Japanese People Still Say The Darndest Things
In a class with Ms. Americanized 2, we play a detective game. We give the students a topic, they pick something from within that topic, and the other students are supposed to guess what they picked based on clues that we give out in English. It’s not a game you can play with every class (it wouldn’t go over so well with the quieter classes), but this class happens to be one of the most hyperactive in all of Japan, so we can get away with it. They’re also one of the most entertaining classes.
This time around, the topic was “Christmas Presents – something you gave”.
Sometimes, the teacher and I enter the game ourselves. Ms. Americanized 2 entered, and as for her present, it was something she gave to herself because she wanted it. So the students took a stab at figuring out what it was…
Boy: You want a boyfriend!
Ms. Americanized 2: Well, yes, that’s true, but …
Boy: Ok, it’s (Azrael)-sensei!
Girl: Oh, no, that won’t work. He’s got a girlfriend now.
Boy: It’s okay. They can form a love triangle.
Girl: A love triangle?
Boy: Yeah. Teacher can become his #2.
Girl: That’s terrible. Teacher doesn’t want to be a #2!
Boy: Yeah, but she’s not getting any younger. She’s gonna have to learn to take what she can get.
For the record, her Christmas gift was a vacation to herself.
In another group, a boy had given a present to himself, worth 10,000 yen (roughly about $100).
Boy 1: (guessing the answer) Oh, I know! Dietary supplements!
Boy 2: (the recipient of the present) Dietary supplements don’t cost 10,000 yen!
Boy 1: The really good ones can be expensive.
Boy 2: Either way, that’s a wrong answer. Even if I had 10,000 yen I wouldn’t spend it on dietary supplements.
Boy 1: You should be spending it on dietary supplements.
Ouch. Goddayum ouch.
On the very same question…
Another Boy: I know! A girlfriend!
Here, pretty much ALL of the girls react very badly to this. “You can’t buy a girlfriend for 10,000 yen!” they all cry out. And this is true in Japan at least, if you want to buy love you’re going to have to shell out at least enough for a Louis Vuitton or Gucchi bag, and those things don’t come cheap.
The accused is now facing a class of angry girls, and must explain his reasoning. “Well, there are some places where you can buy a girl for that much, or less even.” Wow. You’re not helping your own case here, kid. “How would you know that!” One girl demands. “Well … I have an older brother.” He simply says. Amazingly, this seems to be explanation enough. Perhaps his older brother is some kind of Super Perv I’m not aware of. Either way, I need to ask this kid where I can find a girl for under 10,000 yen. Share the wealth.
I was finishing up a class with Ms. Forehead at the Ghetto School. As the students cleared out, a sannensei girl entered the room to talk to Ms. Forehead. This is what they said, word for word in Japanese, translated into English, except the part in the brackets [ ] is exactly how the student said it, in English, no translation at all.
Girl: Hey, didn’t you hear the ruckus?
Ms. Forehead: What ruckus?
Girl: (One of the bastard sannensei boys) was singing in class the whole time!
Ms. F: Really? I didn’t hear.
Girl: I’m surprised. He was pretty loud. He just kept singing and singing, and (Ms. Americanized) said “[Shut up! Shit!]”, but he kept it up the whole class period.
Ms. F: Hmm?
Do you see how naturally it just comes out, even when I’m not there? And she’s spreading it to the students too! That’s just awesome. Excuse me, I’m getting all emotional here *chokes back a tear*
Since my birthday fell on a Saturday this year, I decided to have a get-together with some friends. I also invited some of my co-workers as well but Ms. Americanized 2 was the only one able to make it. She gave me a canister of Popeye potato chips – I can only assume this is for added strength in my fight against Watson. That week I was at her school, the one time I ran into him, after him coming after my dick as he usually does, this time he dropped to the floor and wrapped himself around my leg. I was trying to get to the bus stop on time, but it’s fairly hard to move when you have a 50 kg 15 year old boy wrapped around one of your legs. I literally kick-dragged him through half of the hall, appealing to all the students around me to stop milling about and actually help. None of the ichinensei or ninensei could be of any help, as they couldn’t openly go against one of their seniors even if he was wrapped around a teacher’s leg. The sannensei just sighed, filed it into “Another Day With Watson” or something, and went back to talking about Orange Range. Clearly, the Popeye Potato Chips are meant to give me that extra burst of strength in times like those, so I can “fight to da finnish!”
Though she wasn’t able to make it, Ms. Americanized (the original) sent me a happy birthday email. Faithfully reproduced.
“Im so sorry that I couldnt be a part of ur memorable night. drink well, sleep well and have a wonderful love-making (-_~)! C U next week!”
Shit, don’t have to tell me twice.
And, before you even open up your “compose mail” link, don’t. She’s dating. …Not me.
There’s another JET in my town, a CIR (Coordinator for International Relations). As a part of his job, he occasionally holds an English conversation class for adults living in our town. As he doesn’t have much teaching experience, he asked me if I could lend a hand. I go when I can, if for no other reason than it’s nice to work with a group who actually wants to learn English. Not to say middle schoolers aren’t fun, but they still are a captive audience.
Since they’re adults, their level is English is usually higher but they’re more reserved and won’t say some of the off-the-wall shit that my kids do (“Do you play sex? How many times?”). Well, this is true 98% of the time, but it’s always that last 2% that gets ya, isn’t it? That certainly held true for me, as one 35-year-old woman asked me the most astonishing question I’ve ever been hit with, and quite possibly, the greatest question to exist in the universe.
I’ll preface it by explaining that she was already a bit weird. She was unmarried and single, and in Japan that’s kind of a bad situation to be in at her age. She spent much of the class time trying to talk to me when the CIR wasn’t paying attention, and always hung around after class to get a few extra words in with me. Everyone in the class figured she had a thing for me. I didn’t particularly care. Not that I don’t like older women (I actually like them very much. Hey Mrs. Robinson!), but I knew this one was bad news. At any rate, to everyone’s shock, at the last class meeting she spent all of her time asking me if I thought the CIR liked her and if he’d date an older woman.
Anyway, The Question. After one of her usual times of hanging around after class to talk to me, I found out that she’d spent some time visiting friends in America who went to the same university that I did. We were talking about the university, and I was saying how it was such a nice and quiet town, good place to live. She agreed, but then said “Oh, but I’ve heard recently that there’s been an increase in crime, you know? A lot of college girls getting raped too, I heard that’s increasing.” I told her I hadn’t heard about that, but it was too bad.
And now, Question of the Century. As usual, swear to Goodness, this actually happened.
She then asked me, “And, how about you?” Huh? Don’t quite understand. She clarifies. “How many women have you raped?”
That’s … I … you … in the … and the … hoobagastric … The English language has almost 200,000 words, and I can’t think of a single one to use here. I can’t even invent a new one. I’d have to create a whole new language, and use the sum of that entire language in order to properly express the gamut of thoughts and emotions that ran through my head after getting hit with this.
This question is so wrong on so many levels, it just … it just wins. I wouldn’t even know where to start with this one. And even if I did, we’d be here for hours, quite possibly days. So I’m just not gonna start – I’m gonna file this one in the “Japan’s Weird, Did You Know That?” File (thanks Ms. Americanized!) and cry myself softly to sleep, again.
Despite having been desensitized to Japan Weirdness for 2 and a half years, this question just still blows my mind.