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Friday, December 16, 2011

Waiting For A Girl Like You

Today is Wednesday, November 6, 1991 here in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan.

I've lived here for the past 15 months working as an assistant English teacher (AET) hired through the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Programme. Officially, I am a member of the Ohtawara Board of Education (OBOE).

I love my job and being here pretty much all of the time. I have found the Japanese to be very nice and polite, and have taken to my out-going personality. It's a pity I, myself, haven't taken to my out-going personality, but then again, it's all quite new to me.

I'm at Ohtawara Chu Gakko (Ohtawara Junior High School) today - I team taught two classes with a couple of Japanese teachers of English, and truthfully, it was dull... more of 'repeat after An-do-ryu-sensei' as I read from a New Horizon English text book. Hey! They can't all be exciting and new, can they?

I ask the school to mail out my resignation letter as editor of the Tochigi-ken JET newsletter - I resigned due to disillusionment at other AETs or myself... or just as a knee-jerk reaction at being snubbed for a couple of parties this past weekend. 

Yeah, yeah... I'm a suck. I just hate being ignored. Do you like being ignored? And hell... you can tell by this blog, I'm a pretty out-going guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve.

I leave school early at around 4Pm and ride to the video store to rent more movies and then home. 

At 5PM, my ex-girlfriend Ashley drops by and hands me a package. A present for me? That girl drives me crazy. It's a pair of ornamental balls. Not sure what I can do with them, considering I'm not getting any sex and my own balls have become ornamental... but , it's the thought that counts.

She tells me she came by yesterday to play Scrabble with me, because she thought I was mad and needed cheering up. I did... but I was out. Where the hell was she all these months with this caring attitude? If she had one - or showed it to me... well... I probably wouldn't feel as low as I do now.

 She said she tried to call me from downstairs to make sure I was 'okay and not 'murderous'.

Yeah, well... definitely not murderous. Just ticked off... and so I told her exactly why.

In rapid succession: AET party hosted by Dan McCarthy last Saturday in Utsunomiya - me, ignored; Ashley being invited to that party with me sitting beside her, not asking about me to him, not inviting me as her date, not even mentioning it to me - like  I couldn't hear the phone conversation being held two feet away from me - me, ignored; AEt party in Yaita on Sunday evening hosted by Will Gardner - me, ignored; Ashley riding off to do her own thing at Iesaya grocery/departmnent ignoring me who was with her and wanted to pick up my sweater from the dry cleaners;

I exist too. I matter. Expletive them all!

She says I seem to be looking for an excuse to hate her.

Not true. But she's not giving me an excuse not to be pissed off at her.

I then criticize her and everybody else. I'm a writer. It's how I define myself when someone asks me what I am.... but here I can't share my ideas with anyone. Everyone tells me how good the Tatami Times is, but no one ever tells me if MY stuff is any good or bad.

She thought I would hate criticism. Of course I hate criticism, but that;s the only way I'm going to get better.

Then I tell her that Karen - another AET  who wants me as her boyfriend, but I don't think I want girlfriend - was the first person to tell me she liked MY stuff. In 15 months, she was the first.

Actually, Nick Strachan was the first, and he gave me some harsh, but very good criticism. That's why I respect him. Always. And, I still do my best to listen to his advice.

Ashley understands.

She then offers me criticism and praise of my work.

Too little and too late in my mind. I needed her to bounce story ideas off of. She never wanted to listen to those ideas, and told me she preferred to read them when I published them. 

At least she read my stories. I'll give her that. But... and this is a large but, I am a Scorpio male... and if you know anything about us, is that we tend to need people to tell us we're all right, and if we get offended, which is quite easy to do if you say the wrong thing, we tend to hold our grudges, if not forever, then for a very long time. I seem to be a prototypical Scorpio male - at least in 1991. And probably in 2011.

The doorbell rings thankfully. It's Kanemaru-san... one of my two bosses at the OBOE and our teacher of kyudo (Japanese archery). He offers to cancel our lesson today. I agree saying it's too effing cold. I also tell him i want to go to a school cultural festival this weekend rather than go to the Oyama kyudo tournament.

He understands perfectly - it's not a slight against him... I just want to better connect with my students. I make him a cup of coffee (no sugar in the apartment!!??) and when he leaves, Ashley and I talk some more.

Thanks to Kanemaru-san's timely intervention, I'm no longer mad. Ashley and I kiss and make-up. I can tell she is relieved... which is a strange thing to see from your ex-girlfriend.

We kiss a lot more, watch some videos, kiss-kiss. I then ride my bicycle with her to her place in Nishinasuno-machi (town of Nishinasuno) - kiss - and then back to Ohtawara.

Ashley and I don't understand each other, but we do like each other a lot. A whole lot. As I leave she tells me that it appears as though we will be huddling together a lot this winter.

Somewhere waiting for the other shoe to drop,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog title is brought to you by gaijin... I mean Foreigner...  The video is from the Super Rock 85 show in Japan.

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