Sunday, February 14, 2010

People Are Strange

Friday, November 2, 1990

It’s the last day at Sakuyama Junior High School, and I teach four classes in a row in the morning. It whips by incredibly fast because these kids are good and want to learn. It makes my job easier, to be sure.
At lunch I play volleyball with the nerds for 15 minutes and then get drafted to play net by the cool kids who like soccer. I know - cool kids who play soccer - it sounds like a contradiction, but I do prefer soccer to volleyball (hate volleyball actually, because I was 5’ tall until I was 17), and besides… I’m with the cool crowd now. I’m not their King, however.
After my goodbyes, I am driven by to the Ohtawara Board of Education (OBOE)to meet the Chikasono Chu Gakko (Chikasono Junior High School) English teacher – Ken Sasanuma, who’s 25 and likes Rock and Roll. He’s nice, but he looks like one of those cool kids who would have locked me in my locker back in high school. I’ll be at their school next week.
Back home, Ashley doesn’t come by, doesn’t phone either. Neither do I. It ticks me off, but to be honest, when I finally realize she isn't coming over and that she hadn't called, I realize it's probably too late for me to call her because she'd already be in bed - what with it being 8PM and all.
I watch lots of television – Return From The River Kwai (made in 1989), and suffer from three annoying phone calls from a boy who attends Nozaki Junior High School – he was the one I thought was an old woman calling…
At 10:15PM, Ken Sasanuma shows up at my door wanting to know if I want to come and see his school’s sports day/festival tomorrow. I tell him I will if my radio interview finishes early enough.
Mr. Hanazki (Hanazaki-san) calls moments later and tells me he’s happy to hear I will be playing my clarinet during my radio interview at the festival.
How the heck does everybody know everything about me? Am I important? If I am, can I get a raise?
Somewhere hoping there’s an English translator for my interview tomorrow,
Andrew Joseph

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