“What’s that brown stuff on your face?!”
“They’re called freckles.”
“Do they come off?”
“No, they’re a part of my skin. They’re natural.”
“Oh.” *tiny fingers try to rub at my freckles* “They didn’t come off” *Looks at fingers* “And my finger isn’t brown”
“Some people in America think that freckles are cute.”
“Oh, well maybe in America…”
You little kids are lucky you’re so dang cute. But I guess I set myself up for that one.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had little kids ask me about my freckles; they’re so curious about them. In Japan, freckles are a lot rarer than in the States or other parts of the world. Also, those who do have freckles tend to cover them up with heaps of foundation.
In being a part of the JET Programme, it’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re doing any good, if you’re making a difference. It really is quite rare to have someone tell you you’re doing a good job. But it’s little encounters like these; children who are curious about my interesting face, toddlers who at first wouldn’t stop crying because I looked scary and strange, but now run to me and give me a big hug when I come by the kindergarten, that make living in Japan worth all of the frustration and hard times that naturally arise while living in a foreign country.