Thursday, 30 July 2009

PostHeaderIcon Cheerio

See ya later losers

That's me off on my holibags in a few hours. I'm looking forward to eating a whole peking duck to myself in Tokyo this evening. It's going to be great.

I met Alex yesterday at the airport and he seems pretty cool. We went to dinner down in Muroto with two new Aussies there too. It was nice to meet everyone but my mind is set on escaping the crushing heat of the August sun.

Bye forever
Monday, 27 July 2009

PostHeaderIcon Two Years

I didn't really have an appropriate picture to post with this entry.

Alright. So that's my second year in Japan over with and I've found myself stuck in the lethargic limbo that is the end of the JET schedule. My office is deserted and I have no work to do so I have found myself reminiscing over the past two years and of the friends who are leaving Kochi. This time last year I wrote a massive entry that gave a brief description over everything I did that year. I can't be arsed doing that this year for many reasons. I can't remember everything for a start but a lot of things were similar and also that I lost the "OH WOW JAPAN" attitude that most first year JETs bring with them to Narita airport. That isn't necessary a bad thing though and I have had a much more enjoyable time here in my second year. A lot of the little niggles and difficulties of life here have vanished or I've simply become used to them. The most concerning thing for a writer of such a bitter blog is my life here now feels totally normal and that I am now so accustomed to every day life here that I forget what it was like back home.

It's been a good year ranging from travelling around Japan and Asia to just getting drunk under my kotatsu with friends in the winter. I hate writing nice things about people but my group of friends this year have been excellent and I'll miss a lot of them. Also, a main reason for enjoying this year would be meeting my girlfriend who I don't really like writing about... mainly because it makes both of us feel ill. She's great though and puts up with all my rubbish. Although she makes me make all her food and she's the most clumsy person I've ever met.

The main differences affecting me next year will be the replacement of Noah with a new CIR called Alex. I'm surprisingly not that bothered about it considering he'll be my new neighbour and colleague for the next year. Noah is only off to Kochi City so I don't need to cry a river for him leaving. In saying that, I will miss Noah at work and I have greatly enjoyed our man-bitching over our desks for the past two years.

So here's to two years of working with Noah and listening to the daily paranoia of his portion size at school lunch, his never-ending battles with mosquitoes, his coffee induced eye twitches, his embarrassment when we both wore red polo shirts at work, his dedication to the rotation policy between grades at playtime, the day he let a French stranger live with him but wouldn't share his last can of beer, when I shaved his head to the bone by accident, when he talked to our awkward supervisor about women in the darkness and seclusion of a temple, when I heard him screaming when birds flew into his house, his half hour battles selecting a movie to rent, the day we walked up the wrong path to a temple and I got dehydrated, the weekend we spent with 80 year old women and getting blind drunk in Takamatsu, the day he screamed in tormented fear at the impending crash of a truck 200 metres away driven by an old woman, his anger at me being praised for singing Japanese at his leaving party despite him singing the whole song perfectly, his look of disgust when I have doubts about Scottish independence, his maggot rice, his semi-successful pizza gyoza creation, his help when I broke my leg and for just generally being a good friend who dealt with all the bollocks at work in an environment that wasn't easy.

I think I need to go to the airport to meet the new Tanoite on Wednesday. I hope the car ride there isn't awkward because I used up all my Japanese conversation at the work party on Friday. I'm actually leaving for Tokyo on Thursday evening so I won't be around these parts for the whole of August to meet new people. I kind of feel like the average JET life is two years so I'm quite happy to have a long break whilst Alex and the new people settle themselves in. Meanwhile, I'll be off in Tokyo doing lots of exciting things before going off on holiday for another three weeks. It's great.
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."


My work are trying to convince me to donate blood in the van outside. I keep telling them "Oh no I can't because I'm a foreigner" but they're going "Oh no no it's fine 大丈夫 大丈夫". I think they're close to wheeling me outside in my chair.

