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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The End

Time to get a rife. Let's look back at Monday, October 14, 1991. Nearly 20 years ago.

What's the big deal about this date? Well... if you are from Canada, you might suspect that it was around Thanksgiving. No... not the US Thanksgiving - that's in November... but us Canucks... we harvest a good deal earlier and so our Thanksgiving is a earlier, too.

I'm living in Ohtawara-shi (Ohtawara City), Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture), Japan. I've been here since July of 1990 and have been enjoying life in this sleepy little city of 50,000 people where the sidewalks are rolled up at 9PM, so you better watch out that you don't step into a sewer (sidewalks cover up the sewers in the smaller cities, towns, villages, and hamlets... if there are sidewalks).

Anyhow... I'm a junior high school teacher (assistant English teacher or AET) on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme. I've never taught before, flunked grade 11 English and even had my mom re-write my essays for me in University... and still... I'm in Japan teaching English.... it's probably because I am a half-decent communicator - despite being chronically shy until I was 24 and entered my first year of journalism school. There... that's pretty much all you need to know. Except...

I was also persona non grata with the women until I arrived here. Ashley was my first girlfriend over three months and the first I had slept with. She's from Augusta, Georgia, USA. I know, I know... who goes to Japan to sleep with an American?  Enh. You take your opportunities where you can find them... and after nearly 26 years of no sex, I wasn't going to let her slip away.

It's now nearly 15 months after I first landed here. Ashley and I broke up six months ago, but we still sleep together... though we are not dating. As such, I'm now into double digits re: sleeping with women.

And yet... I still seem to require some sort of perfect closure from Ashley... and by that I need to know why we broke up. Sure she said she felt like I was crowding her. But then, she was at my house 5 or 6 days a week mooching food. So... who was crowding whom? She would just show up at my door.

It was like being married, except I only got sex when she felt like it. (In 2011 I'm married, so I see the irony of that last statement). But, I had twice the food bill. (Just so you know... in two years, I ate at her place less than 10 times, and it was always spaghetti or soup. Is soup a meal?

I'm teaching this week at Sakuyama Chu Gakko (Sakuyama Junior High School). It's a lovely school in the Sakuyama district tucked down to the south of Ohtawara-shi. It's about a 20- minute car drive away, and has some very beautiful farm land.  Truly gods' country. (Yes, the possessive on 'gods' is correct. Japan has multiple gods).

It's a beautiful day... a little cold, but still brisk enough to make you glad you are alive. It's obvious I'm in a good mood when I talk/write like this.

I have three classes today. Boring, easy, interesting, yet still fun as the enthusiasm of the kids at Sakuyama is infectious. They seem genuinely glad to see me.... and you know what? Their English is pretty decent, too. Even the first year kids....

Why would kids who have only been studying English since May be good at English? Well... I visited them last March... and I was told by the Sakuyama teacher that I had made quite the impression, and they all wanted to study hard so they they could talk with me.

Huh! Mission accomplished. I should leave Japan right now. But I can't. I need to stick around to make sure we can have that conversation! Plus, I really like Japan and enjoy getting laid on a pretty regular basis by whomever tries to pick me up at a bar. yes... I am that easy. Though, I have to admit that the Japanese women who want to sleep with me are pretty damn fine looking. I guess it must be a cool factor to sleep either with a gaijin (foreigner), or to sleep with this gaijin who seems to have enough personality for two.

Ego. Okay... I admit it. This country has given me a bit of an ego. Why not? People shout my name in a good way when I walk the streets. Women throw themselves at me. I am loved and respected at work. I get along with everyone (except for a few elitist JETs who think I'm a bore or boar), but that's only because I believe my roll here in Japan isn't necessarily to teach English, but rather to get them (the Japanese) to realize that we foreigners aren't necessarily that different from them. At least I'm not. And neither are all of the JETs I call friend or acquaintance. We're just people who look out for one another.

So... ego... yeah, a bit.

At night school that I teach on the side with permission from my OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education) office, I give a test. But, while   

Shoko is there. She's one of the city locals who is soooo cute. She's tall, sexy and man, I could spend a week just staring at her legs... unfortunately I can only do so for two hours because that's how long the class is. I've gone out with her - we've chased each other... but either because she is too goody-goody, afraid of my now infamous voracious appetite for women, or because she is nervous about us communicating as a real boyfriend/girlfriend (as opposed to sexual partners)... things just haven't worked out. Sad but true. It seems like the ones I try to chase never work out. But when I get chased, I get laid. And yet... I want more.
After class, I ride my bicycle home to my 3-bedroom, L-D-K apartment with two balconies, with all the amenities of Toronto (where I'm from), watch a rented movie and pass out at midnight.

Oh... I did make two phone calls. I call my family and wish them all a Happy Thanksgiving. My dinner was some onigiri (a rice ball with something in the middle) that I purchased from one of three 7-11's within shouting distance of my apartment.

I got a letter from my friends Pat and Rob. Pat is getting married! Says mutual friend John is acting pretty cool. Rob - he says he's doing okay, though he says he doesn't want to take my advice about more schooling. He hates school, but doesn't hate work. Good for him. As long as he's sure...

I feel a bit lonely after reading the letters and the phone call. I wish I was home with my family and friends... especially after my second phone call made after all of the above.

I called Ashley. I mentioned Canadian Thanksgiving, but she really didn't even seem to give a crap. There was no "Happy Thanksgiving" or any questions as to how I celebrated. Nothing. Thanks for nothing. At harvest time, kiddo... as ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Want a better analogy (from The Beatles): The love you take is equal to the love you make.

American Thanksgiving is next month. Let's see what happens - whether you expect me to do something for you. Nothing from me.

Ahhh crap!

Who's kidding whom? I'll probably do something for her. Bloody Americans... make a big deal about holidays.

I'm such a turkey.

Somewhere its craps at 7-11,
Andrew Joseph 
Today's blog title is brought to you by The Beatles: RINGO SOLO

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