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Random Select 2

…Was there already a “Random Select II”? I’m too lazy to check. If there was, then just consider this “Random Select Reloaded” or “Random Select Continues” or “Random Select 2.5 Vista,” whatever the cool numbering convention is these days.

***

I mentioned a while back in an editorial the Japanese basketball player who had a brief stint in the NBA. He got his own commercial in Japan, for a sports drink. He gets checked hard into the scoring table, takes a big swig of the drink, powers up, and then gets the ball, and with a gleam in his eye…passes to his superior black teammate for an alley-oop. At the time, I thought that was fucked up–it’s your own sports commercial, and the best you can do is give it to the black man? Shafted.

Well, the guy’s got a new commercial. I wondered if, this time, he would get to actually do something. Well, after getting constantly blocked out, he takes a big swig of the sports drink…and then blows by two defenders to dribble down-count. And that’s it. No incredible 3-point shot, not even an alley-oop to the big black man this time. He just…dribbles down court. This is the saddest fucking thing, ever. It’s your own sports commercial, and the best you can do is do something that every other basketball player can do. Had this been an American commercial, the player probably would have dunked all over some poor defender. And then slept with the defending player’s wife on the way down from the rim or something.

Here you go Japanese kiddies, drink this! It’ll let you compete with the rest of the world, because as you are, you are made of nothing but fail.  Yep, that sounds about right.

***

I was coming back from a class with Ms. Grinch when suddenly our path was obstructed. By what, you ask? A 19th century feudal army, having traveled back through time? A large oxen? Jenny McCarthy’s disembodied fake tits? No, something far more absurd. At least twenty Japanese boys, laying on the floor, all of them spooning one another. Some of them, I guess unable to find a spooning partner, were just kicking back on top of the whole pile.

Ms. Grinch turns to me. “Well. This is quite gay, isn’t it?”

FUCKIN’A, I’M GLAD *SOMEONE* FINALLY SAID IT!

Many of us Gaijin Teachers are initially surprised by how…touchy-feely Japanese boys are with one another. Granted, I am American, so I may not have the best perspective on the matter. In America, any male-to-male contact that is not in the context of fighting, a high-five/ass slap during a sports game, or a drunken “I love you man!” NO HOMO HUG, is gay. So I dunno, maybe it’s the American background coming into play here, but I’m just not used to seeing boys sit on each others’ laps, hold hands, grab each others’ penises, and especially, over twenty of them spooning in the middle of Brokeback Hallway.

…And I’m from San Francisco!

Yet, we Gaijin Teachers seem to be the only ones weirded out by it. Other Japanese teachers will just be like, “Oh, boys…” and never think about it again. So I felt justified to finally have ONE Japanese teacher finally acknowledge how frickin’ weird this is, even if it was Ms. Grinch.

Ms. Grinch brings her concerns to the boys.

Ms. G: Well. This is rather gay of you.
Boy 1: What? What’s gay?
Ms. G: All of you sitting here like this.
Boy 2: This isn’t gay!
Boy 3: We’re just relaxing between classes.
Boy 1: We all get along really well.
Boy 4: Why do you want to destroy such beautiful friendships.
Ms. G: …Whatever. Gay. At least get out of the way.
Boy 1: We don’t wanna move.
Boy 2: Yeah, it’s nice here.
Boy 3: You just wish you could be lying in a hallway full of boys, don’t you?

Ms. Grinch gives me one of those “Oy vey” looks, and says, “I guess we have no choice but to step over them.” Almost merrily, she says “Over the Gay!” as she takes a mighty step over the boy pile. I too had to step over the boys, minus any flowery words regarding it. As we were heading back to the teachers room, Ms. Grinch turns to me again. “I’m sorry about that, Japanese boys can be quite…peculiar.”

…Sister, you don’t know the half of it.

***

Okay, so I can’t draw for shit. If you were to put a gun to my head and command me to draw something decent or else, just pull the trigger and save us both some time. My stick figures suffer from anorexia. I once tried to draw Santa Claus on the blackboard…I can’t tell you how this happened, but the end result looked nothing like Old St. Nick. No, the end result was a smiling Frenchman who had rabies. And anorexia. The students literally laughed at this for twenty minutes. “Oh my GOD! That’s not even human! Az-sensei, you are the worst artist EVER!” It became somewhat of a running joke in that class, with students occasionally drawing the Rabid Frenchman Santa Claus on any handouts they knew I’d been taking a look at. The teacher would get in on it too sometimes, and ask me to draw something on the board for the specific purpose of laughing at it. “Okay class, how many of you think that this is exchange student Demi, from the textbooks? Okay, how many of you think it’s a microwave oven? Okay, about half and half…”

Despite my crippling artistic handicap, one day I came up with a game for the ichinensei that would involve me drawing pictures again. Taking the idea from a Japanese variety TV show, I would have the students go shopping at a dollar store. There would be a number of items for them to choose from. However, hidden within the items would be several “high quality” items that cost significantly more than a dollar. The students wouldn’t know which items were “high quality” until they actually committed to buying them. I’d give the students money at the beginning of the class, and they had to take turns picking and buying items. Whichever group had the most money left at the end would win.

Of course, to do this game, I’d need the store items. I didn’t particularly want to carry around a bag of goodies (I’m not Santa, rabid, French, or otherwise), nor did I really want to shell out the cash to buy them. The easiest method would be to draw items on some poster cards, which is where we come back to my artistic handicap. However, if I REALLY put my mind to it, focus all my energies, and call upon the mystical powers of the Green Mega Dragonzord, I can actually spit out something halfway decent from time to time. This time, I pulled out my best color pencils (ironically enough, bought from a dollar store), put aside all possible distractions, and after a few toots on the Dragon Dagger flute, I drew some decent merchandise pictures. Immensely proud of myself, I carted my pictures off to the ichinensei classes, where even the students were forced to admit that the drawings were pretty good.

…Except for one overly-perceptive kid.

As we were playing the game, his group was debating over which item to buy next. The boy was making a very strong push for the bicycle. When asked why, he offered the following explanation, “Well, just look at it! Doesn’t it just look cheap? And c’mon, it doesn’t even have pedals!”

I checked my drawing, and sure enough, the kid was right–I’d forgotten to draw pedals.

The kid isn’t done yet. “I mean, you can’t honestly charge more than a dollar for a bike with no pedals, right? What are you supposed to do, only ride it downhill? Kick-push it like a skateboard? Seriously, that’s a fundamental design flaw right there.” His passionate arguments are enough to win his group over, who decide to buy the bike….Which ends up being one of my “high-quality” items.

As you can imagine, that didn’t go too well.

Group: Hey, you said the bike was cheap!
Boy: Well, how was I supposed to know? It has no pedals! (to me) Why is this bike so expensive, when it has no pedals!
Me: It doesn’t need ’em. It runs on the POWER OF YOUR MIND.
Boy: ….Now that’s a bunch of shit if I’ve ever heard it. We should have bought the comic books. At least you can READ those. What are we supposed to do with a bike with NO PEDALS? Sit on it? Look uphill and think, “Man, if only I had pedals, I could totally ride up this hill…”? Now we’re stuck with a chair with wheels and it only cost us a few hundred dollars.

I hope Rabid Frenchman Santa brings him a pedal-less bike for Christmas.

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