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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Smell Of Defeat

It was one of those days this past Monday.

I've decided to be a bit healthier, and so I decided I would actually go for a walk at lunch time and eat food that don't necessarily taste good… IE, are good for me.

I have no intention of becoming a vegetarian. I have nothing against that lifestyle, it's just not something I wish to pursue at this point in time in my life.

I'm not the vegetable smoothie kind of guy. If I can eat my veggies normally, I will. I'd rather not have it pureed into some dark green mess (it's always a dark green mess) that I have to slurp up through a straw.

I have teeth. I have dental floss. I can eat my veggies raw or cooked.

Mini rant over.

Anyhow, this morning had a serving of cottage cheese. I actually like cottage cheese, so it's not exactly a stress on my system.

I like cheese period. If I wasn't a writer, I would love to be either a cartoon voice actor, an archaeologist digging up dinosaurs or a cheesemaker. Seriously. Maybe when I retire. I'll buy a small farm or outhouse and make artery-hardening, delicious cheese.

Okay, so cottage cheese is healthier… especially since the wife portioned off a single serving for me, rather than allow me to scoop a cereal bowl's worth into my lower mandible distending maw. I can detach my jaw a bit… it doesn't come in handy for anything, however.

At lunch, I ate a sandwich, and then went for a very quick walk around the block doing 2 kilometers or so. It's hilly, with peaks and valleys, and dammit all to hell, I'm wearing dress shoes.

Back at the office, the back of my dress shirt all nice and dark and wet from the exertion - it ain't exercise if you aren't tired or sweaty… and yes, I'm aware all I needed to do was just walk and slowly burn calories, but I prefer to walk faster and burn more calories. I'm an all or nothing kindda guy), I had a banana.

An hour or two later, I was going to eat my little cut of yogurt… except I knocked it off my desk here at work

… it exploded.

I had yogurt all over the underside of my desk, my chair, my work bags, my shoes and my pants…. not to mention the carpet looks like I have been masturbating furiously with happy results.

I'm down on my hands and knees wiping it up with paper towels and then adding water and sopping it up again… you'd think that would work… but as I write this an hour after that, all I can smell are strawberries.

It reminds me of the day I was stupidly clumsy at one of the junior high schools I taught at in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan back when I was part of the second wave of AETs (assistant English teachers) on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme back in 1990 (through 1993).

It was September of 1990, and I had just completed my first week of team teaching at Ohtawara Chu Gakko (Ohtawara Junior High School), and was now visiting Wakakusa Chu Gakko.

After that first week at Ohtawara Chu, I had some four classes a day, four days straight—but did not have to teach there on Friday or Saturday.

So 16 times I had to do a self-introduction, and still I didn't see every class… that would be taken care of next visit.

Wakausa Chu was the next largest school in the city, and I also had four classes that Monday… three before lunch, with the last class hosting my visit for a shared lunch.

To be brief, if that's even possible, let's just say that the kids served me lunch, I ate it - even managing to use my chopsticks effectively enough to not drop anything.
They were even nice enough to take away my empty tray and plate when I was done.

The problem arose when I did.

As mentioned, I was an AET for the junior high schools in Ohtawara-shi. That means the kids are between the ages of 12-15 in Grades 7-9.

That means that there are some pretty damn small desks and chairs.

You would think there wouldn't be a problem with the chairs NOT being attached to the desks as they are in many school systems…. but I found a problem.

My long legs combined with my short brain simply misjudged the amount of space required for me to pull my legs out rom under the desk… I tipped it over.

No biggie, right? My table had already been cleared by the students.

Except that I tipped the table over onto the area where the lunch kids had placed all the leftovers and dirty dishes.

Holy crap on a rice cracker… you never heard such a racket!

Pots, pans, dishes, spoons, chopsticks every effing where. Plus a turned over desk belong to one of the very dismayed girl students.

Ever see Godzilla stomp through Tokyo in the movies? I've been Godzilla. I am monster, hear me roar.

To my credit, I did not swear in English. I did utter a loud OMG (spelled out, of course), which caused the boys to all laugh at the terror I had caused.

I'd only been in Japan for less than six weeks, so I did know how to say "I'm sorry", and dropped to my knees to quickly turn over the dripping desk - we had eaten curry and rice.

I quickly moved to scoop up the leaking curry with my hands to place it back into the pots, but I was stopped by the boys.

They calmly moved me aside, apologizing for doing so, and in less than 30 seconds they had everything cleaned.

i was impressed by how efficient they were.

As I apologized to the boys and thanked them (in English for their help), everyone was all smiles and laughing - especially their homeroom teacher, who explained that the exact same thing happened to him just last week, but it was with a stew.

The students were already quite adept at cleaning up.

the best part was that when ever kids from that class saw me - whether in the school halls or in the aisles of shops, they always greeted me by throwing things down and collapsing on the floor.

Strawberries aren't so bad a thing to smell when compared to curry.

Etadakimasu,
Andrew Joseph

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