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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Wanna Be A Cowboy

It's Monday, September 9, 1991.

Along with my girlfriend Ashley (or maybe we're not boyfriend/girlfriend and just in it for the benefits), we participated in the Yoichi Nasu Kyudo (Japanese archery) Matsuri yesterday.

I actually hit a target—just not my own. Oh well...

When I did hit that target - everyone at the tournament gasped with shock... how could a gaijin (foreigner) play our sport so well! And then when they saw it was not my target they all unclenched their sphincters.

I'm just guessing.

The Japanese are a notoriously proud people - as well they should be. But to ensure that you - the gaijin - are aware that what your are seeing, doing or wearing is actually Japanese, they will refer to it as a Japanese so-and-so.

Examples I can easily toss out are: Japanese rice; Japanese chopsticks; Japanese kimono. It does seem, at first glance for a guy coming over from Canada, to be completely ridiculous, as these items in Canada are simply known as rice, chopsticks and kimono.

I supposed that if I were at a Chinese restaurant I'd be eating Chinese rice with my chopsticks while wearing a Chinese kimono. Or Indian rice with my Indian chopsticks (also known as fingers) while wearing my Indian kimono (sari).

I get it... There are other countries that offer a similar product (Korea does have a kimono - though I doubt they call it one), and the Japanese just want to ensure you/me/us know that it is of Japanese origin - and that everybody stole it from Japan.

That's a paraphrase from a Gilligan's Island television episode:

Gilligan: "I thought it was Chinese water torture."
Japanese Soldier: "They copied it from Japan."

I love that line... even though they had a guy with an Italian name play the part of the Japanese soldier - Vito Scotti.

Anyhow... I'm feeling blah! It's an office day because all of the recent school festivals meant the students weren't doing enough work... so they wanted to keep me out for a day to help teachers and students get back into the swing of things... or something like that. I usually got explanations for things, but often it was tell me where I'm going and who cares about the explanation, as I knew it would be a difficult thing to have translated for me.

It looks like the typhoon is about to hit - again. I go into the Ohtawara Board of Education (OBOE) office - and the first thing I tell all all of the anxious faces is: "Dame!  Ze-ro" (essentially, "no way - zero" ). I explain all of my bad luck yesterday - leaving out the sex, and everyone gets a chuckle because it is rather funny, and I have a big grin on my face as I re-tell the days events.

Kanemaru-san invites me to participate in another kyudo tournament next weekend. I actually want to participate now... but I have committed to be part of some JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme dance event in Nikko.

I go home at lunch and do some more of my puzzle... it's not coming as easily as the last one that I seemingly did in my sleep one evening, as my brain took over and just kept slapping down piece after piece until I forced myself to regain control.
I write another letter to my brother Ben, and receive one from my gal Kristine who lives 500 kilometres away. Brains, beauty and a fantastic sense of humour - she always seemed too good for me, and 20 years later, I congratulate myself on being correct.

Back at the OBOE office - I goof around some more. I do some work on a couple of stories, and do a few puzzles. It's a nice change of pace from being on the go and being so in-demand nearly every day. I don't mind that, but it is nice to do nothing and get paid for it.

I ride home in the drizzle and sit amongtst my messy apartment and do more of my puzzle. I am actually unaware as to when my apartment finds the time to get messy, as it seems like I tidy up every day. God! Am I anal retentive neat? My parents would have a heart attack if they knew that, because I have always been messy. I guess now that I have people (and especially women) going in and out of my place, I want the place to look like it belongs to a guy who knows how to look after himself.

I watch some sumo (Japanese wrestling) on television and then race off to teach at my night school English conversation class for beginners that I do to make some extra cash on the side. Basically, it helps pay for the food Ashley and Matthew consume. :)

I have four new students tonight... all female of course. The majority of my class is female. I'm not complaining, but I really do think that most of them spend the entire time there making eyes at me and then demurely lowering the head when I look at them.

Of my new students, two are actually from Wakakusa Chu Gakko (Wakakusa Junior High School) - but unlike any I've met at that school... these ones do not understand anything I say... even when I ask them: "What is your name?"

They point at their nose, as if to grasp that I am indeed talking to them... I am... I'm looking right at them and have leaned in close. But... they can't even answer that until my other students translate for them.

But that's okay... it is a beginner's course, afterall. Why would anyone come here if they didn't need to be here? Not for me, I hope.

My other two students are women in their late 40s or early 50s... I really seem to have a look cougars like - horny.

Not surprisingly... Shoko is absent. She and I were supposed to go out for a date last Friday. She was to have called me and told me when and where. She did try, but I must have missed her call. That sucks... but I hope she isn't avoiding me?

Last night Naoko came over to talk. Naoko likes myself and Matthew - but just as friends. My mom visited here last month and was really quite disappointed that Naoko and I were only friends, and spend an inordinate amount of time looking for a husband for Naoko if I wasn't going to step up... and I wasn't.

Shoko and Naoko are friends. I explained what happened, and I assume that now Shoko knows. It wasn't me being malicious or afraid or anything like that... just crappy timing.

At break, while everyone goes off to chat, I sit at my desk by myself and wonder what the hell I am going to teach them tonight. I really should come up with a teaching plan, but I have always preferred to just wing it!

I decide to teach them some very difficult 'tense' material... but the class keeps surprising me and gets most of it.

I ride home after class, take a whiz and then go over to Matthew's place to watch a television show - Robin Hood - until midnight. It's a good but not great program, because the archery in it... is not Japanese.

Somewhere this Indian wants to find a kimono-clad Cowgirl,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog is by: Boy's Don't Cry: YOYO




  1. Funny! Today we are in the middle of a Japanese typhoon!

  2. Just make sure you take your Japanese umbrella!