Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ignorance Is Bliss

It's Tuesday, October 1, 1991 and I sit here in the teacher's office of Ohtawara Chu Gakko (Ohtawara Junior High School) here in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan where I am an assistant English teacher (AET) hired via the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme).

I've been here 14 months and am pretty much enjoying myself... hence the name of this blog.

I have two classes today to team-teach - which means I have a lot of free time to sit on my butt. I have to remember that not only is this an opportunity for me to learn about japan, and an opportunity for the kids to get schooled by a native English speaker, it's also an opportunity for the Japanese teachers to get to know a gaijin (foreigner).

Takuda-sensei transferred to another school, and in his place is the very cute 31-year-old Miss Kyoko Watanabe. She was very deliberate in telling me she is a 'miss'. I didn't miss that. She used to work at Nishinasuno Chu Gakko (Nishinasuno Junior High School is not one of my schools, as it's located in the town north west of Ohtawara, in Nishinasuno-machi), but she has heard of me.

She has apparently heard I was dating (she used the correct past tense) Ashley, an AET who lives in Nishinasuno but teaches at the Ohtawara Boys High School. We were together off and on for about 10 months, and now just sleep together whenever the mood hits hit... which is about once every week and a half. I guess I can't complain... it allows me the freedom to see whomever I want, without feeling guilty that I am cheating on her. Trouble... a big part of me wants us to still be a couple. Shes off on a short vacation in Nikko with Karen, another AET who wants to be my girlfriend. The whole thing makes me feel ill, as I look at kyoko and think I'd like to see wheat I am miss-ing.  

Kyoko talks to me more than the Japanese teachers of English (JTE) today... perhaps they have backed off as they are watching yet another woman chat me up. I don'yt think she's being anything but friendly, but you never know. The last time a woman (Junko) did that to me here at this school, she ended up stalking me. We had some wonderful monkey sex and I forgo sleep, but her following me around (on the sly) was a little unnerving. She was always easy to spot, as I could not only could I smell Junko's shampoo, but I'm a guy. It's my duty to scope out a room to see what babes there may be.

Kyoko seems flabergasted when I tell her (the music teacher) that I used to be a piano and clarinet teacher and a journalist back home in Toronto. She thinks I am talented. I am but that's not my talent. Just give me two-and-a-half hours...

Young Katsuhisa Suzuki-sensei does sit down to talk with me when Kyoko goes off to teach a class. He tells me all about his adventures in mushroom picking this past weekend, telling me how he spent three hours in the drizzling rain picking mushrooms, brought them in to school yesterday only to be informed by the resident mushroom expert that every single one of them was poisonous.

He's not filling me with much as he wants to know if I want to come with him next weekend for another try.

When it's time to go home, it begins raining heavily. Of course it is. Land of the rising sun, my ass. It rains all the time, it seems! I know it's typhoon season, but really, it seems to have rained more during this past year than been sunny.

Still.... it's the weather. I ride out with an umbrella given to me by Kyoko and head over to a hobby store and buy myself a Nintendo Super Famicon Video Game System. Screw the hand-held Sega system... I want a real game system!

But, back home after setting it up, I can't get a perfectly clear screen. It's still cool, and I play Super Mario.

Then Shoko calls and my heart jumps with glee.

I had asked her out yesterday on her birthday. She's an adult fox student in my night school class that I teach for fun and profit.

She asks if I am free this Thursday for our date! Not only am I free, but I'm cheap.

Hell yeah!

But then she says she wants to bring mutual friend Naoko along.

Hell no!

But, I guess Shoko is worried about the language barrier, as my Japanese skills are best left in the bedroom (or wherever), while her English skills are nothing to write home about. I have it in my head that if she brings Naoko along, then she's not really serious about the two of us dating, and I may not ask her out again. At least that's what floats through my disappointed mind.

James Dalton (another AET) originally from Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada calls and invites me yet again for a poker party. I have had to back out of all of his invites. It's not because I don't like the guy - I do - he's a very good friend - but I actually have to give a speech in front of the Ohtawara International Friendship Association that night - something about my views of Japan after a year here.

Do you think I have anything to say on that topic?

I stay up late into the morning and play video games. 

Somewhere knowing Ashley and Karen are back tomorrow,

Andrew Joseph

Today's blog is by Jellyfish: PRINCESSTOADSTOOL.

PS: The video features characters from SuperMario. When I wrote this blog and had all of these elements together... video game, Mario, mushrooms (IE Toadstools), ignorance (Shoko asking Naoko), teacher not knowing anything about me except my social status, and me not knowing what is going on with Ashley and Karen - well... I love it when a plan comes together!

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