If you found me searching for the lyrics to the children's song, you can find them here.
I am a researcher in bionanotechnology currently living and working in Tokyo. I moved out here nearly three years ago, against my better judgement but in search of adventure. It has certainly been an adventure and not one I would have missed for the world.
I am trying to retrain as a designer and you may see the odd example of my work appear here as I progress.
I also indulge in opinionated rambling.
All the artwork by Nell on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
This is the first in a two parter. Wouldn’t want to bore you
Recently it has come to my attention that I have a bit of a reputation as a rule breaker. I confess that, as a (generally) law abiding citizen and someone who only very occasionally steps over the lines others have drawn, and even then with a certain amount of trepidation, it came as something of a surprise. I mused on the subject for a while and decided that perhaps I do occasionally break rules. I wondered initially if it’s a new development in my personality or whether I have always been that way inclined; and then I remembered an incident that occurred at secondary school.
In our first year (age 12-13) we weren’t streamed by ability and classes were with our arbitrarily allocated form mates. We were a mixed bunch and some of the behaviour was… let’s just say the behavioural decline in schools isn’t THAT recent. We had a music teacher who had only very recently qualified and although our classes started out fun and lively they soon slipped into unruly and disruptive. It wasn’t long before 10 minutes into the lesson she would break out hymn books and have us copying out the text in silence. A few short lessons after that, she stopped attempting to teach us at all and instead we sat writing lines from the start. I bore this for about 3 lessons, at which point I had had enough. I wasn’t one of the unruly ones and I didn’t see why I should be punished for something that was not only nothing to do with me, but that hadn’t even happened yet. I refused to pick up my pen, I turned around and tried to distract my friend sitting behind me, I sighed and tutted loudly and I doodled in the margin of my blank page. Small rebellions, but clearly apparent in the silent classroom. Eventually the teacher came over and asked me politely to stop fidgeting and get on with my work. I stared stonily at her but faced front and stopped making any noise; I even picked up my pen and began to write. I didn’t do the work though, instead I began to write in a huge childish script at the rate of about one word a minute, deliberately filling two lines and spilling down the page. Precocious child as I was, I may have been making the explicit point that, if you treat me like a child, so I shall behave; but the layers of time and false memory mean I may be attributing motives to my actions that didn’t exist. After a while I stopped even that, put the pen down and started staring fixedly ahead counting the minutes to the end of the class. The lesson was nearly over when the teacher came over and asked me if I had a problem. I don’t really know what came over me, perhaps just the injustice of the situation, but I told it to her straight: “yes, I have a problem. I haven’t done anything wrong, in fact, today NONE of us have done anything wrong. This isn’t fair”.
I have never been yelled at like that by a teacher in my whole life before and since, she blew her top like nothing any of us had ever seen before. Once she had finished, she ran crying out of the room. Shaking, I immediately bowed my head and started copying out the task in my best cursive script. The whole class were staring at me in shocked silence and, even though the teacher was gone, no one said a word.
At the end of the lesson, the teacher returned and dismissed everyone but me. I was convinced I was for the high jump and trembling (perhaps visibly) and on the verge of tears, I reluctantly wove my way through the tables and chairs to the front of the room. To my surprise, she didn’t yell at me again, threaten to tell my parents or give me a detention, instead she apologized. Not for shouting at me, I had after all rebelled against her discipline, but for the situation that had put me in a situation where I felt I had to. That remains, to my recollection, the only time an adult outside my family apologized to me as a child and it taught me something: sometimes it is worth rebelling.
*do you see what I did there?