Michael Jackson Juice, Revisited
Forehead of Steel teacher (also known as Ms. Big Headed Boyfriend) came over to my desk to talk about the lesson plan for the sannensei this week. It’s the “Would you like another piece of cake?” lesson, which of course instantly reminded me of the “Michael Jackson Juice” incident from last year’s sannensei. I started to laugh about it, and she laughed as well even though she didn’t really know why she was laughing.
I later told her the MJ Juice story, and showed her the picture I’d taken with my phone. She actually remembered it, since it took place in her class. She told me she had asked the two girls what in the sam hill MJ Juice was. Apparently, it’s really sweet… oh! and strawberry flavored.
I. Really. Don’t. Want. To. Know.
Ms. Forehead of Steel and I were talking a bit about Michael Jackson, and she commented on how a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), he looked very different. “Yeah, that’s when he was actually black.” I said. “Yes,” she said, “now he is very white. Maybe that’s what Michael Jackson Juice is… it’ll turn you white.”
At long last the mystery has been solved! Michael Jackson Juice is apparently bleach. Strawberry flavored bleach. With the power to make a cute little negro boy into a haggard-looking creepy old white woman with a tender spot for young boys. Not your mother’s Clorox, nosirsee Bob.
Ms. Forehead then asked me to never ever drink MJ Juice, and please stay black. Shit, don’t have to ask me twice. Later, I saw Ms. Forehead telling Ms. Americanized about the MJ Juice. The look on her face was absolutely hilarious– a cross between befuddlement and pure, abject horror. I asked Ms. Americanized about it later, and she said, “Michael Jackson Juice… I don’t want it.”
It’s official. Three out of three English teachers do NOT recommend MJ Juice for a long, healthy lifestyle.
* * *
I was talking to Ms. Americanized about the news. Japanese news is… well… special. I don’t know about the news in other countries, but in America, our top stories are dominated by how many people were killed in what horrible crime. Or, some horrible accident, and how many people were killed in the process. Or, old Mrs. Henderson’s cat was stuck in a tree, and how many people were killed in the process.
Japan doesn’t have nearly the murders or the crime that America does. Japan does have crime, but they don’t particularly like to talk about it. Sure, you get the big news stories, but all the little ones are kind of ignored. So the news ends up being much tamer, like, “Synchronized Swim Team Conducts Another Successful Practice,” and “Little Boy Loses His Cat Under a Car,” and “What People Are Eating in Their Box Lunches.” These are actual stories I’ve seen on the news.
The previous day, the headline story was about Japan’s sudden heat wave. It went a little something like this.
Anchor: Japan has been hit by a very sudden and early heat wave. Temperatures were high all across the country. In Tokyo it was a sweltering 37 degrees (98.6F).
(Cut to on-site footage in Tokyo. A reporter interviews random people on the street.)
Old Man: It’s pretty hot today. I’ve been sweating a lot.
Two Young Girls: It’s way too hot.
Young Man: It’s very hot today.
Anchor: It was also very hot in Osaka, a blistering 34 degrees (93.2F).
(Cut to on-site footage in Osaka. A reporter interviews random people on the street.)
Young Girl: It’s really hot.
Old Woman: It’s pretty hot today.
More Young Girls: Today is so hot…
Anchor: And, let’s take a look at how hot it was in Hiroshima, at 35 degrees (95F)
(Cut to on-site footage in Hiroshima. A reporter interviews random people on the street.)
Businessman: Today is very hot.
Little Girl: Very, very hot today.
Reporter, to a little boy: It’s hot today, isn’t it?
Little Boy: …
Reporter: It’s hot, isn’t it?
Little Boy: …
Reporter: Don’t you feel hot?
Little Boy: It is hot.
I am seriously not making this up.
So anyway, I was asking Ms. Americanized about this, and she laughed and nodded. “We know it’s hot, we don’t need reports from every Japanese prefecture about it!” I laughed, and she added “But that’s Japanese people for you. We want to feel harmony in knowing that other people feel the same way we do. As long as everyone is feeling the exact same thing, then we’re content.” This had me cracking up…because it’s absolutely right. That news broadcast was essentially saying, “You are hot? We all are! We are one. Resistance is futile.”
Ms. Americanized, looking somewhat pleased with herself, said, “I’m happy, I think I have been improving my sense of humor lately.” I told her I thought it was already great, and she said but maybe it was only funny in Japan. I assured her Americans at least would love her stuff. “What was the last thing I said?” She asked. I reminded her of her “Japan’s weird, did you know that?” quote. “Oh yeah,” she said, “Maybe I should quit being a teacher, and become a stand up comic in America. The ‘Japan’s Weird, Did You Know That?’ tour.” I personally think she’d sell-out every seat in the house.
You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen.
* * *
Somedays I bring my laptop into school with me, especially if I don’t have many classes and I’m not motivated enough to study Japanese. It also gives me a chance to work on new stuff for the site.
I was writing this entry in fact, when two of the bastard sannensei boys walked into the teacher’s room as if they owned it, as they always did. They noticed me on a computer and came up behind me. “What are you doing?” one asked. “Studying,” I said curtly. I’m a big fan of the truth, but I didn’t feel it would have been appropriate to say, “Well, I’m writing an article about your everyday antics, so I can post it up on the internet and make people from all over the world laugh about what goes on here. Say, can I take a picture of you with shirt unbuttoned exposing your tiny little chest, and your pants around your ankles trying to be cool, to put on my site? They’d get a real treat out of that!”
The one boy takes a closer look at the screen. “Oh, he’s reading Roman characters!” he exclaimed, actually surprised. “Of course he is!” Ms. Americanized responded for me. It really is a no-win situation, they’re shocked when I speak Japanese, they’re shocked when I speak and understand English, what language am I supposed to know? One day I’m just going to respond to them in gibberish and tongue-clicks, see if that’s what they’re looking for.
The other boy tried to read what I’ve written. “Fo…Fa…Fe…For….I can’t read it!” Maybe if you actually paid attention in English class, you’d have a shot.
People ask me all the time, “What if one of your students accidentally stumbles onto your site?” I gotta say, I don’t think that’s a problem at all.