Since I am planning on leaving Japan this year, look out for more posts about things that I want to remember and tell you about – weird things, funny things, note-worthy things and, hopefully, interesting things. With that in mind, here are the bullet-pointed highlights of last week:
- I had my first instance of boob-gropage at school, when one of the first-grade boys (six years old) took advantage of the fact that both my arms were raised and occupied (by a goodbye high-five session with the other kids) by standing in front of me and patting my chest whilst grinning and looking pleased with himself. After saying “dame” (which means “no”, in a round-about Japanese way) the teacher dragged him off. When I’d said goodbye to everyone else, he came up to me, bowed and apologised – “gomennasai”. I told him it was ok, since it would probably be the only time for the next 15 years he’d have such an opportunity ;)
- I’ve been meaning to post a “T-shirt slogan of the week” on a regular basis for ages. Because I can’t take photos of students I thought they would have been dull posts on their own, hence my decision to put them here. I don’t think they need any extra comment from me, and I will post them verbatim, typo’s and Janglish intact. So without further ado, here is this weeks:
I love your round eyed
- I have acquired a stalker-teacher at one of my schools. There is a type of older (50-odd) Japanese male that is besotted with Western women. And when I say “besotted”, I mean that doe-eyed infatuation that you normally only witness in teenage girls when they talk about their latest crush. This plays out in the same way – the staring, the dreamy looks, the walking past the desk unnecessarily, the asking of inane questions, and in this case the printing out of a lot of information on my home town in England, and the standing next to my desk and attempting to read it aloud. Quite strange. This morning he came over and asked me if I was drinking coffee out of my coffee cup (I don’t think we even have Western tea here) and then asked me if I drank tea in England. What makes it funnier is the amusement it provides the other teachers, who know exactly what’s going on. I try not to catch their eye otherwise we both end up giggling!
- Leaving school on Friday I saw a couple of girls looking down at a grey lump on the car park. I thought to myself “hmm, that looks like a dead pigeon” (haw haw haw). Looking up, there was a teacher at one of the classroom windows who pointed to the splatter on the window, which displayed in all-too-real detail how it got there. Sad.
- One of the kids has super-curly hair, something that’s very rare here and indeed a trait I’d only witnessed in a couple of kids at the dojo whose mother is from St Lucia. I asked the teacher where the girls parents were from, and she explained that they were both Japanese. So far so boring, until I tell you the actual words the teacher used to convey this were: “No Obama”!
- It’s been a bad week for the Japanese PM, Hatoyama-san, who made a promise in last year elections to start moving the American military bases out of Okinawa (there have been all sorts of problems caused by US soldiers, beyond the issues already attached to having a heavy military presence on a beautiful and peaceful island, but I won’t go into them here). Unfortunately for him, he’s been forced by the combined weight of the US and the fucked-up-ness of the North Korea situation to renege on his promise, much to the anger of the Okinawan people and the general disagreement of most of the rest of Japan. There is talk of him resigning, but we will see what next week holds.