I have to say I’m a fan of Yankees. I am not referring to the baseball team or the American population, although I don’t have anything against these two parties. I am instead referring to the bad boys of Japan, nicknamed ‘Yankees’. These boys are recognizable by their dyed hair, piercings, baggy clothing and general loudness. Most teachers find them a nuisance, always skipping school or sleeping in class, but there is a special place in my heart for these kids.
Miura Hamura Playing a Yankee boy in the movie Koizora

I was walking along the corridor the other day and found myself surrounded by the troublesome trio; the pierced punk, the schemer and the brawn. The punk wanted to show me his new earring. It was an awesome looking black hoop, that is definitely covered in the schools absolutely no piercings allowed policy.

Growing up I never considered getting more than the standard one piercing in each ear, it didn’t interest me whatsoever. The one piercing I did have, I never changed the earrings for it. I kept the same boring silver hoops in for all five years of high school. My sister often asked me why I even bothered to get them pierced in the first place if I was never going to change the earrings. These days I still only have about five pairs of earrings that I barely use. However, looking at that kid I somehow felt compelled to get more. Not only more piercings, but also another tattoo, perhaps dye my hair, paint my nails, and in general I felt an impulse to just be louder and more ‘foreign’.

It’s hard to adjust to a society that values the group consciousness more than individualism. Be who you want to be, you can do anything, let your true colours shine, these are the kind of mottos my parents and school fed to me growing up. Tattoos are art, an expression of the self. Piercings are decorative, a creative flare complimenting your personal style. Of course there are rules, social trends to follow, but for the most part you have a certain amount of freedom in which you can express yourself. I didn’t want another tattoo or piercing, because I could get another one with ease and no one would care if I did, except perhaps my mother.
J-pop Boy band Golden Bomber
Now here I am, living in rural Japan, a place where it would be frowned upon to get these things, and sometimes I feel a little stifled. I want to rebel. I want that kid to wear his earring, dye his hair, show up late, and enjoy his life as much as possible. I want everyone to have crazy hair, and colourful clothing, and talk at the top of their lungs in public places. I’m not trying to make an argument for individualism or saying that it is better in any way, because I believe that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses. After two years of living here I’m merely longing for a little piece of home, what I am familiar with.

This is why I think I can sympathise with the Yankee. They are misfits attempting to rebel in any small way that they can, expressing their individuality. I smiled at the pierced punk and told him his earring looks cool. I will keep on smiling at him, as long as he doesnt come to school looking like Golden Bomber. The face paint would be bit much for school.


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