I went to yet another graduation ceremony.
I think I mentioned last time that Japanese graduations are designed to make you cry uncontrollably. While that’s still all true, there’s one important aspect I totally forgot – they’re also designed to bore you into a catatonic, vegetable-like coma.
They play music while the graduates get the diplomas. It’s sad, piano/violin music meant to make people weepy and it also does a wonderful job of putting you to sleep. This is like the salad before they hit you with the main course. After the presentation of the diplomas, the principal gets up and says some standard graduation stuff. Probably any one of you could get up and do it. In Japanese. It’s that brainless. Then, some bigshot from the board of education gets up and gives a speech. Which is more or less EXACTLY THE SAME as the speech the principal just gave. Except that the board of education bigshot doesn’t really give a shit because he’s never seen these kids before in his entire life. And the kids don’t give a shit because he’s boring old man #1 (well, #2 if you count the principal) and yet one more obstacle until they’re freed from this hell and get to go home and on vacation (and since they’re Japanese, vacations are few and far between). Then, some bigshot from the PTA gets up and gives a speech. Oh, you KNOW the PTA was going to have a hand in this. I’m surprised the principal didn’t bow down and kiss his hand before the speech.
Anyway, Don PTA-san gives his speech, which is EXACTLY THE SAME as the speech the board of education bigshot AND the principal just gave. Despite being PTA, he may not actually have any kids in the graduating class. The Don-PTA at my school looked really old (he had to have three people help him up on stage) so unless he was still an active little sex-beaver at the tender age of 60, I doubt he had any kids in the school. Does it matter? Fuck no, cause he’s the Don-fucking-PTA. He probably had some of the other teachers waxing his car while he spoke.
One more bigshot speaks, I dunno who he was or what relation he had to anything (probably none), as far as I can tell his only purpose was to drag the ceremony out and torture the kids (and subsequently, all of us) as much as humanly possible. “Suffer! Suffer cretin dogs! Suffer because you are Japanese! And you Mr. Gaijin, you shall suffer because you are not Japanese!” I’d love to tell you more about this speech, but I don’t remember it because I was asleep. I kind of almost felt bad about that, but I looked down the row of other teachers to see some of them nodding off too. You would have to be super-human to actually stay awake the whole time. Dead people would revive themselves for the sole purpose of going to sleep. I found myself wishing the teacher next to me would chew off her own arm and then start beating me with it. At least I could go “Hey, look at this shit!” and actually stay awake. Maybe.
The day before the graduation ceremony, a practice was to be held to basically drill the kids on the proper way to stand up, bow, and sit down. And then yell at them for not standing up quickly enough or doing too short of a bow. Gotta love Japan.
Before the torture started, I was hanging out outside of the gym when a group of sannensei boys came up to me and took me off aside from everyone else. In my entire history of having worked with Japanese kids, if a group of Japanese boys makes it a point to lead you aside, no good is going to come from that. And this proved to be no exception.
Boy 1: Hey, so, what were you doing on Saturday night around 8PM?
Me: Saturday night … around 8 you say?
Boy 2: Yep. It was right about then.
Me: *thinks about it* (Crap, they must have seen. Might as well be honest) I went on a dinner date with a girl.
Boy 1: Dinner date, huh? And what about afterwards?
Me: What about afterwards?
Boy 1: What’d you do after dinner?
Me: (definitely can’t be honest about that) I shook her hand like a gentleman and we said our goodbyes.
Boy 2: A handshake? A handshake? Yeah right.
Boy 1: You sure you didn’t do The Hustle?
And here, he makes the same pelvis-thrusting motion that the Waist-Shake boys did many moons ago. It’s worth noting that the two groups of boys are in no way connected though.
Me: No, I didn’t do any Hustling.
Boy 1: You sure about that?
He continues to do the pelvis thrusts (Elvis would be proud), and some other boys joined him. As this was happening, the home economics teacher, an older lady, comes walking up behind us. She has no reaction whatsoever, merely just sidesteps out of the way of the group of 15-year old boys who are thrusting away right before their graduation ceremony practice*. What I really love about Japanese people is how they just don’t blatantly give a fuck about anything that’s going on around them. “Boys doing pelvic thrusts towards their foreign teacher? Oh hey look, that old lady just spontaneously caught on fire. Oh wow, that elephant is going to eat that baby like a soft-serve cone. Well, none of MY business, nosiree!” The only exception to this is if you happen to be different in their general direction, at which point you must be stared at until countered with a Gaijin Optic Blast.
*Sometimes, the pelvis-thrusting motion isn’t always just a gesture for sex. Sometimes it seems to be for “guts!” or “fight!” or something. So sometimes, you’ll get a 12-year old Japanese girl telling you she’ll do her best and then thrusting her pelvis out at you. That’s just how it is here. However, this time with these boys it was obviously a sexual thing – even a blind, deaf, mute hobbit with a crack addiction would have been able to tell the difference.
Just some assorted things that happened during one week at the Ghetto School.
I was in a ninensei class which saw a rare appearance of Larry from The Three Stooges. Seriously, it’s been so long since she’s actually been inside of a classroom, I was starting to think she was like the School Jester, or a really noisy janitor or something. Anything but a student. They managed to get her into class at least, but she spent her time playing around on her wildly decorated cell phone.
