Gaijin Smash

End of the Road

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on March 15, 2007

Has it been three years already?
I am a JET. Although I hear change is in the winds, for now we are limited to three year contracts. Regardless of whether I want to or not, my job as an English teacher for this town will end in August. I feel that this is just about the right time. I’m not a real teacher, nor do I intend to be one. It’s time to move on.
As my time as a school teacher comes to an end, I start to wax nostalgic about all my adventures. …Hell, who am I kidding, I’ll wax nostalgic about any damn thing if you give me the chance. I’ll tell you about the golden age of the 90’s, when neon colors were The Shit, ABC’s TGIF lineup made staying home on Friday the cool choice, and the biggest concerns we had with our lawmakers was what interns they were screwing around with. I’m like rusty old Autobot soldier Kup, regaling Grimlock with tales about how I once fought off an entire army of Kanchoticons on Vanagar-7 armed with only my wits, a broken carburetor, and a carton of milk. But I digress – it’s been an interesting three years, to say the least.
Year 1 is sort of the trial and error year. The vast majority of us come into this thing with absolutely no teaching experience, and even if you had teaching experience it doesn’t necessarily help you here in Japan. Many mistakes will be made. A big, common ALT mistake is to assume the kids are interested in things they’re not. Things that Japanese kids aren’t interested in include anything outside of Japan, and quite a few things within Japan as well. It’s often quite depressing for us ALT’s, we come into a class hoping to teach these kids all about our home countries and cultures and whatever, and most of them couldn’t care if our heads spontaneously caught on fire.
We also kind of assume that our primary co-workers, being English teachers and all, can speak English. Nuh-uh sir, no. Being an English teacher in Japan is by no means a promise of English ability. Sometimes, you’ll find it’s the exact opposite.
Me: Hey, is it okay if I take a day off tomorrow?
Teacher: Tomorrow? Ok, yes, yes!
The next day…
Teacher: (calling my cell phone) Hey! Where are you? We have class!
Me: I took a day off. I thought it was okay? I asked you yesterday.
Teacher: …Yesterday? What?
Me: Yeah, I asked you yesterday? You don’t remember?
Teacher: Yesterday? What that?
Me: Yesterday…you know…yes-ter-day…the day before this one…
Teacher: What?
Me: YES-TER-DAY!
Teacher: …Beatles song?
Me: Goddamit, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.


Luckily, we learn the ropes by Year 2 and are able to sail by on cruise control. With the job having become brain-dead easy (seriously…you could wheel a comatose patient into the schools and they would probably do a half-decent job), it gives us a chance to interact with Japanese culture a bit more. Of course, by this time culture shock has also set in, so by “interact with Japanese culture”, what I really mean is “meet with other foreigners and complain about Japan.” We would love to complain TO Japanese people, but the concept just flies right over their heads.
Ms. Forehead: Man, I’m so tired.
Me: What’s up?
Ms. F: I had a lot of classes this week.
Me: Well, it’s almost the weekend.
Ms. F: Yes! Oh, but I can’t rest – I have sports club duties on Saturday and Sunday.
Me: You know, it seems like teacher and students kind of hate doing afterschool clubs every day of the week.
Ms. F: Well, yes, I think so.
Me: …Wouldn’t it make more sense to, and stop me if this is crazy, NOT have sports clubs everyday?
Ms. F: What do you mean?
Me: Well, you don’t want to do clubs everyday, right?
Ms. F: Yes.
Me: And talking to the students, I know they don’t want to do it everyday.
Ms. F: Hmm, yes, maybe.
Me: So if nobody wants to do clubs everyday, then why are you doing it everyday?
Ms. F: …I don’t understand.
Me: (A Charlie Brown-esque rain cloud forms over my head) Forget it.
As usual, Ms. Americanized was the only one to understand.
Ms. A: Yeah, fuckin’ sports clubs. I hate this shit. And do you know why we do it? Because the Japanese hate change. If you started just punching a Japanese guy in the nuts everyday for two weeks, the day you stop punching him in the nuts he’ll be all “hey, why aren’t you punching me in the nuts? YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE SYSTEM!”
Me: …Wow.
Ms. A: Now, I don’t have nuts, so I don’t know what it’s like to be punched in them. But working here, I think I feel the same thing emotionally. It’s like, the nutsack of my soul is being punched everyday.
Me: …Profound.
Ms. A: And do you know why I do it? Because in Japan, the only thing worse than being punched in your nutsack is being different. So I just have to stand here and be like “C’mon, punch me in the nuts!” or else I get booted to the out-group and then life really becomes hard. (heavy sigh) I really want to go back to America.
Me: Well, I keep telling you, if you think you’ll fit in the overhead storage compartment…
For the brave souls who decide to rough it out for one more year (read: the clinically insane), much of the stuff that frustrated you so badly in Year 2, you somehow learn to just blow it off. …Alcohol helps. Lots and lots of alcohol.
Anyway, it’s the end of Year 3. It’s been a hell of a ride. But its time to hang up my teacher hat and move on to whatever the next step is. As the board of education has been letting me make my own schedule since Year 2, I decided to get the ugly out of the way first – I prepared to head to my last week ever at the Ghetto School.

