The School of Peace is preparing for the Cultural Festival on Saturday. As a result, there are no afternoon classes as the kids practice for the chorus competition, make posters, rehearse their performances, et al. This leaves me having absolutely nothing to do in the afternoon. Extreme and mind-numbing boredom drove me to wander around outside to talk with the kids. I decided to check in on the sannensei, as I don’t get to enter their classes that often.
I poked my head into one of the classrooms as the sannensei were preparing to start work on their posters. I found one of my favorite students – the captain of the girl’s basketball team. I’ll call her Jordan (after Michael Jordan). Jordan is “funny” and “interesting” to say the least. Once, when I expressed my regret in not being able to join the students on their school trip to Tokyo Disneyland, Jordan comes up to me, slaps me on the chest, and says “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it. You can hide in my bag, and I’ll carry you with us.” I told her she’d have to be pretty strong in order to lug me around. She then spread out her legs, put her fists on her hips, and said “Yes I am!” in English. If you can imagine a 15-year old Japanese girl doing the Superman pose and casually telling her big black teacher that she can carry him over her shoulder around Tokyo.
Compare this to the last time I went out drinking with my friends
Me: So guys, if I get really wasted, you’ll carry me home, right?
2 Grown Men: I dunno. We may not be able to rent a truck at this time of night.
Me: I hate you all, fuckers.
Anyway, Jordan spots me, does a girlish flutter (imagine Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind before fainting) and then waves.
Her: It’s been a long time.
Me: Yeah, it’s been awhile.
Her: I wanted to meet you.
Me: I wanted to meet you too.
Her: (In English) Oh, thank you! I’m happy!
Meanwhile, Mousey is in another part of the room. The students are getting these thin, long plastic bags, for whatever purpose I dunno. Mousey however has filled his with water. “This is my love sex condom!” he exclaims in English. Sadly, this is probably the only English Mousey knows. It saddens me to know that if he were stopped on the street, Mousey wouldn’t be able to give directions to the nearest anything, but while browsing the porno aisle he’d probably be able to understand “She so very bitch!” I guess you only learn what you want to.
I got stuck in an after school teachers’ meeting at the Ghetto School. I loathe the teachers’ meetings because they are especially boring and painful and really do nothing more than tell the teachers stuff they already knew, or could figure out on their own. In the past, I’ve done some pretty daring, James Bond-esque shit to get out of the teachers meetings. Sometimes, I’ve had the principal come by with a last minute save – “We’re having a teachers meeting from now, so why don’t you go home early?” This day however, I was feeling too lazy to bust out the double-0 smoothness and the final hour reprieve didn’t come, so I got stuck in the meeting.
When I first came to Japan, I had to really listen and concentrate in order to fully understand what was being said. Two years later, I can casually pick up background conversations without really trying. So I wasn’t listening to the meeting, but random little bits were getting through. One in particular caught my attention, as the ninensei teachers were giving their report – “they reportedly started dating, but word has it they broke up last week, so the situation needs no further attention.”
Hold on a minute. Was that just a report on the dating activities of the students? How in the world is this relevant?
I sit across from Ms. Americanized. I looked up and our eyes met. She read my look of confusion, and passed me her stationary. Since we sit across from each other, sometimes in the teachers meetings we’ll pass each other notes. I took the stationary and we started an exchange.
Me: Correct me if I’m wrong, but was that just a report about students dating?
Her: Yep. But they are really bad students, so it might be important to know.
Me: Okay. But still, that’s overdoing it!
Her: Right. What country do you think this is?
Me: Oh right. Sorry, forgot.
Her: It’s okay.
Me: Maybe I’m just jealous. I never got to date in Jr. high School.
Her: Me either. But jr. high relationships don’t last. I spent my time studying, and making good friends, which is more important I think.
Me: Good point.
Her: Isn’t it?
After the Sports Day festival, I went to the drinking party with the other teachers. I feel that Japanese work drinking parties are something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Give them a few beers and all the social pressure and self-inflicted misery come crashing down, for a few hours at least. It also lets you see your co-workers go apeshit, which is a very enlightening experience. If you drink enough, you too can get in on the nonsense. Once, at a drinking party for the Ghetto School, I did the Barbie Girl song at karaoke … both parts. I had a Barbie Girl dance going on too and all the male teachers took this opportunity to grope a “real American girl”. It was a special evening I’ll never forget, no matter how hard I try.
Anyway, at this drinking party, I ended up talking to one of the English teachers. She’s 27, and really hot (don’t even think of sending me a “you should hook up with her” email) (Afterthought: you can’t have her either). She did a study abroad at the University of California, Riverside for a year, and as a result her English is pretty good. And much like any Japanese who’s left the country for any length of time, she longs to get out for good.
We were talking about living in Japan, and I was telling her about how when I first came, I considered the possibility of living in Japan for the rest of my life. Now, not so much. I said it was possible, but only if I met a completely awesome girl who I wanted to marry but didn’t want to leave Japan. Oh, and I’d need a REALLY HIGH paying job too. I added that this was highly unlikely though, and I doubted I would get married in Japan. She laughed and asked me why not. I casually told her that Japanese girls may not be what I’m looking for.
