Monday, June 30, 2008

Dan Quinn

is dangerous in large doses so you must be introduced to him slowly.....

The Language

Semi-interesting article from Slate on catch-phrases in the language. As usual, I am a bit taken aback by how shallow most journalists' experiences within the culture are. For example, how could someone ever say "It's all good." Without knowing it was an MC Hammer song. I can't fathom out. Also, he never mentions what part reality TV took in bringing a good deal of the phrases he is talking about to the forefront. It is really odd hearing a lot of people you wouldn't spend anytime with saying things that you find yourself saying. To me, it was clearly the interaction between The Daily Show and the blogoshpere that brought "Not so much." To prominence. Now that I am writing this, I find that my larger commentary is that the observers of our culture aren't always so observant. And I am struck with a memory that has nothing to do with any of this of eating lunch at a restaurant/kayak shop somewhere on a hill above Takanbe. Odd.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Science; Strong Stuff

Baby guaranteed to not have breast cancer. Another reason we should have people who aren't scared of science running our country.

Where's Bob Geldoff?

June119, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

It looks like a half-assed benefit concert.


June104, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

I think Mao is kinda foxy.


June103, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

Sho. Mao. Meka.

Giant Onigiri

June006, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

For his birthday, Kanji wanted to make giant onigiri costumes and walk around in them. We had to cart them up on the subway.

Kanji's B-Day

June112, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

Kanji is Caitlin, next-door's, boyfriend. For his surprise birthday party his friends rented out a studio and we all went and rocked out. It was good.


June121, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

I walk out my door and Kanji is standing there wearing this T-shirt. Odd. They've changed the area code since then.

Long Time No Write

Sorry. I have been at elementary schools all week so I haven't been bumming around on the internet. I also picked up some strange throat infection that has laid me low. Not the weekend I had hoped for. It has also been pouring down rain so I have staid inside watching the 3rd season of Lost. I am liking it more now than I remembered liking it. Who on Lost do you most identify with? A silly question. I would have to say it is Locke all the way for me. The one dude who is excited that they are stuck on an island. Sounds good.

I have been facing a dilemma all week about whether to go home for the summer break or not. The ticket prices are all way out of my price range. After a price sharing venture was proposed by mom I jumped in feet first and took the nearly $2,000 ticket. Just when the financial woes were starting to abate. The upside is that I get a one day layover in Hawaii on the way back. Hello Waikiki.

I want to go to the gym even though I am weak from this infection. I am even weaker from staying inside.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

30 Days

This show has been pretty hit or miss for me. Here is a link to an episode that I just saw and really enjoyed however. I'm a sucker for any prison stuff though. From Brubaker to OZ.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lynx Fixed

I fixed the links that Ed caught, for those interested. I began My push-up quest today with 20. I think I could have got 30 but I did them as part of a larger circuit. I died in the midst of my 4th 5 minute circuit today. Ow.

Of all the songs to have stuck in my head for the better part of a week, this would have to be one I didn't see coming. Why? Why?

Friday, June 20, 2008


do 100 pushups!!!

Not School Related

This is a really interesting article. If you open the gallery of photos it is rather moving and disturbing. All of the people died doing really normal things, which, I guess, is how 99.999999% of people die.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Zoo

My new truce with the third years at a stalemate, I ascended to 3-2. Half the class was there, the rest decided to pass and continue their tennis game from recess. Kumura, Maeda and the rest of the get along gang have decided to come to school. This doesn't mean that they wear uniforms or go to class. They just come to the building that some call a school. I stood in front of the class and tried to do my lesson in English. There was a banging sound next door. Maeda emerged dragging a wall fan by the cord like a small puppy. Kumura went the opposite direction with a desk on his head. Ten different conversations were going on in my class room but I have promised not to scold any of the 3rd years. I spoke in a low voice and bore witness. Kumura came back with a chair and threw it down the hall. When Tsujimoto came out to caution him he began kicking everything in sight. Someone took the opportunity to pour water all over the floors. Sakakibara came into my class to get another student to spin a book on his finger. Kumura ran back past talking on his cell phone. Have I mentioned that Kumura wear a sweat jacket with a Jamaican flag that says "Bob Marley" across it? The other day I said, "Oh, Bob Marley." "What's a Bob Marley?" "It's written on your shirt." That says a lot.

Today 1-3 resumed their shenanigans. All but two of the kids were in their seats by class time. Nishiguchi and Makino were nowhere to be found. They arrived 10 minutes late. Everyone had stood and waited for them for 5 minutes and then given up. They made less than half-hearted apologies to the class and then continued with their bullshit. I'll summarize: Everything is really funny.

