Jindun Flashbacks

Mining my old blogs for material to use for a project, I came across this old (2011) snapshot of daily life in the Yunnan boondocks:

The road between Jindun and Heqing is still under construction (going on two months now) and a terrible amount of dust lodges itself in my hair every time I bike on that road, so today I put my hair back in a bandanna.  Actually an aquamarine silk scarf that was a graduation gift from one of my mother’s friends.  Something that would go over quite fine in the states, in Beijing, and din’t seem to cause any stir in Heqing, nor when I walked through the market in Jindun.  But my kids were shocked.  They thought it was hilarious.  They stared at my head and asked what I had done, why I was wearing that.  And didn’t think my explanation of keeping dust out of my hair while biking was plausible at all.  Four of my good girls just doubled up laughing.  They didn’t think it was likely at all that people in other parts of the world might wear cloth headbands They’ve seen me do silly things.  They’ve seen Hallie and I perform over-the-top skits when doing dialogues/listening practice for them in class.  And they’re humored.  But I’ve never seen them react like this.  “You should just put a big red dot in the middle” Larry, my student who refuses to speak in anything but dialect, said to me.  “What?”  “You look like a Japanese ghost! (日本鬼子),” he clarified.  This similarity was picked up by several other students within the next hour or so.  There’s something with Jindun and “Japanese Ghosts”. I still remember that right after we arrived Hallie and I stopped at a little store and the old nannie behind the counter asked whether or not we were Japanese guizi.  I also have several kids (boys) who delight in drawing Japanese soldiers, forties style. While I would not immediately recognize these as “guizi” (communist soldiers also wear green uniforms…), all of my kids did.  Strange thing though – no one in eight of ninth grade, and no adult in Jindun really took notice.  Perhaps my kids just watched too many Anti-Japanese films in their early youth…


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