I continued my week at this school, eventually going to the Sports Day festival on Saturday. I’ve never really written about Sports Day, and I might at some point in the future, but not here. Just know that it involves a lot of running, kids stepping on each other, and endless shouts of “Gambare!”
I mentioned before I’d had a nasty accident that Wednesday, and as a result I had both hands, my right arm, and my right knee bandaged up pretty good. This ensured I wouldn’t have to do any real legwork on Sports Day, and gave me a pretty comfortable seat at the nurse’s station, under the shaded tent.
After Sports Day ended, I hung around to talk to the kids as they picked up their stuff and left the field. One girl approached me, and complained about all the stuff she had to carry – her chair, cheerleading pom-poms, a tea thermos, and her bag. I was all bandaged up, but I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to be Heroic Strong Mr. Gaijin to a young Japanese girl. In retrospect, I think she knew that and exploited it. For all you guys who want to date a Japanese girl, you should get used to this kind of exploitation, cause you’re gonna see it, A LOT.
Anyway, I offered to carry the chair for her, as well as somehow balance her tea thermos and the pom-poms on it. She did the usual “You sure that’s okay?” but wasted no time in passing me the items. In the hallway of the school, one of her friends expressed jealousy in that she didn’t get to have her stuff carried for her. KA-POW goes the testosterone-fueled male hero-trigger in my brain, so I offer to carry her chair as well. So in one hand, I had a chair, a tea thermos, and pom-poms. In the other hand, I had another chair and a backpack. And both hands are heavily bandaged. Amazingly enough, this wasn’t too much of a problem, just took a little balancing. And I’ll admit, I took joy in having the girls around me revel at my strength and heroism, even if they were only 15. It’s sad that this is what I have to resort to, to get my ego-fix. But eh, you’d do the same, and even if you wouldn’t, I’ll convince myself that you would to help me sleep at night.
We got up to the third floor, and I was maybe 10 meters away from the girl’s homeroom. Suddenly, out of *nowhere* (and I can’t stress this enough), Watson FLIES out of one of the classrooms and jabs me in the nuts. The whole thing happened in like .00000001 seconds, before I even knew what had happened I’d been jabbed in the nuts.
I was sitting at my desk after school one Tuesday, when Watson dropped by, sticking his head into the teacher’s room. After the almost obligatory “Watch, please!” “No! Go buy your own!” he started to heckle the other teachers. Noisy Fucker was on his way out, so with Watson blocking the doorway he grabbed some big pole thing that was forked at the end, and used it to push Watson out of the doorway, and pin him against a wall. “This is a good place for you, isn’t it?” Noisy Fucker says. Out of ALL the teachers in the teacher’s room, Watson calls out to me – “Help, help! Come save me!”
It was at this exact moment that I realized Watson lives in his own separate reality, completely different from our own. Given the countless times he’s tried to sexually molest me, AND steal my watch, AND ride me like a horse down the hallways of the school, after ALL of that, of ALL the people in the teacher’s room who he thought could’ve bailed him out of this situation, he turns to me?! Cute, kid. I’d like to visit this alternate reality Bizarro-Universe of yours someday. Just hook me up with a nice teachers discount on airfare, that’s all I ask.
“Help you?” I call out. “I’m rooting for Noisy Fucker on this one!” Watson scowls at me, but eventually Noisy Fucker lets him go and he scampers away. I came to find out that he usually drops by the teacher’s room, sticks his head in, and gives the teachers some form of harassment. Today, all the teachers comment on the slight facial hair he’s starting to grow. Watson is, after all, a sannensei. “I guess he’s growing up.” The Vice-Principal says. There was a slight pause, and the weight of that comment fully sank in. Noisy Gentleman is the first to respond. “Yet somehow, it doesn’t quite feel that way.”
What I love about Noisy Gentleman, is that you can count on him to say what everyone else was thinking but wasn’t going to say.
I was at the School of Peace, at my desk translating something, when the Principal came by. This usually results in the entire teacher’s room being in stitches within the next five minutes, as he’s pretty good at giving me shit. But it’s all in good fun, and I guess pretty funny. When I’m done with JET, and he retires from the schools, we both have a career in Japanese comedy just waiting for us.
Anyway he comes over to my desk. “What are you looking at with those big eyes of yours?” he asks. I told him I was translating. “It must be pretty easy, with your big-ass eyes you can see everything at once.”
Japanese people have a serious hang-up about their eye-size. They think they’re small, especially compared to Westerners. Big eyes are considered to be very attractive. This is why anime features such big-eyed people. Some female Japanese TV/Music stars have had surgery to make their eyes bigger. The biggest/most notable being Ayumi Hamasaki, who’s had a surgery or ten. The result of all this is that she no longer looks like a Japanese person, but like some creepy, bug-eyed elf. And not the good elves either, not the ones who bake cookies in trees. The ones who drop from trees and claw your eyes out while sucking your soul away.