When I was a junior high school student, I was elected the President of the Student's Union. The election result itself was a surprise. I drew up a candidate's statement and read it aloud in front of the whole school assembled in the gym. The other candidates included some very handsome guys, who were insanely popular among girls. I was not that popular, and consequently did not have much hope. To date I don't know why I was elected president. I n the election speech, I said something like "please believe in my passion" in a vehement way. Maybe the words worked.
The politics to execute as a president-elect seems laughable and sheer child's play from a grown-up's eye but we as pupils were serious enough. My greatest achievement was the loosening of the school law, which was very strict in those days. In the chapters clearly printed in the student's small identity booklets, it was stated that there was to be only "one line" in the socks. We thought that was ridiculously strict and negotiated to be allowed up to a three-liner. I was a small hero when we succeeded in coaxing this small but important concession from the teachers. I learned then that politics is about small changes. Like making it possible to wear three-liner socks to school.
As the president, I could organize the program in the annual school festival in any way I liked. So I slid in a small event which I proudly named "The butterfly paradise". The plan was as follows. I would go and catch a collection of butterflies (I was a butterfly kid and studied them in an amateur scientific way) and release them in a classroom. Then these butterflies would fly around, just like in a field full of flowers. One of my immature fantasies at that time was to walk hand-in-hand with my favorite girl in such a wild field. I thought I could make my fantasy into a reality in the school festival.
So I went out with the best friend of mine then, Toshikazu Shimamura, and caught all these wonderful butterflies. At the same time, I drew up this special invitation card, and put it in the shoe box of my secret love. "Secret" here meaning I did not confess to her or anything, I just held her dear in my heart. Needless to say, I did not tell Toshikazu about the secret invitation.
On the day of the school festival, we were all set. There were about 30 butterflies in the soft cage, and Toshikazu played "Sky High" by Jigsaw aloud on the cassette, which was the theme tune for the professional wrestler Mil Mascaras, very popular among Japanese boys these days.
How did my small enterprise go? Well, two rather unexpected things happened.
One, the girl did not show up. I din't know what she thought. A boy, the president of the student's union, sending an hand-drawn invitation card saying "please come to the butterflies paradise". Obviously she thought I was childish. In the sweet but difficult ages of low-teens, girls tend to have more mature minds than the boys. Maybe she thought I was simply weird. Her absence let me deep down and I was very ashamed.
Two, the butterflies did not fly around in the classroom as I imagined. The moment these tiny ones were released into the classroom, they went straight to the window. When you look back, that was the only natural thing to do for the butterflies. The room was dark, and there was sunshine coming from the windows. So it was the obvious possible route for escape to make it to the windows. I was damn foolish not to foresee that. I was rather hoping that the butterflies would be evenly distributed in the classroom space, but there was this huge bias in the distribution.
So there I was, alone with Toshikazu Shimamura, my beloved girl nowhere in sight, and the butterflies winging vehemently against the windowpanes. It was a total disaster.
The butterfly paradise turned out to be an utter failure. That was probably one of the most ridiculous thing that I ever did. I was miserable. But when you look back, it is strange that you rather like the misery.