Japanese Kids Say the Darndest Things, Part 2
More wonderfulness from my kids.
One day I was working with one of my favorite teachers in the ghetto school. Her English is great, and she’s really Americanized, as showcased by the random expletives she’ll hit me with. One day after a noisy class, she sighed heavily and said “Oh man, those fucking bastards wouldn’t shut up!” Imagine this coming from a Japanese woman and you’ll understand why I was floored.
In an ichinensei class, one boy was heckling her the whole time. He kept saying that she should marry me, because she’s still single at 27 and she doesn’t want to die alone, right? She gave him a harsh, “Shut up kid,” in Japanese, and this almost worked. A few minutes later, he leaned in and asked her to come closer, which she did. When she was close enough, he asked, “Are you still a virgin?”
The smack she gave him was instantaneous. I mean, the words had barely escaped his mouth and already her hand was on its way back from having whacked him. I’ve never seen anyone move that fast.
But then she turned to me and, in English, says “Can you believe this kid?! How old does he think I am? Of course I’m not a virgin!”
And they always say the Japanese are a reserved and private people.
One day after a school assembly, an ichinensei girl walked up to me and asked me how to say “oppai” in English. “Oppai” is the Japanese word for a woman’s breast, and now I’ve taught you a dirty Japanese word. (It’s not that dirty, so don’t get too excited.) I told her that kind of English was definitely not for her. But she continued to persist, finally just breaking down my will to live, and I gave in.
Unfortunately, she didn’t quite understand it, and asked me to repeat it several times. I did, but her Japanese tongue couldn’t get it right. “Buraido?” “Burasuto?”
Also unfortunately, she decided to practice rather loudly, which got pretty much the whole school’s attention. My English teacher, the Americanized one, overheard and said to me, “Aw, don’t teach her that!” I said it’s probably best she learn the correct term before she gets something vulgar from TV or music. “Oh, like tits?” my Japanese teacher asked. I told you her English is pretty good.
Anyway, she almost agreed with me on that point. Almost. Until the girl ran by screaming at the top of her lungs, “Breasts! Breasts!”
She doesn’t even have them. And since she’s Japanese, she probably never will.
After a class, three sannensei boys somehow managed to push me into a corner. They said they had an urgent question, and told my English teacher to go on without me. Her response was to stand there looking somewhat helpless. Thanks.
So the boys turned to me, and in English, asked, “Are you a cherry boy?” Cherry boy? The hell is that? Having lived here long enough, I sort of suspected where they were going, but I certainly wasn’t helping them along this road. So I pleaded ignorance. They boys wondered if the terminology was different in English, then on the spot, reworded the question to, “Have you ever played sex?”
This is remarkable because if you ask them almost any question at all, from, “What day is it today?” to “How old are you?” or even, “What country do you live in?” it would cause confusion, doubt, and at least a private conference with the person sitting behind them. Yet these boys were able to rework Cherry Boy into, “Have you ever played sex?” instantaneously. I was almost proud of them.
I gave my usual, “That’s not appropriate for Jr. High Schoolers,” answer, and tried to get away, but they had me on lockdown pretty good. In order to escape I would have had to exert some real power, toss a few of them around or just Gaijin Smash my way out, and I didn’t want to do that. They increased the pressure, and told me to just answer, “Yes or No.” This actually became a chant, and with me stuck in the corner I was forced to finally answer: yes. This sent them into an absolute frenzy. When they calmed down, they swore me to secrecy about our little “chat,” complete with the finger to the mouth and the “sssshhh” sound. Now, whenever I see them, they do that gesture. And I do mean whenever, which sometimes means 3-5 times a day.
I was playing Hamburger Shop with the ichinensei. I was the clerk, and the students were supposed to ask for stuff like “3 burgers and 4 colas, please.” The point of the activity was to get them using the plural forms of nouns by adding an -s.
A boy came up to me and decided to be funny. Or at least, tried to be. He cooly walked into my shop and said, “3 condoms, please.”
I told him it’s not that kind of hamburger shop.
He got a laugh from all his friends, and confused looks from most of the other students who had no idea what he said. The Japanese teacher knew perfectly though, and told him to shape up and do the activity right. The boy then decided to be serious and proceeded with, “4 bonana, please”.
Okay, what the hell? The little perv can roll up and say, “3 condoms,” perfectly, but then lays “4 BONANA” on me. Not “banana,” which by the way, in Japanese, is amazingly enough “banana”. No no, “bonana.”
He didn’t even get the “s” at the end, which was the whole point of the activity.
My male students love to challenge me to arm wrestling. They’re quite interested in hand and arm strength, and for them, I’m like the ultimate test. I beat most of them pretty easily, but some boys give me a run for my money. Before you laugh, realize that these kids are playing sports every day, for 2 hours a day. Compare that to my sedentary lifestyle of eating rice and watching bad Japanese TV, and I’m thankful I can still beat them at all.
During yet another bout of arm wrestling matches at the ghetto school, one boy came along who was actually pretty strong. I was having some difficulty against him and I had to go all out. It wasn’t easy, but I was getting his hand down.
However, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the ichinensei girl I mentioned above, now standing among the crowd of boys. Just as my eyesight caught her, she yelled out, “Breasts!” Having been sufficiently distracted by a 12-year-old Japanese girl yelling “breasts!” at me, I lost my concentration and was beaten. The boys roared in surprise and revelation. As I tried to explain that I’d been distracted, I turned to find the girl was nowhere to be found.
It’s a little disturbing to think that my life now includes a little Japanese girl who will randomly teleport into a place, yell “breasts!” at me, then teleport out as quickly as she came.