Inoue sensei had a long conversation with Makino's mother yesterday. He is having a lot of problems at home too. Apparently the school has been green-lighted to smack him if necessary. Nishiguchi and Makino continued to act the fool. Inoue went of on them in grand, r-rolling fashion. He knocked Makino down a peg with "That's not how you act in front of your mom." Nishiguchi chimed in with the requisite complaint that I beat him. Inoue told him that that isn't a beating, that's an education. It ended with Makino saying he had learned nothing and Inoue yanking him up by his shirt saying "Do you want me to teach you?" Makino ran out of the room. It was pretty money. The class turned into a 50 minute tongue lashing. I think the rest of the class is about tired of Makino and Nishiguchi.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Inevitable Part II

Last Friday I got a call from my company saying that Hamanaka, the 3rd year English teacher, had some requests. I am not to even attempt to discipline any of the 3rd year boys, even verbally. No matter how bad the class goes, I should do it in English. No matter how bad the class is I should show up and "teach" it anyway. I should just give up on the 3rd years because everyone else has.

The lady from my company, who I am getting along better with actually made some sense. She said that foreigner’s legal standing is very low in Japan and that no matter what happens, it will probably be pinned on me. She said that the principal is a nice guy but that, in the end, his main job is always to protect his job. If that involves throwing me to the wolves, then, my lupine friends, dinner is served. She also offered to transfer me. Errr. I have a feeling that I should go with the transfer but I won't out of a sense of nobility and that it will be a mistake.

I talked to Inoue about it Saturday morning, as we were getting ready for parents day. "Please don't transfer!" He asked. It is rough. I have the 1st year teachers asking for my help and the 3rd year teachers telling me to give up. I feel that if I leave I will miss out on helping the first years, but if I stay, I am only keeping the boulder from rolling back down the hill by wedging myself under it.

Today we had an emergency meeting of the 1st years. Nishiguchi and Makino were acting like true fools. Later there was a problem with Makino in class. Inoue came to the office with him. I went down to cover for him. Nishiguchi was acting up again and tried to fight me. I secured his arm but he kept flailing it trying to yank it away. Then he started screaming that it hurt and that I abused him. There were bruises on his arm. That was the first time that I felt that I am in a very dangerous position here. He started screaming that he was going to tell the principal that I had attacked him. They are really pathetic. I heard that during school visits, they went to Nishiguchi's house and that his parents pretended to not be home.

Like Father...

Apparently Hank Stenbrenner is an F'ing moron too. He is crying because one of his players was injured while following the rules of baseball. God forbid a pitcher have to run. Maybe we should make rules sparing them from doing anything but throwing. Maybe we can transport them to the mound and then lay their paycheck lightly in their bank account. It's baseball Hank. Grow up.

Long Enough?

Is it long enough out now to say that I think Tim Russert was someone who got famous for being really terrible at their job? But he was terrible in a way that was amenable to many people, especially powerful people. He was someone that in no way shape or form jeopordized the power structure.

That doesn't mean he was a bad dad or husband or cowaroker or son. I am sure he was very good in all these aspects, but he led a public life and that opens his work up to comment. Andrea Mitchell referred to him as, "The preminent journalist of our generation." That quote in itself reveals what is wrong with the highest levels of our media. I am sure that she believes that, and she is largely responsible for the information that receives priority. She spoke of how he taught the Washington Bureau of NBC to be the journalists they are today. I don't doubt it; driven by distraction and addicted to nailing people to the wall over petty matters.

I appreciate that he loved the game of politics. I do too. I don't appreciate that he wasn't able to seperate that from larger priorities.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What I Deal With....

I will begin with a concession. This shouldn't be on TV. There are obviously severe problems in this family and it isn't fair to the kid to exploit him for a TV show. Years later he will hopefully realize how absurd that was.

That being said. A certain segment of the kids I deal with have this exact same attitude. They answer everything by negotiating with you and saying what you did wrong. They are used to pushing around their parents and think that that is how you deal with adults. Since teaching eikaiwa I have seen this problem growing. Kids run roughshod over their parents, up to and past the point of hitting them where the parent just kind of laughs it off and the kids continue to do what they want. I agree with Jayar that this wasn't even an option that I considered growing up. I don't think it would have ever occurred to me to approach my parents this way.

