I broke my right collarbone. I don’t want to get into how this happened, I’ll just say that biking off the road and into a rice field may not be the best way to get from Point A to Point B in Japan. Even more unfortunate than the actual injury was that this meant I’d have to make yet another trip to a Japanese doctor. Japanese health care has pioneered new and innovative ways to suck and I’ve made it a point not to go unless, at the very least, a major bone was broken.
My first winter in Japan, there was a very bad flu going around. As any schoolteacher knows, kids are like virus magnets and us poor teachers end up getting caught in their web of snot. So we had a lot of kids dropping and I too caught the flu. Instead of going to the doctor however, I went to work. Az’s Workforce Tip #24 – if you don’t want your co-workers to question your use of sick leave, or to have them not even count it at all, just go into work looking really horrible and really contagious. (“Good morning! *cough*cough*hack* Oh sorry, got a little phlegm on you there…”) They won’t be able to send you home fast enough. I was actually doing okay in the morning. The school nurse took my temperature, which was 37.5 C, which is apparently not that bad. But I got much worse in the afternoon, so the principal sent me home to go to the doctor.
I went and at reception they asked me my temperature. I told them 37.5, but that was taken in the morning while I was still somewhat human. They sat me down without taking my temperature again. I saw the doctor, who spoke English (many docs in Japan do), and he immediately recognized me. “Oh, I know you! You’re the English teacher in the Ghetto School! Ah yes, that school has many sick students with the flu. We’ve had so many students come through with the flu, it seems to be VERY contagious this year. But your fever is only 37.5, so I think you have a cold.”
Note that he never actually examined me, just read the notes that front reception took. And they didn’t even examine me either. So I got *cold* medicine … which *of course* didn’t work. Imagine that. I went back a week later feeling just as sick as before. I saw the same doctor, and as he took his chair he said “Ah yes. I thought you had the flu.”
THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU GIVE ME FLU MEDICINE IN THE FIRST PLACE?!
I went to a ninensei class at the Ghetto School. Before the class began, Chidori Boy entered the room. You haven’t heard much about Chidori Boy because he’s been fairly low key/quiet lately. At least nothing worth writing about. But this day, as he came into the classroom and walked past me, he took one of those open-palmed finger jabs to my nuts. Thank GOD for my new Ascended Senses, I was able to parry his hand to my thigh with the uber-quickness. But what the hell is going on here? How the fuck have we gone from grabbing at it, to trying to punch it? Is this the natural pecking order of schoolboy debauchery? Is it jealousy? Seriously, what the fuck? I liked it better when they were merely grabbing at it. That’s the most fucked up thing I’ve ever said. And it’s sad because it’s true.
Incidentally, since class hasn’t technically started yet, I’m standing at the front of the classroom with the Japanese teacher. Her response? “Hey, don’t do that.” Yep. Hey, don’t do that. Mr. Teacher just might not want you jabbing his potential future kids out of existence.
The chime rang, and the students all stood up for the ritual “Good morning, how are you?” “Fine thank you, and you?” that makes a little part of me die inside every time I hear it. “Good morning, class!” I say. “Good morning, Mr. Azrael!” 29 Japanese school kids say. “Good morning, Mr. Kancho!” Chidori Boy says. Um … no. I told him this too, in English. “Umm … no.” Chidori Boy turns to the rest of the class. “That’s okay. We got him good back when we were ichinensei.” Chidori Boy is referring to the events that took place in Requiem of a Legacy, the tragic tale of a hero’s fall from grace.
“Yeah, and I’m gonna get revenge for that one of these days,” I said. Chidori Boy doesn’t realize that not only did he get me during a period of vulnerability, since then I’ve lost whatever sanity I might have had left, and have no qualms about Rocket-Kanchoing a kid straight to Mt. Fuji if I have to. I kanchoed the ever-loving shit out of Watson and his offenses are petty crimes compared to Chidori Boy, who is literally a war criminal. A war fought inside a classroom using fingers up the ass, but it’s still a war damnit, and I’m gonna persecute him as such.
The girl standing next to Chidori Boy (this is STILL just the opening greeting) agrees with me at least. “Yeah! You revenge kancho the shit outta him.” Note that she doesn’t literally say in Japanese “revenge kancho the shit outta him”, that’s a decent English equivalent, I don’t think there’s even a way to say that in Japanese. If there is, I don’t know it. They don’t happen to teach that kind of thing in Japanese class, you know. “Do you know the way to the post office?” “I’ll meet you at the coffee shop after 9.” “I’m gonna revenge kancho the holy shit outta you.” Nope, didn’t appear in any curriculums I studied.
Because you love her.
One day, I was talking to Ms. Americanized in the teachers’ room. I have a Japanese language test coming up pretty soon, so I’m kind of concerned about it now. She was telling me how it’s good to use the media to help with language practice. I said I wish I could do that, but I hate Japanese TV with a fiery, burning passion so it does me no good. She said, “Well, watching American TV helps me a lot, I can learn a lot of really useful things.” I asked her what American TV shows did she watch.
“Oh, I love Sex and the City.” She says.
I wouldn’t call it surprising, not by a long shot, I still found it to be hilarious though. She noticed my reaction. “What? That show has taught me a lot of really good things, not just about the English language, but the culture as well. Sex and the City is my bible.” And if I wasn’t floored before, now I definitely was. “Oh no, don’t do that!” I said. “That’s only a small slice of what America’s like.” She realized what I was getting at. “Oh, I’m not talking about the dirty stuff. You know Carrie is a writer, right? Well, when she’s writing on her typewriter, she uses a lot of colloquialisms and American sayings, things like that. So, I hear things I’m not familiar with, then I look them up and I learn something new.” Oh! Well, that’s actually pretty good. Wonderful actually. I told her this. And once again, Ms. Americanized showed me that as usual, she was capable of upping the ante.
