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Saturday, March 17, 2012

When The Music's Over

It's Sunday, December 15, 1991 and I'm a junior high school English teacher in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan hired via the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.

I've spent a strange weekend so far with my ex-girlfriend and ex-friend-with-benefits, Ashley, also an AET, but one who teaches at the Ohtawara Boys High School (and Girls school, too!), and who lives in the nearby town of Nishinasuno.

I get up at 9AM and wander around getting her sunglasses fixed - I have no idea why I did that, except perhaps to prove that no matter what I am still a nice guy. I am. Really.

Matthew comes over at around 1PM and the two of us search Ohtawara for Christmas cards - and actually find some in a small shop that sells foreign artsy-fartsy stuff situated about five minutes between our two apartments.

After moving to his place to watch television and eat some pizza, Matthew and I ride out to Nishinasuno-eki (Nishinasuno station) and ride down to Yaita-shi (Yaita City) for an AET Christmas party hosted by Usha Persaud.

I had called Ashley earlier at around 1PM to ask if she wanted to travel with us, but I woke her up to make her suffer upright from a nasty hangover from the large amount of sake she and I had imbibed last night. Ha.

Lucky me can get drunk but has never, ever had a hang-over. People say it's because I haven't drunk enough, but truthfully, I never met a bottle of booze I couldn't suck back. I just don't get hangovers. Maybe it's my genes. My uncle Harold Joseph used to be able to hold his alcohol, too and also never got a hangover. And he was famous in India as the conductor of the New Delhi Symphony Orchestra. Harold wrote the closing ceremony music for the 1982 Asian Games, and was the Director of India's Military Music. I suppose he was the reason I had to learn the accordion and piano, and can play all brass, woodwinds and keyboards - I even taught the clarinet and piano and brought a set of keyboards and my clarinet with me to Japan. Harold died in the mid-80s of Myasthenia gravis, which if you watch the TV show House in 2012, is always an incorrect guess by the team of doctors for the impossible illness of the week. His drinnking ability may also have contributed to his death

Ahhh, but I digress.

Will Gardner was there to meet Matthew and I at the Yaita train station. He was with Karen, thebubbly redhead who would like a chocolate boyfriend (moi), but doesn't want to share me with Ashley, with whom I still "date". Me? I'd rather just sleep with her like I do with Ashley and keep my options open. I've always been honest about that fact, too.

Anyhow... Will Gardner and I have been pissed off at each other (and in 2012, I no longer recall why), but all of that is forgotten Matthew knowing of the tension keeps things light as is his wont, and everyone starts chatting amicably.

At Usha's place, all of the local AETs from the northern part of Tochigi-ken were there - though there were two Japanese people joining us... one of Usha's Japanese teachers of English and a high school student who was extremely hot and kept staring at me.

For dinner we had turkey, pate... cranberries, stuffing - the whole works... everything that I had purchased for Ashley a few weeks ago for US Thanksgiving (I'm Canadian, eh), but she 'forgot' about our date and instead went out whoring or hanging out with guy friends in Utsunomiya. Riiiight.

Hey... I may be an idiot as far as women goes, but I'm not stupid and usually think the worse, and thankfully have yet to be disappointed. Thankfully?

All evening, Karen is trying to be slutty and dominating to me - to perhaps impossibly convince me I am an idiot for not wanting her as a girlfriend. Riiiight.

So I dragged her off to a quiet room and told her off, which completely caught her off guard because I think she thought I was going to make a bold move on her. She's still trying to get me, but I'm not having any of it.

Dinner was great. Jokes galore and heady conversation. I'm unsure when I became able to dominate a crowd with my sense of humor, but it happens without me actually trying, and I notice it's happening as its happening, and i swear I always try to squelch it. But try being known as the guy with the ever-present smile who can quickly add a witty comment to any conversation - I'm simply just not allowed to wallow in self-pity by the others who like being entertained.

Let me just state, that a part of me likes being the entertainer, but I like it best when its my idea and not simply people hanging on for dear life to hear just what outrageous thing will pop out of my mouth next. It's never a plan. It just happens. I guess it comes from 25 years of considering oneself a shy person. I exploded.
Maybe it's because I actually want to entertain the hot-looking high school girl.

She just keeps on looking at me with her big brown eyes... listening to every word I spew... and laughing her  head off. She has no hidden agenda, except to have fun. Boy would I like to screw her brains out. But... teenager. I have morals, believe it or not. But she will be 18 in a few months...

I'll have forgotten all about her when the next pretty woman comes walking down the street anyway.

As the party ends, only Matthew and I are presented with a doggie bag each, which is appreciated. I'm pretty sure Usha knows about me throwing that uneaten turkey dinner out a couple of weeks ago and feels sorry for me.

Yes... Ashley was there. No, I didn't spend much time talking with her, but I did not ignore her either... I just left her alone to talk with whomever she wanted while I took over the room.

Arriving back at Nishinasuno, Matthew and I ride Ashley back to her tiny apartment. She gives me an ear warmer as a Christmas present, but there's no kiss. That's either because I've done something to piss her off again (not tonight), or because she is embarrassed to offer any public display of affection with Matthew around. Does that bother me? It always has. But apparently even when we were boyfriend/girlfriend, no Japanese people were supposed to know we were a couple. She said she was single. I always told the truth.

But know when we are supposed to be broken up, I can certainly understand why she definitely doesn't want to be seen kissing me.  (Whoops! In 2012, my cat just jumped up on my keyboard at 2:30AM, as she wants me to go to bed. Bad kitty!)

Matthew and I ride back to my place before he rides off home.

It's 10PM... I eat the leftover food and pack my clothes while I listen to some CDs. Tomorrow I'm heading off to Gunma-ken (Gunma Prefecture) for some AET meetings with other foreign teachers from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma and Tochigi.

It's supposed to be a conference where we learn some new teaching techniques. That's all well and done, but shouldn't the Japanese teachers of English be invited to this so that they will allow us to incorporate some of the new stuff? My teachers don't like change and instead enjoy the simplicity I bring. Yes... I know what I wrote.

Somewhere tuning out,
Andrew Joseph
In 2012, I hardly drink anymore... and haven't been drunk in nearly 13 years. Still.. in 1991, I hadn't realized that yet, as it was all very much a challenge I enjoyed participating in.   
Today's blog title is by The Doors:

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