Thursday, August 4, 2011

Can't Explain

Today is Wednesday, September 25, 1991.
I'm living in Ohtawara City, Tochigi-ken, Japan working (sometimes) as an assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.
My dad calls at exactly 7:10AM just as I asked him to yesterday. Because I have a female student who speaks Spanish, I thought I could get a few lines from my dad to help me look smart and charming.
However, my dad says that rather than just tell me a few phrases, he'll send me a book.
I'd have preferred the quick fix because I'm only at Wakakusa Chu Gakko (Wakakusa Junior High School) until the end of this week and won't be back for a month or more, but still... it's better than nothing.
I have three classes today. As usual, they all involve me reading from the English text book and having the class and then individual students repeat it.
I'm really tired today, but I survive because really, what other option do I have?
At lunch, I play with the mentally challenged kids (I always eat lunch with them when I visit this school... I have to admit, despite their learning disabilities, these kids are so much fun and lively, and are always playing practical jokes on myself and the other kids and teachers... it warms my heart!).
Because they have to do some chore or something, I find some first-year students to play with. It's raining, so all of our activities are indoors.
I then look out for and find the Peruvian girl. She nearly dies laughing after I say that one of the boys is "loco de la cabeza" (in Japanese it's 'Atama no kurutta')", which if I recall my Speedy Gonzales cartoons, it means 'crazy in the head'.
Ahh... it's good to be the king!
After school, I ride over to my back doctor for an adjustment, though I still feel tense when he's finished. Oh well, at least I no longer ned to wear the back brace I had brought with me 14 months ago.
Next, it's over to my kyudo (Japanese archery) club with my ex-girlfriend Ashley (who now better serves me or us as a friend-with-benefits), and one of my Ohtawara Board of Education (OBOE) supervisors, Kanemaru-san, who is teaching both of us archery. We both suck... or rather I do. Ashley's not so bad at it. She's a lot better than I am and it pisses the hell out of me considering I bragged to the Japanese about my sports dominance back in Canada.
Oh well... if the Japanese are smart (and they are), they simply have to look at the sports dominance of the USA versus Canada and know that the Yankees are a whole lot better than us Canuckleheads. Of course, Ashley isn't a damn Yankee... she's a southerner from Augusta, Georgia.
Having said all that, I hit a bullseye on my first shot.
Then, because form and technique are everything in Japanese society, Kanemaru-san begins to teach me the proper way to hold an arrow in my bow. Damn, but that feels a lot better! My finger no longer hurts!
Of course, I don't hit the target again for the next hour, but at least my form is good.
That's kind of what gets me about Japan. I finally succeed in shooting an arrow and hitting the target dead-on, but because it doesn't conform to the Japanese way, I am deconstructed.
Fortunately, my other supervisor Hanazaki-san, did not attempt to change the way I hold my chopsticks. Round about my first week in Japan - certainly the second day I ever spent at the OBOE office, Hanazaki-san took a pair of pencils and taught me the correct way to hold them as through they were chopsticks.
Now... perhaps because my hands were a little wider or longer, I couldn't grip those pencils the same way as he, and therefore had to create a different grip for myself. I showed it to him - and he said if it works for you, then maybe Japan could learn from Canada.
My test with the chopsticks involved me having to pick up slick, raw shelled beans with them.... if I could do it quickly by picking them up from one bowl and then into another, then my style was golden.
I'm still awaiting my royalty cheque from having taught the world a different chopstick grip. Excluding my pinkie finger and index finger, I use the two middle ones and my thumb to grab food as fast or faster than the Japanese.
Back to the point - kyudo: Because I am tired, my eyes are, too... or maybe it's the other way around.
When we finish, and Kanemaru-san drives Ashley back to my place. She hangs around and watches a couple of Mission Impossible episodes (original series) and one of McGyver.
I figure she's hanging around for a reason, so I sit beside her on my couch and cop a feel. My grip must be good because I feel no pain, though there is the odd moan evoked.
She doesn't seem to mind (or say a word) as I unbutton her blouse and move her bra out of the way... as I time it perfectly for the end of McGyver, because as soon as it's over she jumps me!
We head for the bedroom and without going into details (which I have actually written down here in my diary), we come out gasping for air 90 minutes later marveling at how good that felt.
Not an idiot, despite what I have written under the name of the whole blog, I suggest that maybe we can do it more often.
She smiles, and in her usual understated way simply says, "maybe." No capital 'M' either. Now that's understated.
It's also so friggin' Japanese. The Japanese have a hundred different ways of saying maybe, including the infamous sucking of air through the teeth... which is all done rather than saying 'no" and possibly disappointing someone. Is Ashley turning Japanese?
If not, at least it wasn't a 'no'. But if the endorphins weren't kicking in, perhaps it would have been. Who the hell knows what she is thinking? Probably that we are just friends-with-benefits. But I want more. The king wants more!
I ride my bicycle back to her place. Tell her I enjoyed the evening, and ride home floating on a cloud.
Oh yeah... while I was making the moves on Ashley, Kevin called wanting to talk with me about last Saturday night. That was when he kept trying to poach the Japanese woman I was chatting up - and doing quite well with - until he butted in and started speaking his fluent Japanese drawing her out of our broken English/Japanese chat. Bastard.
I tell Kevin I have my hands full with some things now (and I do, too, thank you Ashley), so he suggests we chat tomorrow. I say okay.
What the hell is there to talk about? Bastard. Just don't ever get in my way again! Stupid gaijin.

Somewhere riding the high,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog title is sung by: The Who: MINDMINDMIND

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