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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spot The Gaijin

Let's play a game.

Can you spot the gaijin (me) in the photo's above and below?

The first one is from Thursday, November 5, 1992. I have nice long hair and--even for that era--a horrible, horrible sweater.

The pic was taken at Ohtawara Chu Gakko (also known as Dai Chu or Ohtawara Junior High School). It was the largest of the then seven junior high schools in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken that I taught at.

Apparently everyone else knew about the special photography day except me. Yes... I always wore a tie to school... and because it was November, I was already i full sweater-mode, whereas usually I would be in full suit mode.

Hmm... I see I was placed behind the majority of the women... but that's cool... it meant I was tall enough to be seen without having to stand on a rock like many of the other teachers.

Gods I wish I could recall everyone's name... but I suppose that even 21 years later it would have helped if I knew their names back in 1992.

The problem that I'm sure many other people have/had is that you are introduced to so many people that first week at a school... and, if you are like me, you still didn't have a handle on what the Japanese language even sounded like when you first arrived... and so... every name of everybody sounded the same. It sounds incredibly dumb... but it's true.

And... in my case... I visited a school for four days in a row before visiting another school and more teachers and students the next week... and again and again and again and again and again... before the process repeated itself.

By that time... everyone knew me... and I was still trying to lean the names of the English teachers I was working with.

And... I never caught up. Perhaps I wasn't as smart as I thought I was.

By the way... with my boyish long hair, I was sleeping with damn near every 21- to 22-year-old woman I could on a weekly basis (usually Fridays and Saturdays and the occasional Sunday morning).

Let's look at photograph #2.

This was take on Tuesday, March 23 1993, and is a photograph of the Ohtawara Board of Education office. Can you spot the gaijin (me)?

I'm wearing a better sweater and a tie, and my hair is much longer... though by now I have it tied tightly and neatly in a pony-tail that swings between my shoulder blades.

I've now also grown a beard and mustache... and I look good for a 28-year-old. It's a square French-cut beard and if I wasn't grey in the face now in 2013, I would grow it again. I love that beard - especially when I constantly trimmed it to keep it short and neat.

I actually spent more time keeping up appearances than I would have had I shaved the damn thing off and had to shave every day. But I was/am vain.

With my hair tied up neatly, and suave adult beard (hey! I knew the name of the beard-style!), I was able to move up the food chain and was now sleeping with women who were 27- to 28-years old.

However... for this week... I was screwing around with an 18-year-old Japanese woman with huge 42 DD boobs. If she had red hair I would have married her.

Not really. She was not the smartest rake in the shed. Her English was only slightly better than her Japanese. We could not communicate through either language except in grunts or groans. I should have been ashamed of myself, but I'll leave that to the future me.

It wasn't but a short time after this photo was taken that I met Noboko, who took one look at me and thought I was a slick bastard and wanted nothing to do with me.

What you can not see - when you are finally able to spot the gaijin - is that because the sweater I am wearing has lots of red in it, I have worn a matching elastic tie to curtail the pony-tail. I always matched my hairband to my clothing. Always. No one ever noticed except for one woman--and no I never slept with her--but I noticed.

The tie had to have at least one color in it that matched the sweater, or preferably the shirt (if it wasn't white - and I only had one white dress shirt).

Anyhow... same thing in this photograph. At the time of the photo, I knew the names of maybe six people... and only recall one of them now... a gent third from the left in the second row from the top - Mr. Kanemaru... who, as strange as it seems to me now, was actually younger than I am now.

I hope he is happily retired and living well...

The Board of Education was where I would spend my Friday's... every week... for three years.

I miss them all....whoever they are.

Andrew (the man with no name) Joseph

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