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66 Responses

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  1. J-hoosier said, on March 15, 2007 at 11:17 am

    I second the alcohol part. Does anyone else feel like they’ve become an alcoholic since coming to Japan?

  2. Samita said, on March 15, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Well, while I understand you’re happy to be going home, I must say I will miss your editorials from there. I hope you continue to write with whatever new persuit you have. You are exceptional.
    Thanks ^^

  3. Mob said, on March 15, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Hell of a ride. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts with us!

  4. Vishal mahabiersing said, on March 15, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Oh, my, three years already? Damnit, a lot of editorials came but I’m really sad if none more are following… :<
    Are you going to stay in Japan, though? I wonder what kind of thing you’ll do… Maybe you’ll change your mind and continue teaching? Maybe…?!
    Well, whatever, I guess we’ll hear. Great editorial, by the way, I laughed. ^_^

  5. Noval said, on March 15, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Reading your editorials for the past year has been alot of fun. Looking forward to reading the book (hint hint).

  6. Wayland said, on March 15, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    So are you going to take Ms. A back to the A as in (US)A and marry her so she can be one of us for real or what?

  7. Shinobu07 said, on March 15, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    what are u going to do now? we know ur not leaving japan just yet…

  8. evil_tennyo said, on March 15, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    man i can’t believe it, felt like it went by pretty fast!
    cant wait to hear about your last experience at the ghetto school. im gonna miss Ms. Americanized!

  9. sumbuddy said, on March 15, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Tell Grimlock about petrorabbits again!

  10. Ben said, on March 15, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    I think that nutsack comment by Ms. Americanized is more then worthy of gaining Australian citizenship. How could the immigration department deny a visa to somebody with such a profound view on life?

  11. b.valtchev said, on March 15, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    what can i say,i had some good times reading your blog and i too feel kinda nostalgic reading that your ‘adventure’ in bizarre land is coming to an end.
    for the past two years i’ve been visiting your site almost every month thinking “hey,i wonder hows that american teacher doing in japan”,so it became almost a habit to visit your site.its sad that your days as a teacher in japan will be over
    soon,but thats life.
    anyways,good luck.
    bojidar from bulgaria

  12. Teldar said, on March 15, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Oh
    my
    god
    That is some funny shit
    “It’s like, the nutsack of my soul is being punched everyday.”
    Pure comedy gold right there man.

  13. Jody said, on March 15, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Do you have any plans for the immediate future after school’s out? Stay in Japan another while (God help you), go back to America, go travelling…? I hope that you still keep us all updated. Even if you write completely arbitrary things, we’ll still love it (or, I know I will at least). It’s been swell, Az.

  14. Anonymos said, on March 15, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    “It’s like, the nutsack of my soul is being punched everyday.”
    That may be the funniest and saddest thing I have ever heard, possibly ever uttered by human lips.

  15. BrianJ said, on March 15, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Ho-HO-ly sh*t!! “It’s like the nutsack of my soul is being punched everyday” is now my all-time favorite saying. Damn! If no one is currently working that phrase into a song, it’s a crime against humanity!!

