Gaijin Smash

It Came From Left Field

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on August 11, 2006

Original Gaijin Smash Content
In one sannensei class, they were asked to prepare questions to ask me. I actually kind of hate this; I’d much prefer it if they asked me questions of their own volition. But that how the whole “internationalization” thing goes in Japan – with all the romance and motivation of a shotgun wedding. Goddammit, you will internationalize and you will like it.
The students were given half an hour to come up with at least five questions they could ask me, and the final twenty minutes of the class was reserved for answer time. As I expected, the questions were rather stale: “Do you like baseball?” “What’s your favorite color?” “Where’s your favorite place in Japan?” I don’t blame the students. Put a foreigner in front of me and tell me I have thirty minutes to come up with questions to askfor him or her and I doubt I could do any better.
One girl, though, completely broke the mold. No, she didn’t just break the mold – she shattered it into tiny little pieces and then incinerated them into ash. What I love about my life is that, for me the unusual, odd stuff doesn’t just come out of left field, it comes from the neighboring parking lot. The girl stood up and proceeded to ask me, “What do you think of lesbians?”
Say what now?

Take a moment to imagine that. I’ve been telling a class of 30 students who my favorite singer is and if I like corn and mayonaise pizza (for the record: no), and then suddenly a 15-year-old Japanese girl is asking me what I think about lesbians. How do these things happen? I would have never in my wildest dreams pictured myself in this scenario, and yet here it is. Even better – how was I supposed to answer that? “Well, I really like their porn…” Somehow, I didn’t feel that would have been an appropriate response.
I was an English major in university. I am now convinced that those four years of hard work, dozens upon dozens of classes built upon writing and creative thinking and analytical skills were all meant to prepare me for this very moment in my life. The dean might as well have handed me my diploma and said, “Here you are…you are now sufficiently prepared to tell a teenage Japanese girl what you think about lesbians.” With the culmination of higher education behind me, I cleared my throat and said, “Well, there are many kinds of different people in the world. I think that’s what makes the world nice, because there’s so much diversity. I also think that love is a wonderful thing, and if you can feel love, then no matter who you feel love for, then that’s also very nice.” Wow, it was like every cheesy feel-good TV show I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And today, on a very special Saved By The Bell… I almost had to resist the urge to turn towards a would-be camera and say, “And now you know…and knowing is half the battle. GI JOE!”
The girl smiled at my answer and sat down. I began to fear her remaining four questions. The teacher must have seen the look of profound bewilderment on my face, so she asked the girl to elaborate on why she’d asked me such a question. The girl explained, “I have a friend who is a lesbian. Sometimes, her life is difficult because people don’t understand her. So, I was just curious.”
Friend? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Fifteen-year-old Japanese lesbians. OK, now I have officially seen everything. Hmm… Japanese schoolgirl lesbians… actually no, let me stop that train of thought right there. The last time I had that thought, it landed me in a whole world of hurt.
We ran out of time in the class, so after the Lesbian Inquiry (boy, if you think nobody expects the Spanish Inquision, try the Lesbian Inquiry on for size), I wasn’t able to field anymore questions. Somehow, I can’t help but to think that’s for the best.
Post Note: After graduation, this girl went on to a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant in my town. I saw her a couple of times, and in small talk she said there was a boy at her new high school she was interested in. So I guess it really was a friend, and not the whole “I have a friend…not me…” bit.


19 Responses

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  1. krystal said, on August 12, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    either that or she decided she’s bi after all…

  2. McNerd said, on August 13, 2006 at 12:32 am

    Or she was interested in a girl, and she just didn’t want to say so. At least, based on the information in the postnote, I wouldn’t consider it evidence one way or the other.

  3. CT said, on August 13, 2006 at 6:34 am

    Man, that question must have been like the headlights of an oncoming truck in your face- considering the other queries were pretty lame, if not innocent. After all the other (horror) stories about these Japanese kids that you’ve posted, I’m surprised that none of those cheeky ones (if there’s any) actually asked about the size of your …ahem… penis or when’s your first time or …well.. you get the drift.

