A Picture’s Worth 6.0
Since the picture posts seem to be fairly popular, I decided to do another one. I guess to say thank you to all those who have been following me up until now – here’s some eye candy.
Broom Closet / 2
These are pictures of my very first apartment in Japan. As you can see, it wasn’t very big at all. In picture one, directly opposite from the “kitchen” is the unit bath – a room maybe the size of your broom closet with not only a toilet and sink, but the bathtub as well. With the proximity to the “kitchen”, I could theoretically take a shower and fry up some eggs at the same time if I so desired. The door leads outside. The second pic shows a better view of the…erm…room. There’s a veranda outside the window where the washing machine was. And that’s about it. What you see is what you get.
Also note that some of the stuff pictured isn’t actually mine – my predecessor, when it came time to go home, pretty much just said OK, got up, and left. Literally. No packing, no cleaning, just stood up, walked out the door, and he didn’t live there anymore. As I understand it, he really only used the place to sleep, and even then spent half the time sleeping elsewhere.
I knew that Japan specialized in tiny living spaces, but I wasn’t quite prepared for this. Aside from the small size, there were a lot of other factors that just made it a very undesireable apartment. I ended up changing my living arrangements about halfway though my first year – not a very common thing for JET’s to do.
The teacher’s room at the School of Peace. It was on the second floor, and you’ll notice the big windows at the back, so in the summer it’d get pretty hot – I’d go outside and walk around the grounds because it was actually cooler than inside the room! You may also notice the air conditioner at the top left of the picture, and think “Well, that’s a wonderful invention! Why didn’t they use it?” I thought this to myself many times, but I think this may have been the fault of one of my English teachers, Mrs. S (who, I think, you can see sitting at her desk by the windows…). One day, she left the school to go attend some conference, and one of the other teachers, as he watched her car pull out of the parking lot, turned to everyone and said, “Well, she’s gone. Air conditioning?” Every teacher gave their agreement, so the curtains were drawn and the AC cranked up. For once, the teacher’s room was a suitable environment for human life.
If the other teachers were suffering for the sake of Mrs. S, its kind of scary to think about the dominion she had over the entire faculty. This is why I keep telling you – in the grand tier list of unstoppable forces we should fear, old Japanese women are broken. I just wish the US government would heed my warnings, because unlike Independance Day, there’ll be no crazy Randy Quaid to fly his jet fighter straight into a pachinko parlor to bring the horrible Obasan Reign to an end – we’ll just be fucked, and I’ll be the crazy guy who sits on his porch (what’s left of it) rattling off “I told you all! But you didn’t listen!”
Me and Principal Peace. I consider him to be like a mentor to me in my 3 years as a school teacher. Last I heard he’d been reassigned to the Ghetto School. If anyone can bring law and order to that chaos, it’d be him. I also figure that’s an awesome drama/movie script that’s playing out in real life (Onizuka, eat your heart out), but I’m no longer there to witness it.
With Principal Peace at the Ghetto School, sometimes I imagine the Ghetto School has been completely reformed, and with his absense the School of Peace has fallen into chaos. …But I try not to think about that too much because it makes my brain hurt. That’s more or less stepping into the Mirror Universe. In the Mirror Universe, Ultimate Sweetness owns 47% of the Asian continent, and rules it with an iron fist. And her evil goatee, of course.
The Captain’s Chair
Yep, that’s blue ball is Principal Peace’s office chair. I told you this was an interesting guy. Aparently the students had also heard of it but very had actually seen it in person, so it was somewhat of a rumor/legend.
I hope to one day be so important, that I can have my very own office, and sit on big blue yoga balls inside of it. Its important to have dreams for the future, y’know.
This is from the last day of class of the academic year (sometime in March) in my third and final school teacher year. After the school had emptied out I’d just been aimlessly wandering around, and found these three girls in one of the classrooms. They were having a big year-end gossip session, and were kind enough to let me in on it. While I don’t particularly like gossip, I always liked hearing about the school from the student’s perspective, and all the things that just can’t be seen from the front of the classroom.
These girls were also kind enough to tell me, in itemized list form, all of the girls who had crushes on me. …So much for secrecy, eh? Women just cannot be trusted I guess. After breaking it down for me, they asked what I was going to do with the information…
Girl 1: So, what are you going to do about it?
Me: …What do you mean, what are you going to do about it?
Girl 1: I mean, like, are you going to confess? Ask any of them out on dates or anything?
Me: Um, ok, no. Ignoring my girlfriend for a minute here…they’re all 14! Junior high students!
Girl 1: Yeah. …And?
Me: (facepalm) That’s just wrong! I’m an adult and you’re still kids! Wrong wrong wrong.
Girl 2: Okay, then how about this. Get their email addresses now, and mail them from time to time. Doesn’t have to be anything serious, just say hi or whatever. Then, 5 years later, they’ll be older and you can date them.
