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Thursday, December 22, 2011


Today, Monday, November 11, 1991 is an office day for me here in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan. As a junior high school assistant English teacher (AET) on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme I work four days a week at one of the seven schools in the city and one day at the OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education) office writing up a report that takes me 10 minutes on average to do.

Like usual, I do very little that is constructive at the office. Check that - usually I write letters to family and friends back home in Toronto whom I haven't seen in 15 months, or I write short stories... but since I quit my post as the editor of the Tatami Times AET Tochigi newsletter last week, I don't feel like it.

As well... my left eye hurts like a motherf***er. It's been bothering me for days and days, and to say that it hasn't affected my demeanor would be doing the pain an injustice.

I hint to Hanazaki-san (one of my two bosses at the OBOE, and who speaks better English than Kanemaru-san), that my eye is bothering the heck out of me.

He says okay, and says we'll go have it looked at... but first he wants to show me the itinerary for the Mid-Year Block Conference for JET AETs. He then tells me I have to babysit (his exact words) Van Granger, who arrived in Japan this past summer. Great. Mister Personality.

No one baby-sat me last year! Did they? No! I went down early, screwed a female AET(Christine) in the shower of a men's sports change-room, came in the next morning and made a speech about how to teach a class. I was high on pheromones, beer, vodka and sake (Japanese rice wine) so I have no idea to this day what speech I made up on the spot. It was apparently funny and well-received - or so I was told.

While I haven't been asked to give a speech this year, I was recently asked to take over as the leader of Tochigi-ken JET - which I turned down as I didn't see how it was going to get me laid more often.

In hindsight, I haven't been getting laid all that much more without the honor... and I could have used it on a resume to get this gig 20 years later writing about Japan. So... less work, more time to  mope about not getting laid, and future Andrew has a different story to tell rather than one about JET politics. And yes... I do have a degree in Political Science, but that doesn't mean I want to play politics. Doctor, perhaps.

Hanazaki-san and I then go to Mr. Inoue's shop for an eye exam. I am, of course, very worried that I don't know enough Japanese letters to be able to pass a literacy test let alone an eye test.

Uh... is it 'ba-ka-ga-ji-n'?*(see below)

Luckily, the test Inoue-san's nurse give me involves me pointing out which way the letter E is pointing: up, down, left or right. It always points right. Right?

Apparently I don't concentrate very hard with my right eye at all. Yeah... but that's not the problem. What about the pain in my left eye?

So I finally tell the nurse: "Itai (pain)" and point to my left eye.

She understands and says in perfect English: "Just one moment An-do-ryu-sensei. I'll just go tell the doctor."

And then she winks at me.

Christ. Not another one? Well... I suppose I could squeeze her in tonight between 9 and 11PM.

The doctor comes back with the nurse... doesn't look at my eye, but instructs her (in English!!) to take out An-do-ryu-sensei's contact lenses.

Now... I'm not a doctor, though I have been one in a bar, but I know I could have taken my own contacts out a lot faster than this nurse who spent about 60 seconds prodding at my eye to peel out my lens.

So... long story short... apparently I have a scratch on my left cornea.

No kidding! Probably caused by the nurse's talon. That's it! She's not getting any Andrew!

Anyhow... I'm told (in English) not to wear my contacts for a few days - only glasses. Aaaaaaggghh! Are you kidding me? I wear these glasses of mine, and I'm not getting laid ever again - hot to trot talon-ted nurse or not!

I get some eye drops and pain killers and employ both.

I go home and, since I have an adult night school class to teach tonight, I keep my contacts in.

Mrs. Ohno gives me some flowers for my birthday last Friday, and Mrs. Narita gives me a telephone card. Sweet people!

I go home, wrench out my contact lenses and with no one around to ridicule me, I put on my Coke bottles glasses.

I'm about to watch a Japanese porno cartoon I rented earlier that evening (my first ever), when the doorbell rings.

I peer through the eyehole at the front door. Crap.

It's Junko. My secret girlfriend, who has a boyfriend, but enjoys stepping out with me for some bedroom fun. So far.. she's the best stalker ever. So far. I guy can hope, right?

I don't want to let her see me with my glasses on!

I let her in... she immediately grabs my face in her hands, kisses me and asks (in her usual perfect English), how the scratch on my eye is.

I would ask her how the hell she knows I have a scratch on my eye - but it's Junko. She seems to know everything about me.

I don't even ask why she's here on a Monday away Utsunomiya University, when I know she has school tomorrow, too.

She jumps on me and knocks me backwards, with the back of my head hitting a wall. 

Right now... I know it's better to just shut up and enjoy the double vision. 

Somewhere wondering why everyone is speaking English today,
Andrew Joseph

*ba-ka-ga-i-ji-n is really baka gaijin = stupid foreigner.
Today's blog title is from The Beatles, and was used because, if you listen to the words, you can tell I am, god help me, Junko's puppy dog.

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