  16. Anonymous said, on March 15, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Woah.. This is coming to an end? I’ve been reading you for… Dunno, at least two years or so.
    I feel like a part of me is going away… Or it could be gas, i’m not sure yet.
    Either way, good luck man. Let us all know where you end up.
    -A big fan

  17. Anonymous said, on March 15, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Woah.. This is coming to an end? I’ve been reading you for… Dunno, at least two years or so.
    I feel like a part of me is going away… Or it could be gas, i’m not sure yet.
    Either way, good luck man. Let us all know where you end up.
    -A big fan

  18. Mr. Bomberman said, on March 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Well, good luck, whereever you go next, you have my blessing (though meaningless)

  19. Anonymous said, on March 15, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    I am 100% a classy lady, Az, but I gotta be real –
    I would go gay for Ms. Americanized at the drop of a hat. Drop of a hat, my friend. Drop of a hat.

  20. Anonymous said, on March 15, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    I am 100% a classy lady, Az, but I gotta be real –
    I would go gay for Ms. Americanized at the drop of a hat. Drop of a hat, my friend. Drop of a hat.

  21. Gennai said, on March 15, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Funny as always. I wonder what your future posts will be like.

  22. Kami Sama said, on March 15, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Forgive me if you posted this somewhere else, but what do you plan on doing next? I might recommend being a porn star. Who knows… you could end up becoming the Bob Sapp of Japanese porn. Someday some poor soul will be walking to and from work and simply because he is black he will hear “Hey, look! It’s Azrael!” about 15 times there and back. You would make dodge dick a million times worse for black in Japan πŸ™‚

  23. Randy said, on March 15, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    That’s sad sounding. I’m sure you have some kind of idea what you want to do afterward, anything interesting?

  24. Tekkarath said, on March 15, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    The suspense is killing me!

  25. HiEv said, on March 15, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Hey people, this all happened a while back. Azrael is still working in Japan and has plenty more stories. This is near the end of his work for JET, but it’s not the end of this site. For those who need a review see this entry:
    And Now, Back To Our Show – February 1, 2007
    http://www.gaijinsmash.net/archives/and_now_back_to_our_show.phtml

  26. SMIGGINS said, on March 15, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Well you could solve Ms. Americanized’s immigration problem by marrying her. You two would make a great couple. Haha I’m kidding I know you get this kind of stuff alot. I look forward to reading more posts.

  27. soumakyo said, on March 15, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    I’m always confused as if you’re speaking about the present time or past… but this is past… i think…
    anyway I’ll read everything that comes up and well if you have to move to something else, then may god bless you (hasn’t he always ? ^^)

  28. Patrick said, on March 15, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Okay, I actually missed sitting down in my chair from laughter. Good thing I didn’t finish sitting down. You now mus kidnap Ms A. and bring her to the US. Or at the very least, get her on Japanese TV to host a hour-long show called, “Japan is so fucked up, I want to leave.” Maybe that’ll get them to change their ways.
    Or, you know, all those Big Macs….

  29. Gabe said, on March 15, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Az, one question and feel free to not answer it.
    If Ms. Americanized was NOT around, would you have survived the full 3 years? Does anyone else in Japan get how much you have suffered other than your fellow JETs?

  30. Anonymous said, on March 15, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Hum, IIRC this was last year wasn’t it Az?
    (Az’s Note: Yep.)

  31. Anonymous said, on March 15, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Hum, IIRC this was last year wasn’t it Az?
    (Az’s Note: Yep.)

  32. David said, on March 15, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Wow. The Japanese editorials are coming to an end. It was a great ride. Thanks for bringing us along.

  33. Bully said, on March 16, 2007 at 12:02 am

    If booze is the saviour, one would hope that JET offers liver transplants?

  34. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 12:26 am

    “Ms. A: Now, I don’t have nuts, so I don’t know what it’s like to be punched in them. But working here, I think I feel the same thing emotionally. It’s like, the nutsack of my soul is being punched everyday.”
    Ok. Where is MS. Americanized? This is my future wife. Such profound words only come from prophets!

  35. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 12:26 am

    “Ms. A: Now, I don’t have nuts, so I don’t know what it’s like to be punched in them. But working here, I think I feel the same thing emotionally. It’s like, the nutsack of my soul is being punched everyday.”
    Ok. Where is MS. Americanized? This is my future wife. Such profound words only come from prophets!

