Despite dubbing it the “Ghetto School,” I like going there. Yeah, there are some hair-pulling moments, but it’s also probably the most interesting school of the three. These are just some of the things that happened in the span of one week.
* * *
At the end of class I was playing a game with the ichinensei. The teacher made a mistake in keeping score, something the students quickly noticed and called her on. “Oops! Sorry!” she exclaimed. “Go to hell!” an ichinensei boy replied in English.
Where do they learn this stuff? Don’t look at me.
* * *
I’m happy to say that Breasts Girl no longer screams “Breasts!” at me. No, along with her cohort, her new thing is begging me for those sticky pictures, an everlasting trend in Japan. I used to have a ton of them, but they were with the bitch-ex, so I had a firesale. Literally, I burned them in the local bar and flushed whatever didn’t burn. Now, I only have a handful of ones with friends, including some with the “big-headed boyfriend” teacher on our mock date.
Whenever, wherever I see them they demand pictures on the spot. I always tell them I don’t have any, but that doesn’t discourage them. Even if I run into them five minutes later, they ask me for pictures again, as if I’ve somehow teleported to a picture machine and taken some in the interval. I tried to explain I didn’t have the Instantaneous Movement skills that she did, but she didn’t seem to get it.
One day Breasts Girl asked me when I’m going to take more pics. I said I honestly don’t know. I suggested they go take pictures with me (I’m not motivated enough to do this on my own, I have to be dragged). They were completely against this, “We don’t want pictures with you, we want pictures of you with other people.”
Breasts Girl ultimately orders me to get a new girlfriend so I can take pictures. And give them to her. That’ll be a great pick-up line! “Hey, uh, I need a new girl so I can give my students sticky pics. And guess what? You’re up!”
* * *
There’s one ninensei girl who never gets my name right. For more or less the first year I was here, she called me “John,” which was my predecessor’s name. Then for awhile she called me Bob, perhaps imitating some bastard ninensei boys who called me Bob (after Bob Sapp…don’t ask). My response to this was to ask her, “and…who are you again?” She got the hint pretty quickly.
However, now she’s moved on to calling me Jove… The hell does she get this from? How did she manage to mythologize me anyway? Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
If one of my kids ever calls me “Azrael” I’m going to leave the country immediately.
* * *
I went to the ghetto school’s end-of-the-year party in December. This was smack in the middle of all the nonsense with my ex. The other teachers noticed me hitting the sauce pretty hard, and it didn’t take them long to figure out I was having girl problems. They all had nuggets of advice to give, many along the lines of, “You’re a nice guy, and you’ve got GAIJIN POWER, so you’ll find someone new!”
At one point though, as I think Japanese people are prone to do to any foreign men in their company, they offered up the nearest girl to me. In this case, the school nurse. I happened to be sitting next to her, and as they went on about how awful my ex was and how quickly I’d find someone else, it inevitably became, “Hey! How about the nurse?” Everyone turned and looked at me. I turned and looked at the nurse, who smiled and gave me the peace sign.
In an instant I felt like I was in some kind of fucked up version of The Price is Right. “Az, come on down! In the chair to your left you’ve got the mediocre school nurse! This baby has sacrificed her life for the Japanese school system, and would love a little foreign lovin’ in her life! Becomes much more attractive in low-lighting and with five beers! She can be yours if The Price is Right!”
She started talking to me, and I talked back of course… but that was it. We all left before the last trains and I went home. The next day I ran into her in the hallway, and she smiled at me and thanked me for the nice conversation. What? We only talked!
* * *
One of my sannensei girls is in love with Michael Jackson. We often give them skits – just the initial framework – and they modify and fill in things according to their preference. This girl always, and I do mean always, finds a way to work Michael Jackson in. I’m actually getting quite concerned; it seems unhealthy.
The students were writing about what place they’d like to visit. She of course said Neverland Ranch, so she could maybe meet Michael. It’s a shame she’s not a cute little white boy, she’d almost certainly get her wish. I guess she read my face and saw I wasn’t the biggest MJ fan.
“Why not?” She asked. “He’s a cool black guy, like you!”
“He used to be.” I said.
She also said he had a nice face, and I’m not even going to touch on that one. Nope, ain’t gonna do it.
Another time, the framework for the skit was a dinner party. They had sentences like, “Would you like some more ________ juice?” or, “How about another piece of __________ cake?” and the students were supposed to fill in the blanks with whatever they liked. Chocolate cake, or orange juice, for example.
This girl and her partner, of course, picked “Michael Jackson cake” and “Michael Jackson juice.” As I was walking around, I noticed this and told them it was a little odd. They teased me about it a bit, and at the end of class, on their comment sheets, the girl’s message to me was, “Michael Jackson juice for you!”
I don’t what Michael Jackson juice is, but I sure as hell don’t want it.