In any case, a lot of the 3rd year boys I deal with are programmed like this and think that saying things are unfair to them and laying out teacher's actions and telling adults to shut up is completely normal. I really can't stand families who use "shut up" within their family anyway. It seems really low and impolite to me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

This blog is just going to turn into the ongoing saga of Tomorogi Junior High School. Today 1-2 was asking for ghost stories. They mentioned it yesterday too, but I told them that I didn't believe in ghosts so it was hard for me to tell a ghost story. That isn't really the case. I like ghost stories but I couldn't really think of any. I also felt a little conflicted about telling one to kids who might actually believe in ghosts. Today I went in and they had the curtains drawn and the lights off. They reminded me that it was Friday the 13th. I relented and gave them the old one about giving the girl a ride home and finding out that she was dead. They screamed. It was really cute. Tanii Sensei went next and told one about riding his bike through a graveyard and being tormented in a dream that seemed really Japanese. Inoue Sensei told one about finding pants full of poop in the garbage. The whole scene was very sweet. I was happy to see them acting like 12 year-olds. 1-3 was going nuts as usual. They had been going nuts since the period before. This one girl was kicking desks and yelling at the teacher. We have been assigned a new 19 year-old college student that wants to be a teacher. Wrong school!!!!!!!!!! When we came into class it was a disaster. Nishiguchi and Makino have decided to imitate the 3rd years and be stupid, pointless dicks. I enjoy doing class with Inoue Sensei because we have very similar methods. We aren't put off by much and are firm and wait for them to calm down. When they calm down enough we usually say, now let's forget that part and do class. If they can't do that we address the situation. It took about 15 minutes to calm them down enough for the new 19 year-cold’s intro. They never made it into my lesson. Makino was dragged out of class. About 10 minutes later I threw Nishiguchi out of class. Things calmed down a lot except for the dumb girl who yelled that class was no fun without them. For who? Not for me. The rest of the lesson was about a 5 out of 10. Kubota, who I think must have some actual mental issues, was wandering around and punching things as usual. He tries to talk shit to me but always in a very low voice. If I speak to him in Japanese, he swears he can't understand, but he does it in this strange, honest way that is only the domain of actual crazy people. Class began going well. With about 15 minutes left, Kubota pulls out an exacto knife and starts making the blade longer and shorter and longer and shorter and staring at me and muttering something under his breath. It began to strike me, "This is a really serious situation." I really do think that Kubota has mental issues, and I don't think he has particular control over his actions. I actually started to think about which arm-lock would be most effective, or if I would do better to kick him real hard in the chest and hope he doesn't catch my leg. I got in range with my mind on the knife and stared at him. "That isn't a toy. Put it away right now." "It's not a toy. I am putting it away." He responded like a robot. "Now means now." "I have put it away." He whispered, staring at me and making the blade longer and shorter. "This isn't the class for that. It isn't a toy. You will put it away now." "Yes. Not a toy. Away." It got really weird for a bit. Then he switched it out for a pencil. That's right Mrs. Yoshida, I'm not a real teacher. Thank you for reminding me. That's right school board, I really need to speak more English in class.

We Got Drunk

The 1st year teachers (Meaning the teachers who teach the 1st year students, which is also the group I caucus with) decided that we should make our long, hard, week that much longer by going out and getting drunk last night. A Thursday. A Thursday on a week where we have parent's day coming up on Saturday. I am tired, but it was probably worth it.

In Japan, and it has been said many times before, you have to go out drinking to actually talk about work. I think the group from last night are a good group of teachers who are trying very hard. I was surprised, but kind of happy, to hear that they hold the same opinion of the head 1st year teacher, Sugimoto (not Daichi's homeroom teacher), that I do. In short, that he is not a bad teacher or a bad person, but that he is terribly ineffective. Yesterday, when we were trying to stem all of the problems going on on the first floor, he was there, but didn't really take any action. The weird thing is that he looks the part of the older, scary, Japanese P.E. teacher. He just doesn't play it. I found out that most people like the principal. They just think he is too honest sometimes. There are mixed opinions on the vice-principal. They feel he is a good person but, since he used to be a math teacher, he doesn't act unless he can find the right equation.

I also heard a story I hadn't heard until now which will tell you a lot about parents. At school there is, of course, a rule against cell-phones (keitai). We have one 1st year student, Kozasa, who is a very sweet, cute and kind girl. She has a talent for graffiti style drawing and is always pleasant to talk to. She is also being heavily recruited by the rotten 2nd year girls. Apparently her homeroom teacher, Minoda, found her with a keitai and took it away. Her angry father showed up at the school screaming, "Where is this Minoda!!" "This Minoda." Is a very nice Japanese teacher who is a year younger than me, coaches the boy’s tennis team and looks a lot like Strawberry Shortcake. She is a very nice person and wears long skirts. Apparently the father was enraged that anyone would confiscate his daughter’s keitai. The vice-principal and Minoda Sensei, met with the father at length and he insisted that his daughter be able to have and use her keitai whenever she wanted to. That she was free to use it all the time and sometimes had a $500 bill. The family isn't rich though and the father never went to high school. What could motivate this behavior? I really can't comprehend it. Why would you insist that your daughter be able to violate a rule? I understand there is a cell phone controversy in New York. I can understand that in some respects because kids travel all over the city to get to school. Here, they are never farther than down the street. I think the farthest house is probably a 20 minute walk. Is there any rationality in the father's behavior? I must have been gone that day. I would have surely remembered.

