Friday, July 22, 2005

Mid-day trip

The teacher that sits next to me (overchews his food, listens to god-awful 80s dregs music) started to unpack his knapsack lunch, so I made a quick getaway and went to the convenience store down the road. On the way I met 3 of my students, and it was amazing how much better they were at English being out of the confines of the classroom. In the conbini (called Everyone, with a pacman style logo), I gave a quick glance to the magazine rack, and noticed with some amusement that there was a magazine called Men's Knuckle (fearing the obvious, I didn't look at it closely). I then bumped into another student, and although he spoke entirely in Japanese, he shook my hand and asked after my health. Once again, completely different from the classroom.

On the short walk back to school, I passed an archetypal Japanese family (that is: mum, young kid and grandma), and when I was still some paces from them, the grandma stared, pointed and shouted "Gaijin da!". Now I'm really past caring about such things, as it happens almost every day. But I should point out that the word gaijin is a shortening of the word gaikokujin, meaning foreigner. The shortened term has negative connotations and referring to a westerner as such is akin to staring open mouthed at a Japanese person, pointing and shouting "Jappo!" Granny is old enough to know better. The real shame is that the young kid will probably grow up using it as a part of her everyday vocabulary.

Anyway, I get back to the office, and Mr Easy Listening has hardly touched his lunch. This is because, you've guessed it, he's chewing every fucking piece to death. I discreetly watched him, and he chewed the same small mouthful of rice 244 times...

244 times!

Between him and Mr Shoehorn, I'm about ready to go home and buy a dog, just so I can kick it...


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