  36. Roger said, on March 16, 2007 at 12:45 am

    I am going to miss the updates. I really have enjoyed reading them for the last year or so. Thanks, good luck, and I hope you continue to blog your adventures.
    (Az’s Note: Why do people keep treating this as the end of editorials? It’s not.)

  37. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Az’s Note: Why do people keep treating this as the end of editorials?
    Probably because you haven’t mentioned anywhere in your post that it actually refers to LAST YEAR. I understand that you’re clearing your writing backlog, but you really need to be more upfront about it. It’s very confusing.
    (Az’s Note: See “And Now, Back to our Show”)

  38. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Az’s Note: Why do people keep treating this as the end of editorials?
    Probably because you haven’t mentioned anywhere in your post that it actually refers to LAST YEAR. I understand that you’re clearing your writing backlog, but you really need to be more upfront about it. It’s very confusing.
    (Az’s Note: See “And Now, Back to our Show”)

  39. Puma said, on March 16, 2007 at 2:32 am

    Ms. Americanized needs her own ‘blog. She’s fantastic.

  40. NT said, on March 16, 2007 at 4:28 am

    One suggestion I can give is to teach English in other Asian countries. I know you don’t intend to teach anymore but its just in case you can’t think of any job other than teaching. That way, you’ll (probably) be exposed to a whole new environment.

  41. Mayhem said, on March 16, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Whenever you do leave Japan Az, you have to take Ms A with you. Yeah, yeah I know what you said about no relationships, I wasn’t even thinking there. She has to be your willing sidekick in the new blockbuster feature “Escape from Nippon”… whenever that ends up happening! She deserves it.

  42. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 10:22 am

    You can pick up the golden kimono full time now chief.
    Doesn’t that sound fun!

  43. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 10:22 am

    You can pick up the golden kimono full time now chief.
    Doesn’t that sound fun!

  44. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 10:25 am

    HEy if you arent going to see Ms A again you should give ‘er a good western thrashing. It will be the best 2 minutes of her life. and then you can rest assured that even though shes not with you in USA she got a share of America for the rest of her miserable year without you at the ghetto school~

  45. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 10:25 am

    HEy if you arent going to see Ms A again you should give ‘er a good western thrashing. It will be the best 2 minutes of her life. and then you can rest assured that even though shes not with you in USA she got a share of America for the rest of her miserable year without you at the ghetto school~

  46. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 11:37 am

    we have to start a donation drive to fund Ms. Americanized’s return to America!!!

  47. Anonymous said, on March 16, 2007 at 11:37 am

    we have to start a donation drive to fund Ms. Americanized’s return to America!!!

  48. Spoon said, on March 16, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    “I’m like rusty old Autobot soldier Kup, regaling Grimlock with tales about how I once fought off an entire army of Kanchoticons on Vanagar-7 armed with only my wits, a broken carburetor, and a carton of milk. But I digress – it’s been an interesting three years, to say the least.”
    ❀

  49. Corey said, on March 16, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Wow… I always hoped these editorials would go on forever, but I knew they wouldn’t. I’m gonna miss ’em once/if they stop (still some slim hope in my heart).

  50. FlameAdder said, on March 17, 2007 at 6:29 am

    If I hadn’t already read And Now Back To Our Show, I would’ve been afraid that there would have been no more laugh-riot inducing editorials littered with bad video game references and goofy race/society humor. Can’t wait for more.

  51. ArthurHung said, on March 17, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Hahahaha Ms. Americanized is the best. This must be the only profound statement using the word “nutsack” ever.

  52. Anonymoose said, on March 17, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    “Hell, who am I kidding, I’ll wax nostalgic about any damn thing if you give me the chance.
    I’ll tell you about the golden age of the 90’s, when neon colors were The Shit, ABC’s TGIF
    lineup made staying home on Friday the cool choice”
    … No, it didnt, but at least now we know that Jaleel White is alive and well and working as a JET in Japan. Good job, Steve!
    Look at it this way: Your time as a JET may be coming to a close, but so too is the Day of the Kancho. Just think: there will be a day – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon – when you will wake up, look out at the rising sun, and say, “By god, my asshole will not be violated! Not today! Not tomorrow! Never again! I SHALL OVERCOME!”
    Strike a blow for assholes everywhere, Az. Stop teaching.

