There was no school on victory day, but there was a formal ceremony at the parade grounds. Tanuki was required to march the student body onto the grounds, and as a staff member I was part of the procession. When I reached the town, it was a dazzling sea of Hinomaru flags. Our school had over eight hundred students, so the physical education instructor had organized them into marching formation. The plan was to open gaps in the formation and insert one or two teachers for supervision. The plan was clever enough, but implementation was another matter altogether. These students were impertinent imbeciles who sought the respect of their peers by breaking the rules, so of what use was teacher supervision? They sang war songs of their own choosing without instruction. When they weren't singing they erupted in spontaneous battle cries. It was as though masterless samurai were marauding through the town. And when they weren't singing war songs or raising battle cries, they were engaged in boisterous chatter. One would think they could march without talking, but Japanese are born mouth first and feet last, so no amount of scolding could silence them. Their talk wasn't just talk, but slanderous barbs directed against the teachers. A vulgar lot. I'd forced them to apologize for the night duty incidents and had thought that was the end of the matter, but I was thoroughly mistaken. To borrow the language of my landlady, I'd indeed been dead wrong and thoroughly confused. The students hadn't apologized out of any heartfelt regret. They'd merely bowed their heads to me superficially on orders from the principal. Just as merchants bow courteously while cheating their customers, those students who apologized had no intent of curtailing their deviant behavior. It may well be that most of the world is like these students. Anyone who takes an apology at face value and pardons the perpetrator is a naïve fool. If the apology is halfhearted, then let the forgiveness be halfhearted to match. If one wants a true apology, one must thrash the culprit until he's truly remorseful.