Gaijin Smash

Japanese Kids Say the Darndest Things, Part 1

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on November 21, 2004

This is a smattering of things the kids have hit me with at some point in the classroom. Most are in English, or at least their best attempt. All are completely faithful to the kids’ statements.
During a quiz game, I asked, “What’s the name of the famous bridge in San Francisco?” They always guess “Rainbow Bridge” because that’s the name of the famous bridge in Tokyo. Um, no. Not quite.
One boy completely surprised me though. He slowly and timidly approached me, looked up, and hit me with his guess: Gay Bridge.
There’s no way he could’ve said that.
I leaned in closer and asked him to repeat it. Sure enough, “Gay Bridge.”
There have been very few times in my life when I laughed so hard I couldn’t stand, but this was one of them. My Japanese teacher asked me what was wrong, and when I finally managed to spit it out he joined me on the floor. He later explained it to the students and then the teachers’ room. All were KO’d by that kid’s answer.
If you think about it though, he wasn’t too wrong.

Another time we were playing a Thanksgiving quiz game (we play a lot of quiz games) and I asked, “What did the Pilgrims eat for the first Thanksgiving?” One boy enthusiastically raised his hand and said “Oh, I know, I know! Indians.”
The pilgrims may have screwed the Indians out of their land but I’d like to think at least we didn’t eat them.
One day after class, a ninensei girl walked up to me, and out of nowhere proudly exclaimed, “Spread your legs!” Perhaps mistaking the look of shocked bewilderment on my face for misunderstanding, she stuck her chest out and repeated it even louder, “Spread your legs!”
She then produced a book of (apparently) colloquial English expressions. The phrase came from the police section. You know, “Get out of the car! Against the wall! Spread your legs!” She just randomly selected “Spread your legs!” and decided to try it on me.
Put yourself in my shoes, though. Imagine suddenly a 14-year-old Japanese girl walks up to you and just shouts out, “Spread your legs!” How would you react? If she’d whipped out a gun or a samurai sword or even a small woodland animal I could have dealt with it, but “Spread your legs!” left me completely incapacitated.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the teacher leaned over and asked, “Oh, is it correct?” I somehow pulled myself back together and said, “No, it’s not. Well, technically I suppose it is, but… just no.” Of course she asked, “Why?” Oh Lord.
This was not in the job description.
I don’t remember what excuse I made, but it was at least Oscar-worthy. I did make sure to warn that girl never to use that in America should she ever go.
Naturally, my nickname for this girl is now “Spread Your Legs.”


24 Responses

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  1. Kosetsu said, on May 31, 2006 at 1:33 am

    Hee: “Spread Your Legs”. That never fails to get me.

  2. Gabe said, on May 31, 2006 at 2:33 am

    Is this an every day thing?

  3. wurdjunky said, on May 31, 2006 at 4:35 am

    Congrats on the new site. The new look has inspired me to re-read the entire “Japanese Schoolteacher” chronicles.
    It’ll be a good refresher for when I visit Osaka next week.

  4. Freakatronic said, on May 31, 2006 at 9:50 am

    Wah, what an honour to be second commenter! Well Az, all the best with getting this site afloat. Sure as hell I’ll be back to see what you’re up to. I’ve enjoyed reading what you write for nearly a year now, so thanks very much.

  5. Apes said, on May 31, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Ha~! Wonderful, Mr. Az! You know, your “Japanese School Teacher” editorials created an uproar at my old highschool. One person actually made a shirt that said, “Please enjoy my cock.” And everyone walked with their backs to walls, to avoid avid Kancho’ers.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. Dyanna said, on May 31, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    I wonder if she knew it had a double meaning…

  7. Furion said, on May 31, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    If you ever get the chance run around the class pretending to be Godzilla, and get them to run frantically around the school saying “Oh no! It’s Godzilla!”. That would be priceless.

  8. WhiteZombie said, on June 1, 2006 at 12:50 am

    Damn. I laughed my balls off reading this entry. By the way, Congrats on the opening of this site. Due to this story alone, I am now a dedicated reader; This shit reminds me too much of the things I heard Korean kids say when I live there for 6 months.

  9. KazumiKuwabara said, on June 1, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Dear lord -snickers uncontrollably-

  10. Credance said, on June 1, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    I must say that I liked the layout at Outpost 9 better. Still, it’s not the wrapping that’s important, as long as the quality of your journal stays unaffected. I can’t wait to read any new entries. Keep up the good job!

  11. Solitaire said, on June 1, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Congratulations on the move. I hope that the greater exposure leads to a well deserved book deal. Thank you for quality stories.

  12. Anonymous said, on June 2, 2006 at 1:59 am

    i am a big fan of yours

  13. Anonymous said, on June 2, 2006 at 1:59 am

    i am a big fan of yours

  14. Mary Catherine said, on June 2, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    I’m one of the few who’s changed their mind about this site. I acutally like it now. Didn’t take too long. I also like that I get to re-read all of the old posts AND look forward to new ones!! đŸ˜€
    Mary Catherine

  15. Tiffany said, on June 5, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    Dear God, that’s the funniest freaking thing I’ve ever read.: )Cute girl!

  16. Nemurin said, on June 6, 2006 at 10:23 am

    I’m almost ashamed to be Japanophile on this place.
    In the good way, I think! But seriously.Kids DO say the darndest things. I’m sure it’s not just the Japanese kids (I have a three year old cousin… sigh) but the language barrier helps it a lot! =D
    So what’s happened to the old posts? Are you going to re-post them all? In that case, good luck.
    At any rate, congrats with the new look.

  17. James said, on June 7, 2006 at 6:17 am

    I’ve had elementary school kids say “ARE YOU GAY?” to me before. I think they heard it on TV, possibly from Hard Gay.
    Last week I was grading a vocab test. One student left the whole test blank except for one question. The answer was supposed to be “sea”, but he wrote “GOOK” in capital letters. It was completely unexpected and cracked me up.

  18. hodensaft said, on June 10, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    I teach at an elementary school in Chiba-ken. My first day at the school, one of the fifth grade boys came up and introduced himself by saying, “Hello. My name is XXXXX. You will die of cancer.” The boy is now in the sixth grade, and various forms of cancer are still an ongoing joke.

  19. tiffany said, on July 19, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    I’m curious, what are you doing talking about Thanksgiving with JAPANESE students?

  20. tiffany said, on July 19, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    I’m curious, what are you doing talking about Thanksgiving with JAPANESE students?

  21. Romanticide said, on August 5, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    Oh!! the joys of culture shock XD The gay bridge just kills me at the sheer brilliance of it!!
    I am still shocked by the huge number of people mad because you changed sites. I don’t see why they should be mad, you didn’t start to charge for viewing. I know is hard to stop clinging to the past ways but I don’t think it deserved answers that mean. I am a fan of your editorials from a long time back and I will keep being. I hope this change is for the best =)

  22. ervin said, on January 11, 2007 at 11:43 am

    i don’t get the gay bridge thing. maybe it’s because i’m chinese-singaporean.
    good post. i ctrl+v your perma-links for my friends

  23. Dragonclaws said, on January 19, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Funny stuff. Perhaps he was trying to say “rainbow” in English, and mistakenly thought it was “gay” because of the rainbow flag.

  24. LoR said, on February 13, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    “i don’t get the gay bridge thing.”
    Well, San Franciso is sorta known for having a large homosexual population…

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