Monday, July 31, 2006

Pictures found on my camera phone

That's a large dragon fly that is.

Me on the cover of a news publication

That's a hell of a whale tail

Look closely and you can see the poo smiling and waving at you.


2,600 The number of new JETs that arrived in Japan this week.
44 The number of countries that JETs come from.
0 The number of hours any JET will work this month.
With that, I bring you a collection of what the Japanese like to think is English, but is actually called Engrish. I just remembered I had these on my camera phone.

Your favourite section in the video shop.

The small print reads :
Turn round and round the conversation Special Days
Let's happily spend it all by talking, singing and dancing and it does sports.

Jake's dinner, yum!

And their coach speaks English

An amusement arcade, for you's.

And finally, what my students get up to on actual exam papers that I mark, when they don't know what else to do.

Yep, draw guns in the spaces where there are no questions. Worrying. Still, best to correct the spelling.

Nice big head there, but this IS an exam buddy.

Don't question my question, son.

Choose the correct sentence. Or just draw people having sex. It's your life. It's up to you.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Americans making fun of Brits.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Homer Sexual

This weekend was the leavers goodbye fairway bon voyage happy travelling hope-I-see-you-again-soon -but-probably-never-will goodbye farewell goodbye party at Bananas in Uozu. Much like any other leavers goodbye farewell party I suppose, except this one had Togas. Finally Mark and I manage to wear something different.

Much to everyone’s amusement, I looked like an extra in a gay roman porno. It could be my buff body or my incredible tan, but more likely it’s just my gay looking face.

“Who are you supposed to be? You could be an extra in gay Sparticus!”

Ha ha ha everyone is laughing at me.

“More like Spurticus.” I say. Aha, now everyone is laughing with me for a change.

The night was good. Unlimited drinks for 20 quid. And unlike other countries where, when you start to look drunk, the most you get is a glass full of coke with a splash of alcohol, here the more drunk you look, the more they bait you with plastic cups full of straight spirits. Cue vomiting, crying and passed out English teachers everywhere. Not me, I was off for a short amount of Karaoke, then bed at dawn. I say bed but it was more like more like 10 people “butts to nuts” in a room the size of your toilet passed out on top of each other (no offence Jake – your place is no smaller than anyone else’s out here, but it has got more roaches).

PS I got a new answer phone! You can leave me an abusive message at 0764 675687. Kind of like a Manx number, ain’it. Crags, weren’t you on 675689? Hm, funny that.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Don't make me cringe.

There's nothing more annoying than reading about some one's life changing happiness found on JET. This was made obvious to me by a resent publication, something called "The Jet Journal: 20 years of the JET program".

This large 145 page document was sent out to all current JETs, and was a collection of thoughts about how useful and internationalising JET is. What a waste of paper. I had the misfortune of reading a couple of entries. I can safely assume that all these annoy essays were written by annoying American geeks. And what a load of cringe worthy bollocks it was.

See what I forget to mention sometimes is that JET is made up by a fair number of geeks. I mean that's not being harsh, it's just the way it is. They're all super nice but we all know where nice guys finish; well we do now, they finish up in Japan.

Yeah so maybe I'm generalising and maybe I'm even starting to use more annoying American slang myself than I used to, but what I think I'm saying is that some times it's good to be cynical and to enjoy the difficulties of life in Japan, and not just talk about crap like "transcending borders" and "bringing the world closer together".

What a load rubbish. No one wants to read that- it's boring. You'd probably prefer to find out that I completely misjudged a hand shaking situation with a boy with no limbs on my first day at my disabled school (where I'm the teacher, not a student, smartarse). After greeting all the other limbed children with a firm British hand shake, I left poor little stumpy waving his stump at me in the hope of a firm grasp while I bowed several times not knowing the stump shaking etiquette for first time meeting with a 7 year old Japanese limbless elementary school student.

Then again, who does?

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Year In Summary

It's coming home.
It's coming home.
It's coming
Richard's coming home!

That's right. I'll be back for a holiday from the 6th August to the 17th.

Since I haven't seen you in over a year, here's a summary of my life in Japan on JET. Should help put things in perspective.

August: Arrive in Toyama, Japan. Where's that? That's what we all thought. It doesn't matter anyway. Why? Because the only Japanese City you've ever heard of is Tokyo, and you don't know where that is either. So on with life on the outskirts of a medium sized coastal and yet mountainous area of this beautiful land. Time to throw myself into work. Except it's the school holidays. So no work. It's Incredibly hot and humid all day every day. On with drinking and parties every weekend. Let's start learning Japanese! Decide to climb Mount Fuji. At 4am it's the coldest damn place on earth but oh so beautiful. Do it again? Never.