  53. xin said, on March 17, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Hey Az, i found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2hQGOOR5g0 series of fanta commercials in a thread, and an ALT chimed in and said that actual japanese High schools can be often even weirder than that. What do you think of them?

  54. purplekitty said, on March 18, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Well…… now that I think about it most american teenagers don’t really care about Japan either and the ones that do are considered nerds T_T

  55. Jimbo the Clown said, on March 18, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Hmm… I can’t wait to see the next part of this. Though I’m sure that when we see the last of Ultimate Sweetness, I’ll bawl like when I read Moeko’s Owl… speaking of that, is she doing well, Az? (Moeko, not Sweetness.)

  56. Dave said, on March 18, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Ms. Americanized seems like a really one-of-a-kind lady in a place where chicks can be really damn generic.

  57. Vidgmchtr said, on March 18, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    He ended JET about half a year ago, guys. This editorial was most likely written up around that time, but saved specifically for when he got all the “lost” editorials up.
    I started to think, before. What woulda tea party between Moeko and Sweetness be like? Hm…

  58. Old School said, on March 19, 2007 at 2:22 am

    Looking forward to your account of the final battle at the Ghetto School.
    By the way, would this be an accurate depiction of Ultimate Sweetness?

    Don’t ask where I got it from; the other 99% of the cartoon is simply WTF-worthy.

  59. Kohaku said, on March 19, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Az, much luck and happiness to with your futher adventures, while I LOVE the school editorials, I look forward to the next adventure as well.
    Alcohol is the way that ANY gajin in Japan survives at first….or continues to survive…they should offer liver transplants with your contract. But the Japanese drink like fish! (where the hell do they put it????)In what other country can you go to a bar, look at any group of people drinking and find at LEAST 1 passed out on the table or floor while the rest of their friends drink? I LOVE Japan!

  60. Thompson said, on March 19, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Say it ain’t so…:(

  61. fr00tloops said, on March 19, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    I will wait until those new “lost” articles. But i must admit, your journey seems very interesting to say the least. You’ve recorded alot of important parts of your trip. You’ve visited a part of the world, where its completely different. Sounds like fun… ._.

  62. Honey said, on March 21, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Teacher: (calling my cell phone) Hey! Where are you? We have class!
    Me: I took a day off. I thought it was okay? I asked you yesterday.
    Teacher: …Yesterday? What?
    Me: Yeah, I asked you yesterday? You don’t remember?
    Teacher: Yesterday? What that?
    Me: Yesterday…you know…yes-ter-day…the day before this one…
    Teacher: What?
    Me: YES-TER-DAY!
    Teacher: …Beatles song?
    Me: Goddamit, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.
    This made me gag on water, choke, spit up on my keyboard and totally embarrass myself in my office…..for some reason that was the funniest thing I have heard in weeks!! Thanks….I have to go ask IT for a new keyboard….the “N” is sticking…..Love ya Az!!!

  63. Monkeydancer said, on March 21, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Perhaps, the next step for you is to write a book about your adventures?

  64. DunnDeegan said, on March 28, 2007 at 4:14 am

    J-hoosier, I don’t really consider myself to be an alcoholic, but sometimes it is required for this line of work. I teach in Korea, and decided to celebrate Tuesday with 2 friends and 3 bottles of vodka. πŸ˜› Do you feel better about yourself?

  65. Saknika said, on March 5, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Man… not only do I want to fly out to California to meet you upon your return someday, but if you did somehow manage to bring Miss. Americanized back with you, that would be a hell of an added bonus.

  66. Jaft said, on November 22, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Please don’t hate me, but, I’ve been reading all your entries from the very start of the archive, absolutely hilarious entries with the occasional profound one, most notably, “Moeko’s Owl”, and I’ve finally just thought of a joke that you hopefully haven’t heard over nine thousand times.
    I was wondering if you ever got Gaijin Smashed.
    Think about it… 8D
    If you can’t understand what I’m saying, try drinking lots and lots of alcohol.


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