  4. Chris said, on August 13, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    Sort of short this time. Still pretty good I guess. It feels like it’s missing something though.

  5. The Great Cretaceous Bob said, on August 13, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    I would have said “I really like their porn”. I mean, they asked. Of course, that’s probably the reason I’ll never be a teacher.

  6. Tmoo said, on August 13, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    don’t ever link to that “worst porn ever page again”—my eyes burn.

  7. James A. Calwell III said, on August 13, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    It’s funny. The editorials are like dark education: it’s one of those issues nobody talks about yet everyone needs to know.

  8. yogi said, on August 13, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    I really like their porn haha. Ahem and I also like the concept of converting them 2 at a time.

  9. Andrew said, on August 14, 2006 at 2:42 am

    After visiting Mizusawa and reading all of your editorials over the years, this doesn’t stun me too much, though I probably would have had about the same amount of difficulty giving a good answer while on the hotseat. GI Joe ref + Monty Python’s Flying Circus ref = many e-props.
    I’m sad to admit that the Gym Downstairs thing has set off a string of inside jokes (a la Dread Gazebo) among my community of friends. Every new close friend must read that editorial and become just as disturbed as we are. Then again, we also have to explain the best worst movie of all time: Jackie Chan in “Fantasy Mission Force” (1984).

  10. zen said, on August 14, 2006 at 10:31 am

    I have enjoyed your bog greatly! Well written, however for some reason my comments never get posted, and they are all good! I do not know if they are lost in Space or what.
    So i’m trying something new.

  11. Cinnamon said, on August 14, 2006 at 10:36 am

    No-one expects the Lesbian Inquiry!
    I had a similar experience in college. I’m a dyke, I look like a dyke, and was therefore “out” to all my dorm-mates. One morning I had just got out of the shower, wrapped myself in a towel, and was combing my hair when an Ethiopian first-year girl came into the bathroom too. She said good morning, brushed her teeth, and then asked me if she could ask something. Sure, I said. “What do lesbians actually do with each other on dates?” she asked.
    “I have to put some clothes on before I can answer that,” I said.

  12. Kyth said, on August 16, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Wow.A day in the life of a english teacher in japan.
    This one of ’em new posts?

  13. Al the Absentminded said, on August 16, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    Should have said something like, “They’re okay as long as they don’t hit on my girlfriends.”

  14. Kfisher said, on August 17, 2006 at 6:04 am

    Really interesting. Well, teenagers are like that. They usually come out of the closet in these years. (I’m 15 too and I have quite a few gay classmates.) And I think you made the right answer…. I think…

  15. Warg said, on August 17, 2006 at 7:43 am

    You. Did. Not. Link. That thing.. *shudder*..
    Well here here for the new stuff.. but yeah, i’ve actually heard this question uttered in my class once.. the teacher though no foreigner was truly floored and came off much the same way you did..
    Anyway.. great read. And thanks for the laughs.

  16. Hikkikomori NEET said, on September 12, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    Too awesome.
    TV really is the greatest teacher. :3
    Sorry, no offense ^_^;

  17. noholzba said, on October 29, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    Heh, one of the other Kyoto-shi ALTs got asked by his girls “do you like blowjobs?”
    His answer?
    “Uh, yes.”

  18. Nils said, on December 8, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    ..ooOO( Now where did I put all those shôjo-ai eromanga? )

  19. Annie said, on December 17, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    ‘The girl stood up and proceeded to ask me, “What do you think of lesbians?”‘
    She is my new best friend. I am a 15 year old girl in Australia and that is totally what I would have said.
    It’s just hilarious to watch teachers freak out when you ask them stuff like that, especially if they’re new and squeemish =D
    The worst thing I ever did to a teacher was when she asked me to write a song about Australia in Spanish.
    All I can say is, the last line was :’And lots of sheep – but please don’t probe them.’
    Good writing, anyway. =]

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