Also yesterday, Ozaki Sensei beat the shit out of my old dance partner, Okada. As usual Okada was causing a disruption and wandering around. As usual, he wouldn't listen to anyone who told him not to. He picked the wrong Asian to fuck with and Ozaki smacked him around. In the process his necklace was broken and he went apeshit. All of the 3rd years said that it was so sad for Okada and that it wasn't his fault. They really don't connect their actions and the results at all. It is really immature compared to any other kids I have worked with this age. I would expect that from some elementary students but... Okada's mom was called. Okada tried to run away from the school but ended up staying. He's a real ass.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lest I Forget.

First thing this morning I taught 3-4, which is Daichi's class. I wouldn't be being fair in this if I didn't note that the class went fine and he tried pretty hard in class, as did the kids around him. His team won the game, and even though he didn't speak up, he was helping his friends. That is good to see. I forgot to mention that the mom the other night kept yelling at me, "I know that you might look at his hair and stuff and think that he is a bad kid, but he isn't! Please understand." Man she misread that one. If I went after kids for looking odd, Evan Mankoff, and countless other campers, would have been bloody corpses years ago. I would have looked in a mirror and beaten the shit out of myself. These last few days have been the 1st years acting nuts. They are almost without flaw when Inoue Sensei and I teach their classes. When it is someone else they go ape-shit. Two of them told me they hated me today. "Glad to hear it!" I said. Later, the big stupid one, Nishiguchi, came to the office to get his foot bandaged up. I got him to speak completely polite Japanese to me and apologize for hating me. Oh, those teenagers! Now that I have said that, do I have to burn all of my Native Nod 7-inches? I also let Nishiguchi punch me in the arm a bunch of times. Maybe that made him happy. I also think it is a little important because he is a big, strong kid, and the more I let him punch me while I calmly explain to him all the reasons that it doesn't hurt, the more reluctant I think he will be to actually punch people in the future. Does that make sense? I just know that it is humbling for me to think that I nailed someone with a good shot and for it to have no result. It makes you hesitant to punch. Anyway. Back to the child mines.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I didn't write anything last night because I am tired of thinking about it. Here is how it went.

Take two pieces of bread.
Smear them with mayonnaise and mustard.
Adorn with lettuce.
Get someone to take a huge dump in the middle.
Eat it and smile.

As I was waiting around last night the school nurse came to talk to me. She is small and looks like someone's very nice grandmother, yet she speaks really excellent English. She told me that things like this happen to her a lot as the school nurse. That she deals with lots of kids who lie about their condition and parents who insist that they're not. She says that she apologizes and then tells them the truth about how she feels. She talked about how school used to be in Japan. Somehow she confused the word0 'punch' with 'bite.' So she kept saying, "It used to be okay for teachers to bite the children." While making a punching motion. She went on to tell me that our principal is very good at dealing with parents. That he is clever about it and I should trust him this time and see how it works. That sounds reasonable.

I left for the house with the principal and the homeroom teacher, Sugimoto. As we were leaving the principal said, "Let's just do it like we said yesterday and get out. This is just the first step and we appreciate you helping. You aren't going to like it. They are going to say things you don't like. I am going to say things you don't like. Just nod you head and don't respond." I said that I really didn't want to apologize to Daichi himself. He said, "It's all the same thing. You’re an adult." I agree with that. I went along with it.

The house is a very Neyagawa house. Funny that I probably live in a better place. We went in. The dad was a very dad dad. The mom was still sullen and pissed and pinched. We sat around the table. The principal said, "Well, let's talk like adults." The father said his piece. He was completely wrong but very reasonable. I feel like if we had spoken from the beginning we could have reached a resolution. I get the feeling he knows little of the story and is being wound up by the mom and the kid who are, in turn, winding each other up.

It came time for me to say my piece. One of the beauties, or drawbacks, of the Japanese language is that it can be spoken like contract law. Everything is no one's fault and things just kind of happen. What I said was roughly, "I stopped the fight so that no one would get injured if anyone, including Daichi, was injured in that process, I feel bad about that." That is true. Daichi should feel worse, but...

