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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Big In Japan

Today is Tuesday, October 8, 1991.

I'm an assistant English teacher (AET) on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme living in the sleepy city of Ohtawara (about 200 kilometres north of Tokyo) in the prefecture of Tochigi, Japan.

It's my last day of work at Ohtawara Chu Gakko (Ohtawara Junior High School), as I have permission to attend a team-teaching demonstration put on by my friend Matthew tomorrow, and then on Thursday, I'm on a short vacation to Sendai with my ex-girlfriend, but current friend-with-benefits, Ashley.

I have no idea why we are going away on a vacation together. It was her idea. As mentioned, while I can have a dominant personality and can get lots of people to do what I want, I prefer that they decide what they want to do, and if I agree, then I can get everyone else to do it. Control without being the known leader, I suppose. God I hate being introspective, sometimes.

Or, in this case... Ashley asked, I, like a good little puppy dog who is still in love or lust or severe like with her, readily agrees. I assume there will be sex. After all... we're friends - with benefits... and the only important benefit I know of from being anywhere with one's ex-girlfriend, is sex.

Going on a vacation together with someone who is your ex... well, isn't that what couples do... or just friends... not friends-with-benefits!

If I still had any blood left in my brain, I would have not gone with Ashley tomorrow... but I'm thinking about sex, and I'm thinking that her asking me to accompany her means she wants to get back together. Right? Am I right? I'm not sure...

It's still raining today.   Like yesterday, I help the kids with some English listening comprehension tests to help them prepare for a big exam. It's still fun, and it's still very much interesting to me.

However, lunch is quiet as the class I eat with lacks the guts or gumption to talk to me... although one young boy (this is a 3rd year class - Grade 9's), Suzuki-san is always peppering me with interesting questions. He's always a pleasure to talk to at this school...

Kanemaru-san and Hanazaki-san drop by the school while Suzuki-san and I are talking (that's lucky... show's I can talk to the kids!). Those two old guys (who are about as old as I am now in 2011 - 46), are my bosses/supervisors with the OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education). Two nicer men I have yet to meet on this planet.

They bring along (from the teacher's lounge), Shibata-sensei, the young, hip, good-looking English teacher  who has all the female students swooning after him. Along with being brilliant and charming and funny, Shibata-sensei is also one heck of a good English speaker and very quick translator.

I'm telling... I got very lucky to be posted - or chosen - in this city. Actually... I think the Board offices get a say on who they want. I think Hanazaki-san once told me that they liked the fact I was a journalist with the Toronto Star newspaper... one of North America's best newspapers. I'll admit it was a selling point.

The three of them tell me that I have to pay a personal and city tax. Nertz.

On the plus side, the OBOE says they will cover that for me. They will put the money directly into my bank account (The Ashikaga Ginko (Ashikaga Bank), Ohtawara Branch) for me. That money will then be withdrawn by them to pay the two tax bills.

That is so cool of the OBOE. I also like how they came in person to tell me, rather than just calling up Shibata-sensei to tell me.

I go home, write a letter and relax. It's still bloody raining. I hope it won't tomorrow when a score of other AETs will be coming here to Ohtawara to watch Matthew do his team-teaching demonstration. Cripes... I hope my OBOE doesn't see too much of a disparity between what he does and what I does... otherwise they might actually make me do real work!

I watch some television and crash to bed at 12AM.

Oh... Karen Irwin called. She's a new AET (high school AET like Ashley - so she won't be there at Matthews demo) living in Yaita-shi (City of Yaita), 10 kiometers to the south. She's originally from North Bay, Ont... and arrived here two months ago. In that time she has made it clear that she would like us to slow down (IE no sex!), became buddy-buddy with my visiting mother going on little trips together, and even went on a 3-day trip to Nikko-shi (Nikko City) with Ashley.

I don't know what they talked about... the ex, and the girl who would eventually be my ex, if I let her (all women everywhere could eventually be my ex-girlfriend if they try hard enough).... but this evening... it is apparent that they talked.

Karen seemed to know a little too much about me. My mother - while she did like Karen very much - was no dummy, and I know she would never tell anyone anything about me. Ashley... she might, seeing as who we weren't together anymore... I expect that Karen would want to know the ugly stuff. Me being moody and crap like that. Truth is... I was only moody after Ashley caused me to be moody. But Ashley doesn't know that... and neither does Karen.

Karen attempts to psychoanalyse me. Really? This chick is going to try and get inside MY head? I'm already onto her clumsy attempts about 15 seconds into our telephone conversation! For me... this is like a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

Because I know what she's doing - and why (she wants to know what makes me tick, and why Ashley and I broke up - perhaps so she can avoid the same mistakes), she pisses me off.

You know what led to Ashley and I breaking up? It was her pissing me off. Congratulations Karen. You've managed to piss me off even before we've become boyfriend/girlfriend. I guess there'll be no sex, now. Crap.

Regardless of the tempest raging inside my skull... I play it cagey and play it cool. She has no idea just how angry I am.

It's the real reason why I go to bed early today. I lie there and wonder...

Okay... Ashley came back from her trip to Nikko with Karen in a bitchy mood. Karen is acting inquisitive towards me. That means that Ashley knows Karen and I made out. It also means she knows Karen wants to go out with me... and if I know Karen, she probably asked Ashley if that was okay.

That probably put Ashley in a bad mood. It could also explain why Ashley suddenly asked me if I wanted to accompany her to Sendai... it's a little jealous revenge thing against Karen... who I don't think knows that Ashley and I are still sleeping together on occasion.

Great... all I need now are more women to start talking with each other about. That could never happen, right? Am I right? Even I don't want to think about the real answer.

Somewhere thinking about tomorrow and tomorrow,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog title is by Alphaville: BIG  Lyrics are right below the video.

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