Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10th bits and pieces

English on t-shirts is very popular here. I should say bad English and occasionally inappropriate English. I saw a t-shirt dress with words "BLACK JOKE" printed across the chest. A t-shirt for women had "Penetration into New Time Zone." written in curly-que script. Usually it is just a nonsensical string of words "Beautiful, Cheerful, Success, Pinnacle, Cute" with little animals dancing around the words. That shirt wasn't on a child. The best I've seen so far was an older woman, since she actually looked old to me she may have been in her 70s, walking around with "I Scored Last Night" on her chest. That one made me do a double take.

Sometimes I see the Japanese version of people I know. I saw the Japanese equivalent of my Aunt Jean on the train. I saw a guy who could be Bruce Campbell's Japanese twin, he totally had the chin.

I'm not certain that Japan will be good for my psyche. Firstly, I am bigger than the vast majority of women. Sometimes I feel like Andre the Giant. In my Japanese class I couldn't sit with my feet flat on the ground and my knees at 90 degree angles because the desks weren't high enough, the two guys in the class couldn't either. I bought some sandals yesterday and all of the trial sizes on the floor were a size or more too small for me, the sales woman had to keep going to the back room. Secondly, I feel pretty much dumb as a rock every time I leave the apartment. If anything changes from my expected routine I'm reliant on strangers' broken English. And thirdly, children stare at me. Seriously. I've heard in the country it is even worse and you might run into some adults who will too. Kids haven't learned to be polite yet so they'll stare right at you until you pass them on the street. Little ones, still in strollers, will sometimes even drop their jaws. Older kids, 5, 6 or even 7, will just stop mid-sentence and their eyes widen when they see you. It makes you paranoid that you've got a two inch booger hanging out of your nose or lunch smeared down your chin or, worse yet, you just look especially awful that day. It's really just because they haven't seen all that many gaijin yet. For Craig it is even worse. All that blonde curly hair and those invisibly blonde eyebrows can't help but draw attention. There is this little girl who gets pushed down our hill at about the same time he walks to work in the morning. I was with him one day, going to Japanese class, when her mom pulled up alongside of us waiting for the light to change. This little girl gave him this utterly disapproving look and stared at him during the entire light and then, when her mom started walking, the girl pulled herself up and twisted herself around in the stroller so she could keep staring for as long as possible. Now she just stares at the lights, she's figured out which one of her limited categories the yellow monster belongs in so he is just a curiosity now.

1 comment:

  1. If you don't mind that the content is very PG-13 (but USUALLY not more than that) I think you'll really get a kick out of this blog. Its several years old now but its a big black guy from California who moves to Japan to teach English to Japanese middle schoolers. He's had a LOT of the same experiences that you have. I really think you might enjoy some of his insights as he lives in Japan for several years.