The dad said, "That's all I wanted to hear." The principal asked Daichi if he was ok with that. He said he was. This is where it gets tough and I either have to put my faith in the principal’s greater plan or hang my head in defeat. "You have to understand," said the principal, "He doesn't speak Japanese and is very young and energetic." (I am actually the oldest English teacher in the school and have the most experience.) "He isn't a real teacher. He is still a student and comes to the school to play around in English with the kids." (Man that dump tastes great.) This, however unfortunate, is the Japanese hot-potato game of sekinin (who is responsible.) I hate it, but it is what it is. I pretended to understand nothing.

"We are a family who doesn't hit our children." Said the father, as if I was someone who goes around hitting children. When they do something wrong tell us about it. I am telling them about it. They aren't listening. The principal said, "Well, sorry, we have to go now."
At this point the mom joined the conversation. She has little social skill. She talks like a bird. A bird that doesn't deal well with other people. She is in a constant state of panic and isn't very bright. It is lovely to be told how to do your job by somebody who couldn't do your job and is dumber than you. She told me that she understand that I didn't have a teaching license (a situation that I have no control over as no foreigner in Japan has a teaching license as people form other countries can't be public employees thanks to institutional racism) but that I still had to learn how to deal with children. I zoned out and was literally biting my tongue.

The principal thanked her for her opinion and had me make my way out the door. As I made it outside he turned and said, "Well, now we have met and I know where you live and the next time Daichi acts up I will know who to talk to." Then to Daichi, "You need to grow up and start acting like a man instead of a baby. You need to respect the teachers at your school and make sure this problem stops now. Can you do that? Are you an adult?" I started to see some of his method.

When we got back to the school he told Sugimoto to have Daichi in in the morning and tell him to stop with the bullshit and get serious. He told me he appreciated my effort and that he knew that it sucked for me. That it was just the first step in a long process. If he means that then I understand. If it was just a con to get me to apologize and get it out of his hair, then I guess he is clever in that respect too.

This morning at school a 1st year came up to me and said, "You and the principal went to Daichi's house at 8 last night."

"Does that have anything to do with you?"


"Then why do you think that happened?"

"Daichi told everyone."

Great. Great. My job needed a handicap too.


The mundials were held this weekend in California. My buddy Eda competed. I am not sure how he did yet. This video is of Andre Galvao in what is being called the AND1 mixtape of jiu-jitsu. Realize that every time he changes positions on the guy, he is scoring points. Enjoy. - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Fun Continues

Did I write last night that we didn't end up going to the house? That I staid here until after 8pm and they decided the father had to work late so I have to go today. I really don't want to go now. The whole thing is making me angrier and angrier. If the parents saw what our jobs actually involved they would shit themselves and run the other direction. How many fights did I break up yesterday? How many of those kids started yelling, "It hurts! It hurts!" When I put my hand on their shoulder to lead them away. The answer to the last question is '2' by the way. The first question? I forget. So the parents would like me to do my job, without being able to do my job. It is the old Japanese teacher's refrain, and now I am starting to believe it. It is like asking me to make an omelet and telling me that they are allergic to eggs and afraid of heat.

=I was interrupted in this train of thought by a student saying that any teacher needed to come to 1-3. I went. Kids were running in and out and no one would participate in class. I grabbed Nishiguchi by the arm and took him outside and said to make a choice about whether he would do class or not. If not he should get out. He listened for about 5 seconds, then ran back in the class saying that I was "The violent teacher." Thanks Yoshida family, for making our job that much tougher. Makino, the little asshole kept yelling at me that it had nothing to do with me. As usual. He then started yelling that I couldn't understand what he was saying anyway. Nice little racism in the middle of my day. =

I am thrown off now. Will come back to it later. Yoshida's family is now saying that his leg is broken. Broken from an earlier injury. I am sure they will yell at me some more. Great. You have to wipe their kids asses and then be yelled at by the parents.

Update: I will just add to this instead of starting a new thread. It is 10 til 7 and I am still here. The only good part about this is that every other teacher says, "You are right." The 2nd year classes were terrible today. Ozaki Sensei, their usual teacher, isn't here so they think it is a liscense to do anything. Despite the recent troubles I drug one kid down the hall and pressed him against the wall and told him to not come to class if he couldn't act like a human being. The inability of kids here to have an actual talk. To be able to speak honestly and listen with out laughing or squirming or yelling back should be the subject of a study. It is really odd. I still don't know what is expected of me tonight. I won't apologize to Daichi and the farthest I will go with his parents is to say that it is unfortunate that he is injured. But if he was injured, why was he kicking someone? Does it makes sense. I expect to be yelled at, but I have a certain point were I extract myself from conversations like that. How do you do that at a stranger's house? I am hoping the principal will bail me out. Everyone's advice seems to be "Say you can't speak Japanese!" I might take them up on it this time. Inoue said I should just keep bowing my head saying, "You are horrible parents. I want to kick your son." And then leave.

