Happy Father’s Day to dads everywhere but especially the ones who doctor children’s songs to create gentler universes for their kids. I was a Senior in college when my roommate told me I had the words to a nursery rhyme all wrong. How despicable that the correct words to a line in Suzume no Gakkoo (Sparrow School) is a sparrow teacher who teaches their class by shaking a whip and not their behind!
Chii chii pappaa, chii pappaa Tweet, tweet
Suzume no gakko no sensei wa A sparrow school teacher is
Muchi o furi furi chii pappaa Shaking (their)* whip, tweet
Japanese typically elides pronouns as it has here in this nursery rhyme so I don’t know if the sparrow teacher is supposed to be male or female. But watching my dad sing the song gyrating his hips, I always thought the teacher was a dad.
Happy Father’s Day to fathers who immortalize the children in us.