Thursday, 16 July 2009

PostHeaderIcon Stupid Gaijin: Unique Japan

Unique Japan

My supervisor just handed me this year's JET Journal. This waste of Japanese taxpayer's money is sent out to every JET. I don't know why they bother making a new one because the essays written are the same every year. They go along the lines of; Oh isn't Japan special and unique? Here's a funny story about buying chicken hearts instead of chicken breasts. Oh my old neighbour gave me some free pickles. I truly understand Japan after a visit to a temple with my friend. BLAH BLAH BLAAAAAAH

Here are some of my selected clippings from this year:

Fish Out of Water

" Every morning as I head to work, I give a polite bow to Ogura-san and tickle the toes of my four-year-old neighbor sticking out of a first story window in greeting. After two years, I feel very much at home in this community. It is funny to see myself so comfortable now - selecting the best bamboo shoots at the grocery store - because when I arrived, I was quite the fish out of water. "

Ah the very first paragraph of the journal sets the scene for every other essay. We've got the every day routine of the JET established and this is quickly followed by the important references to politeness, bowing and token Japanese neighbour-san. We have the imagery of a lost American... trying to find their way in a foreign land. Oh but everything is alright because they are now Japanised enough to select the best bamboo like an old Japanese granny. This entry isn't too bad I guess but here are the next two lines:

"Despite my smiles, my gills were breathing in a terrible oxygen. Eventually I learned to breath - and what a fresh air it turned out to be!"

Shut up... just shut up. Your metaphors are ridiculous and I hate you. I bet you stuff your face with Haggen-Dazz ice-cream from the convenient store. Bamboo shoots my face. Stop touching the neighbour's children.

Pieces of my Heart

"Why do you like Japan so much?" My usual response to that question was "Because I like the Japanese culture and Japanese is such a beautiful language." But after living in Japan for a few years and experiencing so much, I finally realized the answer to that question. Without further thinking, I told her, "It's because I like the hearts of Japanese people." I have to admit that I'm in love with the people. They are important pieces of my heart. Without them, I would never be who I am today and would never be complete."

Urgh URGH URRRGGH. This is the most sickening thing I have ever read. Doesn't she realise that Japanese people don't have hearts? They don't have souls either... they aren't real people for crying out loud. If you love Japan so much why don't you marry it eh? The last line sounds like one of those awful wedding vows that people say to each other. You would never be complete? What... is your life so miserable that you can't live without a Japanese person talking to you about food for hours on end? Conclusion: This American had a terrible childhood with no love. They sought shelter in Japanese anime and went on to study Japanese at University.

Urgh I've read through the rest of the journal but it's all just the same mince about destiny and understanding. There's mentions of the land of the rising sun, bowing, tea ceremony, sumo BLAH BLAH BLAH. All the foreigners who write this rubbish should be ashamed of themselves. It's all cliched crap so they can get their names in a book. I'd like to introduce them to some other Japanese culture... bloody seppuku. Choke on that you miserable cretins who enjoy life and like fish guts and Mount Fuji and Japanese television and their neighbour's homemade rice cakes. SHUT UP!

Here's my entry for guaranteed publication next year:

Every Grain is Sacred

"It was on my first night in Tokyo that I came across the delightful food the Japanese call gohan. I didn't know any Japanese so I pointed to what the businessman to my left was eating. I was presented with a glistening mound of rice in a magnificent ceramic vessel. I trembled with anticipation as I broke my first hashi and steadied my hand in preparation for the impending mouthful. However, I was shocked to find that I couldn't taste anything and I felt overcome with shame that I had failed to appreciate this unique Japanese food.

The man to my left must have noticed my self-disgust as he explained in broken English that only a Japanese can truly appreciate gohan. He said that each grain was believed to come from God himself and that one could only appreciate the subtle flavours after years of consumption. He said that a bowl of rice reminded the Japanese people of the summit of Mount Fuji. He said that together this was "Japanese spirit. Samurai soul". I came to realise that I would never truly appreciate this aspect of Japanese culture but during my year on JET I could come to understand and share the differences between our two countries!

Before I left the restaurant that evening I was presented with another shimmering gift. I asked what was in the cup in front of me and was told it was "very famous Japanese ocha". The businessman, who was now on his seventh cigarette, told me it was very healthy. He concluded that if gohan was the spirit of Japan then ocha was the lifeblood of the nation. I took a tentative sip of this alluring infusion and yer... it was just fucking green tea."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bitter Craigy boy very bitter.
I think if you expanded that entry it would be great to see the extent of your creative writing skills in the JET journal. Hows about we put a man on next year for the one who gets in the journal??
I bet I can put it on just as good as you can!!

Anonymous said...

Spot on mate. In your short time here you've already figured it out. Give 'em hell.

Ahoy hoy said...

I am not bitter. I am just speaking the truth. My writing skills are second to none, Zapita. Although I'm not as good as yourself at enka singing.

Also, thank you other stranger.

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.

Shashins