As I walked past a classroom this morning, on the way to my own, I immediately noticed the t-shirt worn by a girl of about 19. Peach-coloured short sleeves, framing the full-coloured, giant-sized, head-shot photograph of a young man – also about 19, very thin, rather preoccupied (a look also cultivated by young Japanese boys because it looks cool, apparently). Short, spiky hair, a few piercings – nothing too radical in this day and age. I recognized him immediately. Surprised, I looked in.
“Are you a fan?” I asked.
“Of who?” she asked.
“Him,” I replied, pointing to the t-shirt.
“I don’t know him,” she said. “I think he looks kako-ii (cool), so I bought the shirt.” Other students nodded in agreement, boys included.
“Do you like punk music?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “Is it like pops (the Japanese always put an ‘s’ at the end of that word)?”
“Kind of,” I sighed.
“Is he famous now?”
“Yes, but he’s dead, I’m afraid.”
“Ehhhh. Saikin (recently)?”
“No. Since 1979. Heroin, I think.”
“Well, he’s cute.”
“Yes. I guess he was (but not by the time he OD’d, I failed to add).”
I went to my own class, reflecting that Sid Vicious would be about 51 if he were still around.