Sunday, July 11, 2010

Knocking At Your Back Door


So... welcome to the second year of me blogging. It has been that long.
And if you see below, I'm only three weeks into the adventure! Ha! Just kidding. I am backtracking!
happy Anniversary to us - thanks for reading along!

Okay, it's Tuesday, August 21, 1990... I'm at the OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education )writing letters to people in the hope beyond hope that someone - anyone - will actually write back. despite being blessed with a good friend in Matthew Hall and a beautiful girlfriend in Ashley Benning - plus an awesome bunch of folks at my OBOE, I'm homesick.
I'm 25 - nearly 26 - and it's the first time in my life I've been away from my Mother, Father and brother Ben. "Oh boo-hoo. Grow up," I hear you cry. I have and I am... but it's always good to know that people aren't completely forgetting about you.
Anyhow, Iso-san (Mister Iso) comes over to tell me that Iso-san (Miss Iso) - uh, no relation, I think - will be showing me how to cook - in fact she would be coming to my apartment right after lunch. Great. I think.
This all goes back to the fact that I like to tell jokes to ease the awkwardness of social silence... I can't stand it when there's a lull in the conversation... which is why I'm always talking - especially if you aren't. Sortta a "Quit talking while I'm interrupting" kind of thing.
Yesterday I had told my office about my dramatic weight loss (6kg) since arriving, and then in a speech I may have mentioned that I have no idea how to cook (but didn't get the expected laugh). I also mentioned that I had no concept of how to do laundry... it all appears to have backfired on me - although, I have lost weight, have no idea how to cook or do laundry - I was just joking around, not whining about it. I figured I'd eventually learn how to do everything - even learn to speak the language. I'm only here for a year, right? How hard could it be?
At 11AM, we all head over to my apartment--apparently the Japanese to English dictionary used by Mr. Iso confused "before" lunch with "after." As well, 'Miss Iso' apparently means the whole office - all nine of them. I am so glad I had tidied up a bit before going to work by throwing away the condom wrappers and hanging up the wet quilt - don't ask.
Anyhow, they showed me how to cook lunch - which only took 1-1/2 hours. Not bad... but it's not like I'm ever going to spend 1-1/2 hours doing anything that doesn't involve a women.
All nine office members did come to my office - but only the three women were actually showing me how to cook... I asked Kanemaru-san about it, and he said he didn't know how to cook because he's a man - and he was so proud of me for not knowing how to cook. He also said he was embarrassed for me that they were trying to teach me how to cook. I told him not to worry - the only thing I've written down is this story.
He laughed and slapped me on the back. Friends for life.
After the lesson, (what about the laundry?!) we all head back to the office. Hanazaki-san tells me that tomorrow I will visit three schools. That's awesome. I've been in Japan for three weeks and I've yet to see what a Japanese school looks like.
In all honesty, since all I've done in my brief time in this country is get lost, I'm reluctant to strike out on my own too much. Despite the number of people I've been exposed to in Japan who seem to speak English, there are a lot more who don't... like everyone at the grocery store, the bank, the restaurants... what have I gotten myself into? I just need time, right? besides, both Matthew and Ashley appear to be handling things far better than I - at least as far as the language/communication thing goes. I really should have studied before arriving here - I'll start soon.
Anyway, I don;t really care too much about tomorrow - I only care about what's going on when I get home.
At 5:05PM I race home. It's probably incredibly bad form - but I'm a gaijin. Let me explain. In Japan, workers do not leave their workplace until the boss does - to do so is incredible shameful... I'm not sure what happens if you do, because aside from myself and other gaijin, I don't think any Japanese folk have ever tried to leave "on time".
I leave - forget about becoming Japanese - these people need to know how things work in Canada! Actually, Hanazaki-san said to go home because Ashley must be waiting for me. Okay - how the heck does he know that? I did pick up all of the condom wrappers didn't I? It's only been two nights since I... you know.
Anyhow... we cook our spaghetti dinner together... she puts on a tonne of garlic, I add the tonne of pepper (I had once heard that one of active ingredients in the aphrodisiac Spanish Fly is pepper - it's what I heard once)
... we add a chunk of butter and melt in some gouda and cheddar. We pig out and then get busy.
Of course, that phone keeps ringing off the hook. Heck, the doorbell even rings - persistently - and I know who it is before I open it. It's Matthew. No offense, but why DID I open the door?
Anyhow, after Matthew sees me peering through the chained front door sans shirt, he was nice enough and smart enough to realize something was up and left, asking me "why the heck did you answer the door?"
At around 1AM, we stop sleeping with each other to get some sleep. I am exhausted and really need to remember to bring my camera with me tomorrow.

Somewhere leaving before the boss,

Andrew Joseph
Today's Title is by Deep Purple and means what ever you think it means, especially if one of those thoughts involves people knocking on your door. KNOCKING.
PS - The photo is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin entitled the Gates of Hell based on my favourite book/poem Inferno by Dante Alighieri. One of three casts made from the original, this one sits at the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park, Tokyo.Visit this Wikipedia site for MORE. Look at this - art history mixed in with my blog! And yes, I did choose to have someone in the photo - just to get the impression of size.
PPS - Ashley taught me how to use the washing machine.
PPPS - And no, I didn't mind people knocking on my door - it means people haven't forgotten about you here in Japan.

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