Questions, Comments, Concerns
Reading my mailbox lately, again I’ve been noticing many of the same questions popping up over and over again.
Yes, I do read all my mails. I’m terrible about replying, but if people are taking the time out to write me, the least I can do is read it. I usually think “I’ll reply later when I have time”, and before I know it six months have elapsed. If it makes you all feel any better, my own mother often complains that I don’t answer her emails frequently enough. My own mother!
Anyway, as I’m noticing the same questions popping up over and over, I thought I might like to devote another editorial for a FAQ. Saves everybody time if I answer questions here.
Even though I’ve answered these two questions in the previous FAQ’s, they’ve made a spectacular comeback.
I want to teach in Japan/do JET? Any advice?
I’m going to Japan soon, can you recommend any good places to see?
The JET question is answered in the current FAQ, so please check there (read from the bottom up). For the lazy though, the Cliffs Notes answer to both questions is: no.
I am not the JET spokesperson, I never was. There’s plenty of information out there about JET, and more than enough past JET’s floating around who are willing to talk your ear off about the experience given the chance. There are plenty of past/current/future JET’s on the Outpost Nine Message Board, for example. There’s a good resource.
Regarding travel advice, I’m not a Lonely Planet. I actually have not done that much traveling within Japan myself, so its not like I’m not willing to tell you, I just don’t know. Regarding anything within Kyoto, Osaka, or Kansai, I don’t think I know of any ultra-secret hidden hot spot that Lonely Planet or some other guidebook hasn’t already unearthed.
I’m (insert nationality here). Will I be accepted in Japan?
Okay, let me elaborate a little. To the Japanese, there are two types of people. Japanese, and not Japanese. Within “Not Japanese” there’s all sorts of levels – white, black, hispanic, Middle Eastern, whatever. White people will get stared at, black people will get stared at more, and someone wearing an actual fruit basket on their heads…might not get stared at as much as a black person. But basically, we’re all in the “Not Japanese” group.
Not that this is a bad thing. There are many ways in which it benefits you not to be Japanese. And its not like Japanese people will actively hate on you. Many will go to great lengths for you. But if you’re looking to just blend into the crowd…no. Maybe in Tokyo. Not many other places. Don’t let that stop you from being interested in the country/wanting to visit, but just realize that this is how it is here.
Congratulations on the engagement! When’s the wedding? Pictures?
Thank you. The wedding ceremony will be September 20th. A nice chapel in northern Kyoto. Sure, I can throw up a picture or two at least.
Legally speaking though, we’ll be hitched sometime next month. The girlfr-er-fianc- …er, soon to be wife, said that we should go ahead and get the paperwork out of the way. There was NOTHING I could reply with that she wouldn’t hear as “so…you DON’T want to marry me then?” So by this time next month, I’ll be all married and stuff. I was planning on a one or two year engagement before marriage…but eh. When life throws you curveballs…sometimes all you can do is get married to them.
Do you have a wedding fund of some sort?
Thank you to all who have asked this. I don’t have a wedding fund specifically, but if you would like to contribute my regular PayPal is fine. Check out Outpost Nine for donation information, or just make a payment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, thank you to all those who are even considering this.
Love…is expensive. I don’t know if its tradition in Japan to have the bride’s family pay, but her family isn’t really in that position and there is no way I will ask them of it. The girlfr-fianc-wife and I are cutting back and trying to save up as much as possible. Hey, you only get married once, right?
*crickets chirp in the background* Erm, ideally.
Hey man, can you help me to hook up with a Japanese girl?
No. Do it yourself.
And if any mail you’re thinking about sending to me includes the phrase “Japanese girls are so perfect”…I’d recommend stepping away from the computer and re-thinking your life for a few days. This isn’t advice for my sake either. Yes, I am about to marry a Japanese girl, but if you think any race of women (especially Japanese) are “perfect”…then its time for some serious introspection.
Do your parents know about the engagement?
Yep. I think I mentioned before, but pretty much the only person who didn’t know was the bride-to-be-herself.
My mother is currently patiently awaiting half-Japanese grandchildren. So I am actually. Gotta send them off to the entertainment industry so that I can retire and live comfortably off a percentage of their salary.
Kids in Japan?
Sure. Until elementary school. I absolutely positively refuse to let any kids of mine go to a Japanese junior high school. If you are baffled as to why, start here and work your way back to this entry.
Do you keep up with anyone from your teacher days?
Unfortunately, no. Though there was the obligatory exchange of email and the promises of meeting up, everyone becomes busy and life moves on I suppose.
I do meet up with my successor every now and then, and through him I get status updates sometimes on how everyone is doing.
— Ms. Americanized is still stuck at the Ghetto School. She’s become the head English teacher there. She’s still as colorful as ever, although ten times as busy now.
— Principal of Peace was actually transferred from the School of Peace…to the Ghetto School. I feel bad for him, but on the other hand, if there’s anyone who can actually help that school it’s him. The previous principal…well, to say that he was a pushover would be an understatement. “Gee, it sure would be nice if you boys didn’t destroy every single classroom door…but I understand that this is a fun activity for you, so I can’t really stand in your way…”
— The Ghetto School is actually not all that bad now. Sure, it’s not a pristine institution of higher education, but its not the “want to throw yourself in front of a train” situation it was before. Sometimes the difficulty of the Ghetto School changes depending on how good the students are. My second year was actually kind of fun, because out of three classes of students two of them were good.
— Chidori Boy occasionally sends me postcards. He gives me status updates on how he’s doing in school, written in English no less. I have to wonder if he’s grown any (he was kind of a small kid) and if he is still carrying out any anime-inspired Kancho conspiratory attacks on unsuspecting Gaijin.
— An English teacher at the School of Peace is getting married. I never really wrote about her, because we didn’t start working together until I was on my way out. I think that’s a blessing in disguise, because this teacher was the hottest Japanese woman I think that has ever been born. That’s not even an exaggeration. I don’t know how I could have worked with her AND successfully defended my Dodgedick Champion status at the same time (let’s just say the students would have had an easier time finding/grabbing it). I don’t even know who her future husband is but I’m insanely jealous of the guy.
…Ok, no more of that talk. I’m going to be MARRIED this year. I am a good boy.
Angel Az: Yes you are. You love your wife to be. You will not stray.
Devil Az: Damn man, we’re not married yet! At least let me fantasize! You can take away my freedom but you can’t take away my fantasies!
How is Smash Brothers Brawl?
*Yes, I actually got asked this, more than once.
I don’t own a Wii, I don’t know.
I actually found myself in line at the electronics store in Kyoto the day it came out. I was there for a completely different game (Devil May Cry 4) which happened to come out on the same day. Madness, I tell you. The line wrapped around the store, with half of the patrons also buying a Wii.
I’ve only played the first Smash Brothers briefly, so I don’t understand the craze. While I can see the general appeal of getting to bash Pikachu’s brains in with Solid Snake, I’m more of a Street Fighter man.
And yes, for those of you savvy to the game industry, this was January 31st, a Thursday, which means I took the day off work to go buy a video game. You may question my methods, but when the demo came out, I had to wait a full 3 hours to play it while my girlfriend watched inane Japanese TV (hey look, people are talking and eating on TV again! How interesting!). I didn’t want to take any chances of the same thing happening for the real game. Am I a total nerd? Absolutely! Haven’t you been paying attention?