you... oh well... you know...

Anyway. The movie is still very beautiful and uplifting, the ending scene included. Here's a beautiful song sang by the students during their Graduation Day. The title is 'Smile Again', composed by Nakayama Mari.

This is the lyric in English which I modified from this site: 

Smile Again

There are times when kind words may not be useful
There are times when you have to fight on your own

When you overcome hard times, you’ll see the light
And then you’ll be a better person than you are now

When tomorrow comes and the sky becomes clear
Love yourself and start walking again
smile again, smile again, don’t look down
smile again, smile again, smile for me
smile again, smile again
I like the many sides you have

smile again, smile again
smile again, smile again don’t look down
smile again, smile again
show me your smile
smile again, smile again you too

I like the many sides you have

This is the lyrics in Romaji, which I wrote using Google Translator based on the Japanese version:

Smile Again

Yasashī kotoba nante
Yakunitatanai koto ga aru yo ne
Jibun dake de tatakawanakucha
Ikenai toki ga aru yo ne

Tsuraikoto norikoete
Itsuka miete kuru mono ga aru yo
Soshitara anata wa ima yori
Kitto suteki ni natteru

Ashita ni natte (ashita ni natte)
Sora ga haretara (sora ga haretara)
Jibun o suki ni natte
Mata aruki hajimeyou yo

Smile Again Smile Again

Smile Again Smile Again
Waratte misete

Smile Again Smile Again
Donna anata mo

Minna sukidakara

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