The kids were supposed to break off into pairs and recite some dialogue from the textbook. Usually they have to memorize it, but this time they only had to do a reading of it. Since Larry was actually in class this time, they paired her with a girl to do the recitation. They aren’t exactly friends, but they get along well enough, so in order not to screw the girl over, Larry decides she’ll do enough to properly be a recitation partner.
I went over there after a short practice time, and the two girls did their recitation except Larry did hers without even reading the paper. And it was right! I was amazed – granted, it wasn’t a whole lot of English, but I think she barely glanced at the paper. Even as I’d come over to check it, she briefly paused on her cell phone to spit out the English, then went back to downloading melodies.
I was surprised by this, to say the least. I usually fail to acknowledge the Stooges existence (which drives them completely nuts) but since she did a good job, I tried to encourage her. I am, after all, somewhat of a teacher.
Me: Hey, that was a good job! See, you can do it! Why don’t you try to come to English class more often?
I don’t know why I didn’t see that coming. I must be getting old.
Come to think of it, it’s been a weird week at the Ghetto School. It’s the week after final exams. I think I mentioned before, school continues on for a good 2-3 weeks after finals until the end of the term. During that time, teachers actually try to hold real classes, but the kids are all burned out from their tests, AND they know that they stuff that’s being covered, they won’t be tested on. Yeah, I wouldn’t pay attention either. Even the best, well-behaved classes become hyperactive during this time. But the Ghetto School has been strangely low-key this week. Even the bastards are sitting in their seats. They’re reading manga, but it’s better than them doing cartwheels out in the hallway (maybe you think I’m kidding about that one). I’m kind of worried, what the hell is going on? Have I stepped into some sort of Bizarro Ghetto School? Is there a Bizarro School of Peace, where Mousey is a good kid and Ultimate Sweetness is like the biggest slut? Is there a Bizarro version of me? What would that be like? The complete opposite of me — that would be a small white woman who actually liked being touched inappropriately by little kids. Holy shit, Michael Jackson is the Bizarro version of me! Or am I the Bizarro version of Michael Jackson? Mommy, I’m scared. Hold me.
I was helping out a female sannensei student after school one day with English – she was concerned about the English part of her high school entrance exams, and wisely sought out my council. We talked about various things, eventually coming to my running rivalry with Watson. “He’s an ‘interesting’ dude, for sure,” she said. “But you know, he’s actually really, really nice. He’s always reminding us “don’t forget, it’s your turn to clean the bathroom” or “hey, don’t forget it’s your turn to erase the blackboard.” And sometimes if he has the time, he just does these things for us. He really is a nice guy.” Huh. This is a side of him I have *never* seen before. Of course, I’ve never seen a side of him that isn’t trying to violate my kibbles and my bits. At the same time, I suppose it’s not at all far-fetched, but I can’t even imagine a reality that involves this kid and not trying to grab someone’s dick. It’s just like what he does. Superman fights against evil and injustice. Jack Bauer is an anti-terrorist hardcore weapon of doom. Watson grabs dicks. That’s just how the world works.
To prove my point, later that week…
There are times in life when you just find yourself in a “Oh shit!” situation. It’s like time just freezes, and the only thing that goes through your brain is the extent of how fucked you are. Like if you were a Robeast, and you were fighting Voltron, and he pulls back and goes “FORM BLAZING SWORD!” You just know you’re fucked, the end.
It’d been a while, but I had one of those moments today. I was on my way to class on the third floor. I was going up the steps when suddenly my Ascended Senses flared up and I turned around to see Watson behind me. On the steps.
For those not familiar with Kancho Dynamics 101, I’ll explain – nailing someone on the steps is like the Perfect Kancho Position. Having the ass above you provides for maximum finger/arm extension, and full Thrust Acceleration. It also puts the bullseye in a prime location, thus improving Thrust Accuracy by a full 67.3%. Kancho has to be one of the only offensive attacks where having the lower ground is actually the advantage.
Live here long enough, and not only do you get desensitized to the madness, you find it starts enveloping you. The process is slow/gradual enough to the point where you don’t even notice it. It takes another, non-assimilated Gaijin friend to point out to you your own madness. Having been here almost three years, I’ve noticed I’ve got a pretty good foot in the doorway of insanity. Here are some disturbing thoughts of mine I’ve catalogued lately.
— Reading porn on the trains is perfectly acceptable. And it’s not at all weird for the newspapers to have a porn insert. Because sometimes, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
— A boy trying to grab my penis or stick his fingers up my ass is merely in his glorious Springtime of Youth. I can still remember my Springtime of Youth, sitting on my friend’s laps, grabbing at each other’s penises. What wonderful days.
— Women are cute little creatures who should always wear skirts, 4 pounds of makeup (hey Morpheus, gimme that blue pill!) and rear my children. Sometimes, they get upset, but that’s okay, it’s cute. If you wanna pacify them though, buy them something expensive. Louis Vuitton for the win.
— You know, Japan has four seasons. How about your country?
— There are 3 major food groups – fish, rice, and whatever isn’t fish or rice. The last group will shorten your life span, and make you smell bad though.