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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Only God Knows Why

Y'know... 2011 (today) is kind of mirroring the mood I was in back in 1991 in Ohtawara-shi (City of Ohtawara), Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture), Japan.

In Japan (let's pretend we're back in 1991), I'm an assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme, and have been living on my own for the first time in my nearly 27 years. I'm doing all right according to everyone else, but deep down inside I am frustrated.

I'm not naive enough to be a perfectionist - way too stupid or lazy for that. Rather, I think I should be better off than what I am or even where I am right now. I want to be better. A better teacher. A better boyfriend. A better person. Is that so wrong? Knowing that I am not, makes me sad, angry and frustrated - and I can't communicate that to anyone else here.

Today, Thursday, September 12, 1991 I'm at Kaneda Kita Chu Gakko (Kaneda North Junior High School) in Ohtawara.

The teachers are very nice and friendly, but that does not seem to be something the students (for the most part) are picking up from them. In fact, they don't seem to be learning much at all. Two days ago, however, I got a hug from a first year student (Grade 7) who said she 'loves Andrew'. It was a fantastic gift, and one I will treasure from that place forever - but there are too many negatives at that school. Negatives that far out-weigh the positives.

It's yet another lousy day at school. The students are all rude and act stupid... or they aren't acting and really are stupid. That's a blanket statement, and I shouldn't do that... so let's just say that most of them are rude and stupid... and that's what I take home from my day,

The teacher's know that their students are rude and crude and yet again take pity on me and don't force me to each lunch with a class. I usually eat lunch with a class - kind of a bonding thing, at every school I visit. I feel good, and the students learn first-hand that non-Japanese are not gaijin (foreigners/outsiders). I'm just a guy from another country who is happy to be here.

But these students make me feel unwelcome. I hate it!

When I go home, I need to decompress. I just want to be by myself and forget everything by doing my stupid 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of The Tower of Babel.

Hunh... in 2011 as I write this out for you, I suddenly understand the irony. The legend of the Tower of Babel written in the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible was: after the Great Flood (Noah's Ark), the whole known world spoke a single language. We were united by language.

But, in the land of Shinar, the people there built a great city and decided to create a monument - a Tower - with its tip topping the very Heavens. But God came to see this and was not amused that they would dare try and touch Heaven before their time.

As a penalty, God said: "Come, let us go down and confound their speech."

I am unsure who the plural is in God's statement: "US". I guess it could imply the Holy Trinity.

So... the angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament made everyone speak in new languages... that confused people... that caused strife and angst.

To me, God was petty doing this. Be the bigger omnipotent being and simply tell them they shouldn't build a Tower like this. Give them some warnings. Why create an impossible language like Japanese that only the Japanese understand?

On one hand, by creating a confusing language like Japanese, the spiteful God created an identity for the Japanese, and generations later helped get me a job as an English teacher in Ohtawara... but dammit all to Hell. Somedays, like mine at Kaneda Kita Chu, I think God screwed up big time.

Where do you think the word "babel" came from? To talk incoherently. A noisy confusion. Welcome to Kaneda Kita Chu Gakko. And whatever god or gods there are out there... brother, you can keep it.

Somewhere not being understood,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog title is by Kid Rock: PAYBACK
PS: Hmm, I guess I'm not feeling too positive right now.
PPS: What's freaking scary is how these damn blogs seem to mirror how I am 20 years later. And, how there is a rock and roll song for every thing. Welcome to the soundtrack of my life. Shall I make us all a Mix Tape?

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