Tuesday, October 07, 2003
hey shoot... made ya look, you slave to a page in my rhyme book...
While life in Japan is starting to approach normality, there's definitely things that I still come across that make me say, "HRMMMM".
Example number 1:
Odd, eh? During rush hour, all through out the many different railway companies, trains have "Ladies Only" trains. People are so tightly packed into trains during these times, that random groping of women passengers by dirty old geezers, lonely salary men, and teenage punks is pretty common. I guess the problem is so bad (especially considering that current Japanese fashion for ladies is very short skirts and knee-high boots) that train companies now have instituted these "Ladies Only" cars and they enforce the rules pretty rigidly. Don't board the "Ladies Only" train cars when you're not supposed to or it's beatdown city...
So what was I talking about? Oh yeah... normality...
I've started working fulltime at a school called Ashiya (ah-she-ya). The commute sucks pretty bad, it takes me about one hour to get to work every day - I have to take two different trains, each ride running a half hour each. The city of Ashiya is very nice, very pastoral with low buildings, houses, a large river, and wide streets. Apparently, this is where many rich folks live, so I guess it's a sort of Bellevue-type area. More clues: most of my students are wealthy housewives, businessmen, and junior high / high school students whose parents are paying for lessons to help their kids get ahead.
I think I'm actually only 1 of 2 Americans at my school... most of the other teachers are Aussies, British, and Canadian. All of the teachers I've met so far are very cool, so I count myself lucky... I've heard enough stories about weirdos, freaks, and Asian-philes from the veteran teachers to make me glad I don't have to work with any of those types.
Just like during training, the highlight of my day is always my interactions with students. Funniest conversation of today was with this older guy named Naota, who's about 50-55 years old.
Me: So tell me about a hobby or interest you used to have, but don't have now.
Naota: Hmm... well, when I was a student in America, I loved to dance. At the time, I had this very big dream.
Me: What dream?
Naota: I wanted to dance on Soul Train!
Me: For real!?!
Naota: Yes, yes... sadly, at the time... no Japanese allowed. They did not let me in. Only black people.
Me: Ah... too bad, man.
Naota: Yes, too bad. Nowadays, all kinds of people can dance on Soul Train. If only I was young man again... ah...
Yep, the students... they're the best part of the job. They probably could be the worst part too, but so far... no bad seeds yet. I'm afraid to start kids classes, though... most of the kids are fine, but apparently there's a couple of really spoiled 5 or 6 years old that really terrorize the school. Nothing like them spoiled kids... oh boy....
Number one train activity:
Ah, the blissful sleep of the life where one is free of responsibility, obligation, and worry.
Oh yeah, did I mention I took both of these two fancy pics with my cellphone? They're still in their original, unaltered size and resolution... so cool... man, I've totally sold out to cellphone gadgetry...
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