Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Update That Wasn't an Update!

Today fails. This update will not have anything to do with MMOs, RPGs, or any combination thereof. It will simply be what it is, and if you can't take the heat, baby, Alt-F4. My job is a funny one. I teach English classes at an elementary school in Japan. I have twelve classes during the week, and each of those classes are 45 minutes long. That leaves 31 hours a week, doing what I'm doing right now.


One of the reasons I even began writing for NotAddicted was the fact that having Word open and typing furiously looks a lot more productive that just rolling the scrollwheel on my mouse as I read the Intarwebs. A lot of the time I can hide up in the English Room and just dick around on my laptop, but the Japanese School System has this crazy fucking thing they do while the children are away on holiday… they come into fucking work ANYWAY, and just jerk off at their desks for 8 hours. I’ve used more vacation hours than I actually even have, just because I can’t stand being here when there’s nothing to do. That, and I’ve been taking Mondays off trying to get my Japanese Driver’s License. Here is an exerpt from an honest-to-god-fucking-email I sent today to the Board of Education Supervisor guy that handles the ‘foreigners’ (that’s me):

As you all know, I've been missing the last bunch of Monday Meetings in an effort to obtain my Japanese Driver's License. After 5 failed attempts, I finally got it on December 25th. Hooray.

I also took time off during the winter break, seeing as when we don't have classes, there isn't a whole lot for us to do at school. My lessons are planned and prepared for the coming months ahead. I use my downtime during the week in between classes to make materials and plan new game activities. We share these ideas with each other Monday afternoons, and if any new ideas arise, I still have plenty of time to integrate them into my lesson flow without too much hassle.

My vice principal approached me today with the concern that I have 'overdrawn' on my Nenkyuu Time (vacation hours) during my stay at my current location this year. While I appreciate the idea of having a vacation that spans one day a week over the course of two months, spent in the Japanese Department of Motor Vehicles, it isn't really what I had in mind. I needed to get my license in Japan before my American Driving Permit expired, which resulted in my wonderful Christmas Morning at the DMV. Needless to say, going home to visit my family was put on the back burner.

I fully intend to go to America this coming Golden Week, but not only do I have no vacation time left, I'm actually 'in the red' as it were.

I haven’t heard back from the guy, because he’s probably at home whacking it, thinking about Large Breasted American Women.

In addition to my ramblings on NotAddicted, I’ve been known to farm honor in the ‘AFKave’ of Alterac Valley, but this is only when I can sneak off to the english room and lock the door behind me. When I’m forced to sit at my desk, I’m stuck with reading the WoW forums (with the side of the browser dragged off the left side of my screen to hide the troll and dwarf ‘cartoon’ avatars):

...or my new favorite game I play: I open Excel, and just type a random word in each cel. I’ve gotten pretty good with this one. If anyone looks over my shoulder, they see me busily at work in Excel, and for all intents and purposes, I might as well be working on new vocabulary for all they can tell… you know what you see when you look at a page full of kanji? They pretty much see the same thing when presented with a page full of english. That email I sent earlier is going to give the supervisor a shit when he opens his email to find the Wall of Text critting his face for like 13,000. I’ll probably get some three word response like “no vacation left” or “please do best”. GARAGARAGGAAAAHHH! I can’t take it anymore!

I do enjoy teaching the kids, but the empty little bubble I inhabit is starting to close in on me. People walk around me in the teacher’s room, because they’re afraid I’ll lock onto them and engage in foreigner conversation. I do the same back to them, and if ever we do engage in any awkward exchanges while waiting to use the copier, it probably goes something like this (translated from japanese, of course):

Them: So… What did you do for New Year?
Me: Yes! (I look at my feet)
Them: Umm… did you eat any Mochii?
Me: Nothing. (ha ha ha, smile uneasily…?)
Them: Do you understand what the fuck I’m even saying?
Me: Thank you! (bows)

This is, of course, a two way street. If at anytime I feel trapped in an endless conversation in which I haven’t the foggiest idea what it’s even about, I can just spit out anything in Full Blown English, and it usually brings whatever was being said to a close. Both parties smile, bow, and just walk away. I used to have a vaguely confused look on my face all the time, and would tell them when I didn’t understand what was being said, but that’s kind of an invitation to just expound on the topic, so now I just kind of have this canned "haha! Oh, yeah... sure..." thing I do. 90% of the time they stop you in the hall to ask things like ‘Is it this hot in America, too?’ or ‘Are you looking forward to the coming three day weekend?’*, and the old ‘hahaohyeah’ works fine in any of those situations.

Come to think of it, I kind of used to do the same thing in America. Ever get in one of those situations where some jackass you work with asks ‘how you’re doing’, but he usually asks ‘what are you doing’, and you already had ‘nothing’ coming out your mouth before you could stop yourself? Then it becomes a whole fucking hassle when they’re like ‘haha, I asked how, and you said nothing, don’t you feel stupid!’ and all you really want to do is break their teeth with your coffee mug, but the conversation just keeps going?

My magic bullet for either of those questions just became ‘Chillin’. It works for ‘how’ or ‘what’, but I haven’t come across the japanese equivalent yet. I’ll keep you posted. Anyway, I gotta get back to work. Until next time…

* - Swear to Fucking God, one time they stopped a fellow teacher from New Zealand, and started to talk about the weather as they looked out over the clouds in the school yard. The Japanese teacher smiled and asked this girl "if they had those back in New Zealand".



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