Reunions

Being a teacher can be tough, because you can really get attached to some of your kids sometimes. But they graduate and move on with their lives, as it should be. Despite how many new and different faces pass through the classroom, we don’t forget. And occasionally, we get to have a chance encounter with someone from the past, which I always enjoy.

I randomly ran into Velma. It’d been over a year since I’d seen her, so it was a pleasant surprise. The day I saw her, she wasn’t in her school uniform, but rather normal clothes. She’d changed her hairstyle as well, and I guess switched from glasses to contacts. So, you think the Velma vibe’s went away, right? Nope, not only is it still there, it’s stronger than ever. No longer is she “Japanese Velma,” she’s just Velma now, straight to life right out of the cartoon. She’s Velma wearing Japanese fashion, with a different hairstyle and contacts instead of glasses. It was just amazing.

Despite the whole Velma thing, she’s actually going to be quite cute when she gets older. What? Don’t look at me like that! You can say that a young girl is cute without that having some sinister sexual meaning, can’t you? This country actually does make one paranoid about that. I was with a friend at a community event, and we ran into one of my ichinensei students. She stopped to talk for a bit, and after she left we both remarked about how cute she was. There was this weird 4-second silence, and we both said in unison, “But not in that way!” as if we had to clarify that we’re not pedos. In Japan you almost sort of do. Later that day, I was sitting down and this little 8-year old girl climbed up onto my lap. My first impulse was to throw her off and scream, “Bitch get off! Homey don’t play that R.Kelly shit!” before I had to remind myself she just wanted to play with me. What is this country doing to me?

Anyway, back to the reunions. I was at the train station with another friend when I spotted a female high school student on the other platform, and instantly felt something familiar about her. Just as the wheels were clicking in my brain, my friend looked over and said, “Hey, isn’t that your tits chick?”

Yes, “tits chick” is his nickname for Snuzzlebunnies. I have that graduation picture up on my wall in my room, and he recognized her from it. Snuzzlebunnies spotted me as well, and waved excitedly, but then a train came so we didn’t have a chance to talk. She did email me later though. She has my cell phone email, and sends me messages from time to time. She wrote once that she wanted to see my apartment. …Uh, I’ll meet you in the public library, thanks. During business hours.

I am sort of worried though, is she that easily recognizable? Will she be walking around Kyoto one day to have some random tourist walk up and be like “Hey, aren’t you that tits chick? Can I get a picture! Here, stand behind me and start rubbing…”? I really hope not.

I also saw one of Snuzzlebunnies’ classmates another time. When I first came, this girl was a ninensei. She was so cute and shy…she’d run up to me, poke me with her finger, say “touch!” and then run away embarrased and giggling. When I saw her recently, she had her skirt hiked up, her uniform shirt unbuttoned, a ton of makeup on her face, and was hanging out with some guys who were definitely “the wrong crowd.” Sigh. Granted, a lot may still happen between now and high school graduation, but she’s fast on the track to become another makeup-cake, Louis Vitton bag-toting, vapid dime-a-dozen Japanese dinosaur* whore (WHERE IS YOUR YELLOW FEVER NOW?), which saddens me. Especially thinking back to the sweet little girl she used to be, who’d tug me on the arm just to say hello then run away.

And oh, I saw Japanese Jeri Ryan for the first time in a long time. There was some kind of county meeting at one of my schools, and she was in attendance. I actually spotted her from across a soccer field. “That looks like Jeri Ryan,” I thought to myself, but dismissed it as improbable. But upon returning to the teachers’ room, I bumped into her on the staircase. She stopped and asked me how I was doing. The second question out of her mouth though was, “How is your girlfriend?” Yes, it had been THAT long since I’d seen her. And then I remembered why I didn’t go after her. I had the girlfriend at the time… that damned girlfriend. I told her that we’d broken up, and she gave me one of those standard, “Oh really?”‘s where you can’t really tell if the tone is sympathetic or hopeful. I went back to the teachers’ room, and 30 seconds later cursed my slow stupidity in not getting at least her cell email. Oh well, maybe God will give me another chance… another year from now.

I do know where she works now though, but it’s not like I can actually go out there. I’d like to think I haven’t degraded to stalker-like activities. Yet.

*Japanese dinosaur – a term my friends and I have started using recently, but I don’t think we coined it. Japanese girls have this weird habit of carrying their (oftentimes multiple) bags in the crease of their elbow…so then their forearm bends up and off to the side. The other arm is often elevated, either thanks to a cell-phone or… God only knows why. Then they have their feet stuffed into some expensive designer uncomfortable shoes, which makes them walk pigeon-toed. The entire stance is pretty comical to look at, and reminds one of a velociraptor, or a t-rex. Thus, we call these girls dinosaurs. With apologies to the velociraptors and t-rexes for being compared to these brainless slaves of fashion.

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