September: School term starts - This is a Technical/Mechanical/Engineering high school. 400 students. 90% are boys. 90% will not go to university. Teach classes of 40 pupils who don't care about English and will never visit an English speaking country. Still, at least they think I'm cool. At school see a bear through a window while taking a pee. Raise the school bear alarm. Bear turns into large, fat Japanese deer on closer inspection. Bear alarm stopped. I am Shamed. Discover Windy, a gym, nay, a "wellness resort" where I learn the joy of public naked bathing. Will spend most of the winter here. View from my house is sweet. Still too hot though.

October: Visit several tourist attractions and historically important places in Kyoto and Tokyo, while drunk or hungover. Settle in to teaching kids who don't care. Make a fantastic Britney Spears at the Halloween Fancy Dress Ball. Weather cools to perfection.

November: Students don't understand English. I don't understand Japanese. Big sister visits Tokyo and is impressed when I simply repeat the Japanese any locals say to me, without understanding it. Awesome night of Karaoke, hostess bars, clubs and strip joints with Liz (for a bit) and James. Visit Tokyo Motor Show, amazing. Getting chilly.

December: Visit a robot show and see the real ED-209, complete with guns and rocket launcher (currently firing only tennis balls). Visit Thailand for 14 days over Christmas and New Year with a person called Spencer I met on a plane. Learn scuba diving. Great holiday, nice waterfalls. Starts snowing in Japan. 16 feet of snow will fall in an afternoon. And then melt. Commuting 5 minutes to work becomes tiresome. It's cold outside.

January: Discover my house is has three different ski slopes within 1hr drive. Learn Snowboarding. Go as much and as often as possible. After school and every weekend, followed religiously by naked group bathing. Spend my birthday at the location of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano with 20 JETs. Great conditions. Injure myself slightly snowboarding hungover. Stop drinking every weekend. It's really cold now.

February: Over-enthusiastically represent the Isle of Man and an International Jet Festival, making a fool of my self. Win 3rd prize in a JET photo competition for my waterfall (above). Really really friggin cold. Coldest month of the year. Snowing constantly. Most snow in Toyama for 60years. Sleeping fully clothed but still snowboarding every weekend. This is the month you have to decide to recontract for one more year in Japan. I shall stay.

March: Still cold. Perfect the 180 degree jump while snowboarding. Get cocky. Injure my shoulder. Stop snowboarding for the year. Perfect 180 degree spin in my car while crashing on invisible ice. Stop driving so fast. Visit the Japanese tropical islands of Okinawa. More scuba diving plus snake zoo fun.

April: Warms up enough to sit out side. Good, because now it's all about "Hanami", watching the cherry blossom. All Japanese people all go crazy and get drunk in parks under cherry blossom trees. To be fair, it is quite pretty. Some students graduate, the school year cycle is different here. Some teachers leave too.

May: Visit UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in Nara (4th UNESCO site visited since being here) and see one of the Japanese Emperor's son by chance. New students and teachers arrive at my school, who are better than the last ones. All is fresh and new and warm in the world. Life is good. Bring on another year in Osawano, Toyama City, JAPAN!

June: School sports day and beach party. See entries below.

July: That's now. I still can't speak Japanese and it's too hot and muggy. Term has nearly finished. After next week I will have no lessons to teach. However I must continue to sit at this desk at school for 7 hours a day with no work to do for 8 weeks. It's a good thing I'm coming back though, 8 weeks at this temperature does strange, Japanese, things to a man.

Monday, July 03, 2006

We have been brainwashed

Two weeks ago there was a beach party. The first of the year. Imagine the scene. 23 degrees, gentle breeze, sun high in the sky, drinks and food a plenty. The beach wasn't perfect but we managed some frisbee, and even some swimming. It was lovely, until the sun went down. That's when we discovered that everyone from the UK has been brainwashed.

Light at arms length. Stand well back once lit. NEVER return to a lit firework. This simple education has not made it to the rest of the world. Or maybe it's not education, maybe it's brainwashing by the Government sponsored adverts every November.

You should have seen the British folk cowering and flinching together as Americans and Japanese bonded over a wanton disregard for personal safety. Not only were they standing far too close to lit rockets, they had specifically designed handheld fireworks. Not sparklers, proper 2 million degree centigrade fireworks. What these chaps need is a good dose of mentally scarring adverts involving small children and massive facial deformities. That'll teach 'em.