Stealin’ Shoes, Stealin’ Lunches and Groping: Gems And Jamz From The Week

October 1, 2009

– Every school I go to has a little cubbie in the entrance where I can put my outside shoes in and store my school shoes. When I first came to my latest junior high, a pair of slippers were resting inside the box. “Oh, how nice of them,” I though, “they gave me shoes to wear!” I took off my dirty tennis shoes and slipped on what I presumed to be my shoes. Why else would they be in the box labeled with my name? The day passes as normal, but near the end an older man is walking up and down the halls, apparently looking for something. He passes by the entrance to the staff room and catches a glimpse of my footwear. After a minute of awkward Japanese-English talk and some literal finger pointing (at my feet), it dawns on me these are his shoes. I apologize profusely for wearing this man’s shoes all day long…thankfully he laughs it off. But how did his shoes end up in my box? And…I hope he wasn’t wandering around aimlessly all day, unable to get inside the school because his precious shoes vanished.

– I’ve been a victim of stolen lunch before…but this week I became the criminal. I placed my usual morning order (the sandwich set, which is a pure gamble in terms of getting something good or something I wouldn’t let near my hand let alone my mouth) and at lunch walked on over to the lunch box. I picked up my order and started eating a weird sausage-roll thing (eh, it was OK). Moments later, another teacher seemed to be walking around the staff room looking for something. After the last incident, I assumed anytime someone looks lost I’ve somehow disrupted the balance of life at school. And I did! Turns out he ordered sandwiches while I had requested the bento box – the symbol on the order sheet looked like I sandwich to me, so I made a horrible assumption. Though, in retrospect, the symbol also looked like I box, so I really need to learn some kanji. In the end, he just ate the box while I finished the sandwiches. Thank goodness for Japan’s emphasis on maintaining harmony instead of solving problems!

– Self-intro worksheet highlights – “you’re pet name is Cookie,” “Let’s fight,” “His son is five-years-old” (in reference to a picture of me at the age of five), “lets go to Italy together” (uhhhhhhhhhhh).

– I mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been using a phony microphone during a large chunk of this week’s introductions – I should probably point out it’s a toy microphone in the shape of Anpanman. Anpanman, the teacher told me, is a superhero made out of bread. I really don’t get this country. Anyway, just picture me confidently talking about myself while holding that guy in front of my face. Comedy gold.

– One student keeps slapping my ass when he sees me. Like, I’ll be standing at the front of the class listening to another kid’s recitation and it’ll just slap me. But not like one we-are-on-a-baseball-team-I-guess-this-is-still-masculine slap. It’s like there is a giant bug on my butt and he needs to slap it eight times in a row to get it off me. It’s weird. But I just ignore it because the kid has also taught me a bunch of Japanese words this week.

(Japanese Fun Fact #21 – You can buy concert tickets, airplane tickets, baseball tickets and like a billion other cool things at the convenience store. So neat.)

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