I can't I can't I will scream. I have the bad blood from the mad cows in イギリス I will try to explain but they will laugh at me. You are only 外人... you are not 牛。 Mecha taihen
Wednesday, 15 July 2009

PostHeaderIcon Searches that landed on my blog

Hello. I'll write a proper entry tomorrow but for now I would like to share with you all the search engine entries that make strangers turn up here:

From Los Angeles: Watto izu rabu

I am quite proud of this one and it influenced me to start this entry. It's good to see that my mild mocking of katakana English has had such a profound effect on the internet. I like to think that a young Japanese girl moved to America and is disillusioned with foreign men. Thus she enters her broken English into google and ends up seeing my bearded mug staring at her.

From Miami: How good is stuff in Japan?

This is another favourite of mine that only appeared yesterday. I like to think of some pot head in Florida having an argument with his flatmate over "how good stuff is". I think this particular argument kicked off after they watched Karate Kid whilst eating cookie dough... I heard that's what those American types do. Bonus points: The search linked to my post about the abandoned restaurant in Muroto.

From Louisianna: My life in Japam

Japam sounds like some sort of delicious ham. I hope there is something called Japam.

From Miami: Japanese men in their 40s complain too much

Another classic from Florida here. I like how there is not even a question being asked here. I like to think that the stoner from earlier found a Japanese man and tried asking him how good his stuff was. The man was then irritated because he was a fourth generation Korean. I don't remember making any post that would link that search to me. Japanese men in their 40s like drinking bitter canned coffee and smoking weak cigarettes. I complain more.

From Hamilton in my very own Scotland: Domo arigato mr roboto stupid jap

Good to see that the racism towards Japanese people spreads to all my fellow countrymen. I have no idea how such a search appeared by someone from Scotland. Did they see the music video for the song? Did they somehow blame a Japanese person for it? Were they shocked to see a Scottish flag on my blog? Stupid Jock!

From London: Cantona sardines in Japanese

This links to a post where I praised the genius of former Manchester United player Eric Cantona. I'm afraid I don't know the translation of his famous sardines quotes.

From Glasgow: Watermount Hotel

This is great. If you put this Glasgow hotel into google then my blog is about the 5th link on the list. All because I wrote Glasgow, Mount Fuji and Water in one post. Take that you dirty Scot.

From America: Shikoku teaching BAD not fun boring miserable

This one made me laugh for ages. I especially like the use of capitals for bad. Oh the rage that must be flowing from their time on this mountanious, isolated island of despair. I love Shikoku, it's great.

Depressed Americans: I hate my life in Japanese, Death and honor in Japanese and I would die for you in Japanese

Sorry lads... my Japanese is weak. I could order us some beers... might steer you away from all that death talk.

I get about 3 searches a day looking for "Irishman, Scotsman... Chineseman... Welshman"

I wrote one of these 'jokes' a few weeks back. I wish I made it funnier now... people might actually have used my joke.

My favourite this year was "popular people in Japan" which linked to this painting of Noah and I.

I noticed last year that a lot of people from South-East Asia (especially Bangkok) kept on searching for "Japanese whose". There was me thinking I was helping them with their Japanese studies. Then I noticed a few were searching for specific "Japanese office/nurse/police whose" and something clicked. Add an extra 'r' into those searches and you'll see what they were after. Sorry lads.

Honourable mention

Last year some poor American lad had typed this into google for some reason:

" jap girls are evil break heart slut depressed revenge "

I looked on google and my blog didn't appear until about the 27th page of the results. Did he sit there all day hoping to find someone with similar despair?

p.s Japanese people apparently love searching "stupid gaijin". I'll make some more for you Nihonjins out there.


Update: Someone was looking for "Take That December Glasgow" yesterday and landed on this entry. Take That are a terrible boy band from the 90s that have recently reformed.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009

PostHeaderIcon Quicky

Alright. I have no free time to write anything of interest recently. Instead, here's a school lunch from last week. We have a roll with sweet red beans. Noodles and bowl of stuff... horrible bamboo/carrot salad thing and milk. All of which was served warm because it's 28 degrees and they hand me my lunch 15 minutes before the students eat.
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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.