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Monday, March 19, 2012

Stuck In The Middle With You

Today is Monday, December 16, 1991. I spent a half-day at the Ohtawara Board of Education Office (OBOE) in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan before I left and met up with my buddy Matthew.

The two of us are assistant English teachers on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.

We rode to Nishinasuno-eki (Nishinasuno train station) and took a JR (Japan Rail) local train down to the capital city of Utsunomiya so he could get his Sony Walkman fixed.

We then took took a slow train to Omiya and caught a connecting slow train to the conference place in Gunma. Just another lazy day... arriving there at 7PM.

The hotel was pretty nice as we drop our stuff off in Matthew's room and then as we are walking around to get some food we are immediately set upon by Mr. Arakawa, the head of the JET Programme in Japan (I think).

He asks me why I quit as editor of the Tatami Times - and I tell him how I felt cut-off from the other AETs. He said it was too bad because he said the newsletter had never looked better or been more fun.

His partner in crime Mr. Kamioka also stopped me to ask the same question, but was really more interested in seeing if I wanted some sake (Japanese rice wine), that he knows I can drink like water. For some reason, I figured I should eat first.

First rule of power drinking - make sure you have eaten so that there is something to throw up. I kid. It's true, but I have only puked three times while here - and I think it mostly had to do with a drink called a Flaming Blue Lamborghini that the local bartenders in Ohtawara make to try and see if I will go blind, or die.  I have lousy vision.

After paling around with Matthew at dinner, I spent the first night getting pissed drunk with the crowd of AETs from Ibaraki-ken. I hate cliques now  - like the Tochigi one - mostly because I'm not part of it. Not cool enough, or perhaps they are just too stiff - most of them - for my liking. I have no idea where Matthew went, though.

Within the Ibaraki group, I meet Laura who is the editor of their newsletter. She's very cute and I'm sure I could have made a successful pass at her, but even Mohammad need not climb every mountain he saw. But, I decide not to be the slut I have become and give us both a break from my stand-up comedy act.

Near the end of the evening, I have a drink or seven with Tyson and Ian and are joined by David Turner who starts whining about how he hates Japan... but we somehow turn the conversation to our favorite topic - women. These guys are first years, and I'm in my second-year year here in Japan. We talk about women.

The guys suddenly do a toast - like they were planning it before I arrived: "Here's to Tochigi-kens four big players!"

everyone laughs, except me as I crack a polite wry smile. I wonder just what it is they heard about me to say something like that.

It bothers me... I mean, yeah I like women and I have slept with more than my fair share, but I never 'played' a woman to get sex. I was just around, and was picked up by the women. I've been pretty honest with the women I've slept with. I don't think I've ever promised them anything other than a good time... so, me as a player? No.

One of the guys actually brags about how much money he has 'borrowed' from women. He actually did the finger quotes, implying he wasn't actually borrowing, but taking with no intention of paying them back.

I can't stand this, and after the toast I make like I'm toast and head for bed. It's 2AM.

Somewhere I feel like I've been played,
Andrew Joseph
Today's blog title is by Stealers Wheel, which if you listen to the lyrics seems to fit in perfectly with how I feel some of the JET AETs are.


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