How do you explain to people who aren't teachers what this job invovles? I guess the majority of people I know are or have been teachers so I forget that there are people who have no concept of what our job is. Do they know that my day involved wrapping up a 1st years injured hand and doing it up like a boxer's so I could get him to laugh and cheer up a little and that 2 hours later I was having to drag him out of class and tell him to behave while his friend is yelling, "I'm going to kill you." How do you make them understand that you watch kids behave like animals, literally rolling around in their own garbage while other kids are trying to have class. That you try to explain that some people want to try to learn so they should try and be quiet. That you have to do this while a giant, fat, nasty girl runs screaming up and down the hall. That you have to do this in your loudest voice while trying to impart some bit of knowledge. That you have to do this while they are insisting that they can't understand what you are saying and you are so stupid and should speak in Japanese even though you are speaking Japanese anyway. That you have to do this knowing that at the end of the day you will have $300 in the bank, no one to say thank you and parents who want to berate you because their kid has a mysterious leg injury that causes him to kick weak people. How do you do this?

I guess I asked for it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

MMA Sunday School

MMA Sunday School quote of the week: (On why former college football players come back and party in their old college towns) "He's king crap of poop mountain."

They also discuss "Coward of the County" lyrics.


So Yoshida's mom came to the school, where I still am at 6:30 so you know it must have gone well. I spoke very polite Japanese to her from the beginning and thanked her for coming. I told her I was happy to get a chance to speak with them as I hadn't on Friday. That was probably the high point of the meeting. She didn't even accept my greeting. The whole meeting boiled down to the demand that I apologize to her son because he hurt his foot while kicking a boy who was lying on the ground, or maybe he hurt it when he was shoved off of him. In any case, he is worried that he might not be able to play basketball next week even though he had no problem completing the second half of the sports test which involved running several 50 meter dashes and one 1,500 meter race. He had no problem laughing and joking around with his friends.

I tried to tell her that, as a teacher, my first responsibility is to stop a fight and to protect people who are being beaten. She said, "But he already apologized for that. Now it is your turn to apologize to him!" I explained to her that I understood that parents are concerned at that if he was injured that was unfortunate but that I wanted her to understand the atmosphere. That a group of strong, popular boys were standing around laughing at a weak child on the ground being kicked. "But he apologized for that. Now it is your turn!"

"Please tell me where I was wrong." I asked. "Honestly. I want to think about what I could have done different."
"You could have talked to him."
"I tried. He ignored me."
"Pushing people can injure them!"
-so can kicking people (not actually said)
"I understand that. But if I grabbed him, he would fight me. If I yelled at him he would ignore me. If I grabbed his shoulder, he would shake it off and run away. I have to stop the fight."
"It was over!" Daichi chimed in.
"How is anyone else supposed to know that. We can't know that just by watching. He was still on the ground and you were standing over him."
"But I was done."
"You were laughing."
"You are a liar! Why would I laugh!?!"
"I don't know. Why would you laugh?"

Daichi continued to call me a liar and speak very disrespectfully to me in front of his mother who said nothing. His mother was shaking with anger. This went on for a while. She told me she was raising her child to not be violent and that I might have ruined that by pushing him. I might have broken his bones.

"And Fukunaka?"
"He already said, 'sorry.' Now it is your turn."
"I'm sorry. Saying that I am sorry would be very easy but I just don't understand where I was wrong. I have to stop a fight if I see it. I would have loved to do it by talking but I was ignored. I want you to understand that the other boys are standing around laughing and telling me that the will kill me and that I should die. It wasn't an innocent schoolyard misunderstanding that your son was involved in. He was bullying a defenseless child."
"And he said he was sorry. You just won't understand!"
"I told you mom! He's impossible he kicks the other students (I haven't. But I would like to.) He is a piece of shit motherfucker!"
"I came here for an apology but it is clear that I won't get it. I will have to go through other means!"

This actually took over an hour. After a bit the principal came and spoke to me and told me that I was right but that parents can't always understand what it is to be a teacher. That apologies are important in Japan (the speech I was afraid of) but that I don't have to apologize if I don't feel like it. He did ask me if I would go by their house this evening and explain the whole thing. I told him that explaining isn't a problem, but that I won't apologize for stopping a bully.

