Original Gaijin Smash Content
WIth Ms. Shang Tsung’s departure, the School of Peace was left short one English teacher. To replace the young first year girl who couldn’t handle the pressure, they hired as a mid-year replacement…another young first year girl. It doesn’t make sense at first, I know, but in retrospect I’m sure this was less for the students, and more for the teachers – to give the old women someone to boss around, and the middle-aged guys someone to flirt with and dream of cheating on their wives on.
I found this situation especially bad because, unlike the previous teacher who at least seemed experienced, this new girl was actually quite timid. The best I can describe her is – take the most timid, introverted girl you know…then imagine locking her in a closet for five years, only feeding her Slim Jim’s and rice krispie treats. …That was this new girl. However, despite having a personality that had all the ferocity of a lab mouse, she did have one major thing going for her – she was really, really cute. And in Japan, if you are female and cute, you can do any and everything up to (and maybe including) getting away with axe murder.
Original Gaijin Smash Content
One of my English teachers at the School of Peace went AWOL.
She’s a young, first year girl, and I was absolutely shocked to find that out. You know how most Asian people look five to ten years younger than they actually are? Well, she is one of the only Asians I’ve ever met who looked ten years older than her actual age. It’s almost like there’s a girl out there who looks ten years younger than her own age by doing a Mortal Kombat Shang Tsung soul suck on this poor teacher. …Come to think of it, that’s probably how the process works. For every Asian you see that looks younger than their age, there’s another Asian who’s been soul-sucked dry and walking around on crutches and shit at the tender age of 22.
I was talking to her one day, and she told me that she was a first year teacher. This was quite a shock to me, because not only did she look older, but she seemed to carry herself at least like an experienced teacher. “Really, you’re a first year? How old are you?” I blurted out. …I might as well have drop-kicked her on the spot, because “How old are you?” is one of the rudest questions you can ask a Japanese woman. I could have told her to get her ass in the kitchen and make me a sammich, fetch me a beer, and prepare some vittles, and it would have been less rude than me asking her how old she was. After apologizing profusely for my cultural slip-up, she told me she was twenty-one. I hid my shock, and checked my urge to ask for ID to prove it. I also found out she’d been a flight attendant for several years before deciding to become a teacher, which also added to my shock. First, where did she find the time to be a flight attendant in-between teacher training? Second, in Japan, the whole flight attendant deal is way different than it is in America. In America, flight attendants are old moms named Fran, and occasionally guys. In Japan, they’re expected to be young cute girls. This is primarily because business men make up the majority of Japanese flights, and they want to have young women in skirts and scarves serving them coffee. In effect, airplane office ladies. Despite her actual age, this teacher didn’t strike me as cute or young, so it left me pondering how she was able to get into that business. I’m thinking she must have made a killer sandwich or something for the airline company present. Plus a frosty mug of beer, and some bitchin’ vittles.
As many of you may know, I hail from San Francisco, California. Living out there, I kind of forgot that smoking was a thing that humans actually do. It’s prohibited virtually anywhere a living creature might be inhaling oxygen, which I believe leaves about a 50 km stretch out in the Mojave Desert that is actually OK for smoking. I seriously can’t remember the last time I saw someone light up. Even if you did, in San Francisco of all places there’d be no less than 10 hippies who’d rain down on you and beat you with incense and Feng Shui sticks or something while bemoaning how second-hand smoke is dangerous. …That is, unless you were lighting up weed, in which case there’d be no less than 20 hippies joining you.
Anyway, coming to Japan was kind of an eye opener for me, because this is one chain-smoking country. You see it everywhere – men walking down the street, people waiting for others, idling in the car, restaurants even have smoking and non-smoking sections, something I hadn’t seen for a long time (remember: California). I’m really kind of indifferent to it, I mean do whatever you want with your life, I don’t care. I just kind of hate seeing things like fathers puffing away in the mini-van with 3 kids in the back, or mothers lighting up at the dinner table with their infant child sitting next to them. …Kids don’t have a choice.
The smoking phenomenon, of course, trickles down to the nations junior high school kids. I got my first taste of this my first day on the job actually. Before I’d come, for whatever reason I had this image of squeaky-clean, upright model Japanese students. Everyone wearing their uniforms perfectly and frantically taking notes to pass those standardized tests they were supposedly so much better at than us American kids, and trying not to fail the entrance exams so they wouldn’t ruin their lives at the tender age of 15. The JET Orientations didn’t do much to destroy this image either, only telling us things like “your students may be shy.” (In retrospect…I want to find all the people who said that to me, and beat them with something large and pulpy.) Upon meeting my predecessor, I asked him if I’d ever encounter any bad students, and what to do about them. He took about a second to think about it, and then said “Well, at one of the schools the kids can be quite bad…sometimes I catch them smoking under the train station. I usually just pull out a cig of my own and join them.”