Girl 3: Hey, that’s a good idea!
Me: Age aside, that violates pretty much every “abuse of authority” rule I can possibly think of.
Girl 2: “Abuse of authority”? What’s that?
Me: (another facepalm)
I Don’t Never!
Just some random girls from the School of Peace. A few of them appeared in the skit where the girls took of their blazer coats and just started to whip-throw them at each other. Yep, look at that picture, and then imagine one of those girls taking off her coat and flinging it with all of her might (and the appropriate battle cry) at one of the others. Women are scary.
One of the girls pictured is Velma Jr. As I said many moons ago, unlike her older sister she didn’t really give off the Velma Vibe, so you won’t look at her and think “My God, that IS Velma!” Her older sister…it was just uncanny. Frighteningly so.
Similar to Cherry Boy, I like this picture because it captures a forever-lost moment in time.
This is graduation day at the School of Peace during my second year. The girl on the left was a very quiet and shy girl. It seemed like she had a mini-crush on me. Sometimes she’d run up to me, touch me, and then just run away. Other times she’d openly ask for a hug, get it, then run away giggling. She often said she wanted to do her best in English in order to better talk and communicate with me. It was all very cute and sweet.
Maybe half a year later, she came back to the school to help out with one of the school band’s competitions. I almost didn’t recognize her. She had bleach-dyed hair, and her face looked as if it had been beaten by chemicals. I soon found out why – she spent ALL of the near-two hour bus ride to the competition site putting on makeup. By the time she was finished, she was slightly less appaling than The Joker. The quiet/shy thing was a thing of the past too – she talked constantly and openly badmouthed people she didn’t like. Aside from this day, I would occasionally see her at the train station, always hanging out with some guy who looked to be at least 5-10 years older than her. And always a different guy.
She wasn’t the only student, guy or girl, to have changed drastically, but perhaps hers was the most extreme. What a difference a few months make? I can’t say much about the behavioral changes, or the company she was keeping, but the hair and makeup – I don’t understand why many women are so obsessed with destroying their natural beauty. Yes, makeup and hair and what not can make a woman look better, and yes, there is a lot of pressure on women to look physically attractive. But more often than not, the hair/makeup choices she makes only make her look worse than if she’d done nothing at all. I feel this is especially prevalent in Japan, and I can’t understand why. …Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Be It Ever So Humble
Front entrance to the Ghetto School. Doesn’t really convey the usual state of dilapidation that the school was usually in. The town I lived in was making efforts to build itself up – in the three years I lived there, they’d renovated the train station twice, built two shopping centers/malls, rebuilt the two major banks in town, built a new hospital, built a sky bridge from the station to…well…whatever was in front of the station, and even put a sun clock on the front lawn of the town office. Despite all that, it was never in the budget to throw the Ghetto School a few bucks for renovation. That was always a sticking point with me, but I suppose the other issue with the Ghetto School would have been that whatever nice new things they built or renovated, probably would have been destroyed by the bastard students within two days. Cest la vie?
A class of ninensei from the Ghetto School. The two girls hiding their faces at the front are two of the Three Stooges. The one on the left is Curly, famous for randomly hitting boys and literally ripping a page out of OK Nurse’s book. The one on the right is Moe.
Aside from the Stooges, this was actually a pretty good group of kids. The boys on the right may look troublesome, and while they were plenty spirited, they weren’t bad at all, and were actually pretty funny/amusing.
Assemble The Troops / 2
The teachers of the Ghetto School. This was an end of the year “forget it all” party. We went to a fancy hotel in Kyoto, up on some floor number greater than 15 but less than 20. Forgive this old man’s fading memory. It was probably pretty pricey, but if anyone needed to forget it all, it would have been the Ghetto School teachers.
Despite the problems of teaching at the Ghetto School, in many ways I liked that particular group of teachers more than the other two. They made an effort to actually include me in things like this, where at the other two schools, I sometimes felt like an accessory. Technically, I was only an accessory, but its nice to have someone make an effort to include you at least.
Somewhere in the first picture, you can find Ms. Forehead. Somewhere in the second is Ms. Americanized and OK Nurse.
Although she’d probably kill me if she knew I was posting this (so if you don’t hear from me again in awhile, send out search parties to retrive my remains…), this is my wife on our first official date. I invited her back to my place and I cooked dinner.
Nowadays she mostly does the cooking…when we first starting dating, she actually couldn’t cook at all. Her older sister scolded her for it, so she bought a cookbook, and now she can make dishes on her own. I’ll still make dinner from time to time, especially when I want a taste of something that’s not readily available in Japan (such as southern food or Mexican).
Guys, I should not have to tell you how much of a pimp move it is to cook your date dinner, especially at your place. Its too strong. Unblockable, 80% damage ultra combo. Even if you can’t cook for shit, learn how to make at least ONE dish, and then offer to cook it for the girl you are interested in.
Hey, it got me married.