So now I am at school, waiting to go onto enemy ground. The principal gave me a cup of ramen.

Oh. It was just explained to me that I am supposed to apologize....a little bit. I don't quite understand. I said I have no problem explaining my position. That I have no problem saying that I didn't mean to injure anyone. That I was trying to stop someone for being injured. That if anyone was injured I feel bad about that. Is that an apology? I don't even know. It is retarded.


It really was inevitable wasn't it? After hiding from me and escaping punishment all of Friday, Yoshida went home and told his parents that I attacked him and injured his leg. After coming to the teacher's room and having Fukunaka, who he kicked while he was helpless on the ground, apologize to him for injuring the same leg. Apparently, Yoshida's dad was very angry and called on Friday. I have an appointment to speak with Yoshida and his mom today. I am happy to, but it really depends on what kind of person she is. I will have to tell her straight up that her son is a liar as well as a bully. I'll try and be tactful. We'll see how that goes. I still blame this, more and more even, on the 3rd year teachers.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Japan Errupts in Crazines.

That's messed up right there.

Bo Diddley

Had been meaning to post a video for Bo Diddley who died this week. He was rumored to live in my neighborhood when I lived in the Jackson Ward. I never saw him around, but his TV spot for the pawn shop was money. I like his music in a very non-ironic way. He was a guy who looked around and said, "Nobody is making the music I want. Guess I'll make my own guitar out of a toaster and give it a go." That's way more punk rock than punk rock. That's Grand Master Flash up in his bedroom with the soldering iron style. Respect.

Angry Part II: What I Would Have Rather Happened

I hope, again, that reading about the latest school incident you don't feel that I believe that acting violently against young people is the best way to bring them up. I don't. I think the best system would be to have clearly spelled out rules and a well delineated system to deal with students who violate them. I tried to treat problems that way for the first few weeks. Japanese schools don't really work that way however. It is laid on the individual teachers to deal with individual problems.

What I would have liked to seen on Friday is:

I witness Yoshida kick Fukunaka.
I break it up.
His home room teacher is informed.
The vice principle is informed.
Yoshida gets a "0" for the rest of the sports test. Which is an actual test, by the way.
He has to go to a room somewhere and can't eat lunch with his buddies.
His parents are informed.
He has to explain his actions and make apologies.
The coach of the basketball team (a vastly different position in Japan than the U.S. Here it is just a teacher who "volunteers" their time) is informed.

If I am that coach, here is what I do:
Yoshida comes to practice and has to run, not jog, run until I tell him to stop. Then he has to do push-ups until I tell him to stop. Then he has to make 50 free-throws before he goes home. If he does this. If he has spotless conduct for the next month in class and out. If he agrees to not play in the next few games. Then we can have a conversation about being captain again.

Did any of this happen? I doubt it. He still gets to be cute and popular and no one will bother him during lunch. Will he be challenged to work for anything? Will he be challenged to explain his actions? No. I doubt it.

There is a chance I will get to speak with him tomorrow and I will lay into the motherfucker.
In any case, there should be a clear system of rule and repercussions and a hierarchy by which they are handled. If there is one, it has not been revealed to me. It isn't fair to the students either to have everyone acting under different rules. I definitely agree with the Phil Jackson/Dennis Rodman caveat; that fair isn't always equal. But, for the most part, things need to bee easy to understand.

More Zoo Tragedy

This happened down the street from my house today. They took him to Maki's hospital. There is an odd Zoo-Hospital_Death nexus happening here in Kyoto. Beware.

UFC 85: Ballad of a Handgun

Hardonk vs. Sanchez- I enjoy watching Hardonk's fights as a low kick clinic. I don't particularly care for Sanchez's fights. Sanchez has every chance to win this fight by fighting safe and smart; taking it to the ground and pounding. I am calling it by Hardonk 2nd round KO however.

Liaudin vs. Taylor- People rave about Taylor's striking. I don't have strong opinions on either fighter. I know that Liaudin has been training out of Cobra Kai in Vegas. I call Liaudin by strange submission in the 1st.

vs. Lambert- Lambert is built like a longshoreman. He kinda fights like one too. I here good things about Cane but I have never seen him fight. I'm going to call it for Cane.

Burns vs. Carneiro- Burns is a late replacement/sacrifice. Carnerio by 1st round sub.

Tavares vs. Wiman- Tavares is too good on the ground. I don't really get the whole "Handsome" Matt Wiman thing. I think Tavares is better looking. He is a better sub guy too. Tavares by sub in the 2nd.