“And the dirty stuff is good too. Hey, you never know when you might need it.”
I have decided that when I do leave this country, I’m taking her with me.
And don’t even THINK of sending me another “You should hook up with Ms. Americanized!” email (fastest way to ensure your email gets deleted). She’s seeing someone. Not me, for the record.
Probably the most popular act in Japan right now is a guy who calls himself “Razor Ramon Hard Gay”. He wears studded black leather and goes around saying stuff like “Hard Gay Power! Fooooooo!” and dry humping as many random people and objects as he possibly can. And no, I’m not making this up.
Yes folks, this is what passes for “entertainment” in this country.
I’m not going to be too hard on Hard Gay though (no pun intended), as he’s actually funny, unlike the other untrained monkeys they throw on TV to take endless stupid quizzes and eat endless dish after dish, while making the same “It’s delicious!” face over and over again. I really hate Japanese TV. The only upside is that Kiefer Southerland has done some 24-themed commercials, so occasionally we get to see Jack Bauer own the hell out of random Japanese women.
Anyway, Hard Gay is loved by many in Japan, adults and children alike. Wait, what? Kids? Yessiree Bob, kids follow the Hard Gay phenomenon as well. Although my kids haven’t been prone to anything other that a few random “Fooooooo!”‘s here and there, some of my friends who work in elementary schools tell me that it is not at all uncommon to see a little kid run down the hallway screaming “Foooooooo!”, or to catch a little boy or girl dry humping the ever-loving bejeezus out of something.
Like any good Hollywood franchise these days, the series must be pushed to three installments, to milk it for all its worth before going on to rehash something else.
This time I dropped in on the ninensei. The ninensei are learning about Thailand. The boys were rehearsing a traditional Thai dance, while the girls were working on a karaoke version of a Thai pop song. The boys were more or less engrossed with their “dance practice”, which involved them jumping all over the classroom and knocking each other over (for the record, the final version looked NOTHING like this). The girls looked ready to take a break by the time I’d come, so they rushed over for some conversation, including Ultimate Sweetness and some of her friends.
Sweetness’s English teacher and I have a new thing for her. When Sweetness is doing something above and beyond her standard levels of cute, something that crosses into the disgusting, almost offensive levels of cuteness, we’ll both just clutch our chests, as if Sweetness were giving us a heart-attack from pure cute clogging up our arteries. Yes, it’s that bad.
Anyway, somehow the ninensei girls had gotten me to open up my wallet and show some of my pictures. I still have some old pics of girls I knew in high school (just friends sadly. I was Corporate General of the De-sexified Friend Zone (the DFZ) back then), so they marvelled over how beautiful American women are and how they could never compete. For a *brief* moment, I considered telling them about how there are scores of American men back home who think Japanese women are the most beautiful thing ever created since the Super Nintendo, but I decided that biting my tongue on this matter would be for the best. Sweetness gets caught starting too hard at a particularly cute blonde. Sweetness’s best friend notices this, and in a huff, throws up her hands and says “Oh! I see how it is!” before marching to the back of the room. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. Another girl explains to me that Sweetness really likes the blonde haired, blue-eyed look. Thinks it’s really beautiful. So now Sweetness’s best friend had become insanely jealous.
Sweetness convinces her friend to come back, who then falls into her arms fake sobbing over not being able to compete with beautiful American women, and how she’s lost to a picture. Sweetness pats her on the back, while cooing in her ear – “I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. I love you.” Sweetness then looks up at me, and gives me this “What can you do?” look while still patting her friend on the back like the family dog.
Did you hear that Elizabeth? Here comes the big one.
Second verse, same as the first.
This time, I decided to go upstairs and see what the ichinensei were up to. First, I ran into the boy who’d tried to slip his hands down my pants in the hallway (see And Now For Something Different). As usual, he was once again amazed by my height. He called over the tallest ichinensei to compare – a girl. “Wow, she looks tiny compared to you!” he says in utter amazement. I wonder what kind of damage this is doing to both me and the girl’s egos.
Anyway, Gropey (the long-lost 8th Dwarf?) wanders off to do something else, so I start to talk with the girl and her friend about the various different inconvenient aspects of being over 6 feet tall in Japan. As I’m talking, without even realizing it, my hand naturally moves behind me, as I parry the fingers of the “Please may I kancho you?” boy as he tried to hit me with a Shinobi Kancho. Fucker didn’t even ask me this time. “How did you know?!” The Indelible Mr. Kancho asks, amazed at how easily I parried his attack. Since I’ve gained my Ascended Anti-Kancho Powers, this boy just has no idea what he’s trying to mess with. He came expecting to kancho a man, but instead he found A GOD.
*Ahem*. Anyway. Not particularly wanting to end my conversation with these two girls in order to fend off Yet Another Kancho Attack, I used the longest part of my body, my legs (get your minds out of the gutters, sickos) to keep Mr. Kancho at bay. I pinned him to the wall with my right heel, and while keeping my balance on my left leg, continued talking to the girls. Mr. Kancho tried to snake his hands up my leg, and thinking back on it now, he would have had a direct line to the Eye of the Tiger. However, I do have really long legs, and I’d be hard pressed to find any Japanese person who could actually reach up my leg THAT far, ESPECIALLY Mr. Kancho who is a runt of a kid to begin with. Ha, take that, Japanese gene pool!
After realizing his complete and utter defeat, Mr. Kancho retreated away to work on his project, but he’ll be back. It never ends.