Kampmann Vs. Rivera- I like both of these guys a lot. Realisticaly Kampmann is the better all around fighter. The only variable is that he is coming off of a one year layoff from a serious knee injury. If his knee is OK he wins this fight. Rivera is a solid veteran with a very good clinch game and sneaky power. I like him as a person too. Kampmann, however, has won a fight via arm-triangle, a personal favorite, therefor I give him the victory by sub in the 2nd.

Werdum vs. Vera- I still remain on the Vera bandwagon but I am watching everyone else loose their grip and slip off. I enjoy his striking/clinch game. He is world class in both. Werdum is a jiu-jitsu demi-god with odd, yet powerful striking. Lots of people are calling this one a snoozer. I am looking forward to it, if only to watch Vera work low-kicks and knees. Vera by decision.

Leites vs. Marquardt- The site I bet on these fights on (not for money) has changed to a format that rewards for betting on the underdog. So, on there, I called the fight for Leites. IN reality I think it could go either way. Marquardt is such a complete fighter. Some call him boring, but he is just well rounded. Leites is very good on the ground. Not as strong as Marquardt standing. I think Marquardt get a G-n-P TKO in the 3rd.

Davis vs. Swick- A hard one to call. Davis is on a roll. Swick is rolling downhill. They are both technical strikers. Swick has an advantage on the ground. Swick has reach. Davis has power. I think Davis's striking instincts are superior. Hard to call. Until..You consider that Davis's nickname is "The Irish Handgrenade." Davis by explosion in the 3rd.

Bisping vs. Day- I am still not sold on Bisping as a high level fighter, and I like him. I just don't think he is a top level athlete. I think he is the most athletic guy you know. A big difference. I don't know much about Day either. If you want to pick an underdog and come out looking cool, say Day is going to get a surprise TKO in the 3rd. I think there are equal odds the Bisping wins by decision.

Alves vs. Hughes- I had been calling this one for Alves. Then he went and didn't make weight. What does that tell us? It tells us that something went wrong in his training camp. Either he has a nagging injury that didn't allow him to train. Or he had some personal issue that interfered. Or maybe he just doesn't take his career seriously. Matt Hughes made weight but will be back up by fight time so Alves's higher weight will be to no advantage. I still want to call Alves by vicious 3rd round KO, but who knows now. Probably typical Matt Hughes-ige.

Take it to the credit union.


Every game from Euro 2008 will be broadcast on ESPN. You lucky bastadz. Here is the schedule.
A little odd with no England. Germany is the common pick. I will go with...let us say.... Portugal.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I have sunburn. It was sports test day. Everyone was happy because there are no classes. Just playing outside. I went to jiu-jitsu for three hours last night. Slept hard and felt good. But I knew. I knew that the 3rd year boys would find a way to fuck up. That knowledge is a burden. It is an itch. It is more than a premonition. I did everything I could to avoid them. When we met in the gym I stayed far off to the side by the 2nd years. I didn't say anything to anyone except for "good morning." I wasn't assigned an event for the sports test but I went somewhere fairly neutral that started with 2nd years. I ended up at the handball throw. You have to throw a handball and see how far it goes. (I threw twice today. 24 and 25 meters, if you were wondering. Two 1st years and 1 or 2 3rd years bested me with 27s and a 31.) My job was to catch the balls coming back in from the field and pass them to the person that holds them for the person who gets two throws. It went ok.

When the 3rd years came around, I stationed myself 40 meters deep in the field to catch any stray balls and to avoid any actual contact. How long did it last? Not long. I am not sure if it was the 1st class to go or the 2nd, but from my spot, 40 meters deep in the field, I see Fukunaka (who hangs out by my desk all day to avoid bullies) go down in a cloud of dust after he made two weak throws. Someone had said something and he said something back and they pushed him on the ground. He landed next to Yoshida, the basketball captain with the extravagant beaufont hair-do, who then proceeded to kick him and laugh. There were at least 4 teachers closer to this than I was, 40 meters deep in the field. No one even seemed to notice. I made it there first while the boys laughed and told Yoshida he better run. I shoved him hard in the chest yelling "What the fuck are you thinking?" In Japanese. He went about 10 feet back and started trotting off the other direction. I nailed him again yelling something. We ended up near a low concrete wall and all off the other boys were surrounding me. The other teachers? 0 and counting. Sakakibara gets in my face with everyone's favorite line "This ain't got nothing to do with you." So I switched to English. "Get in my face you little bitch. I dare you. Huh? Try it." Eloquent. "Speak Japanese!" He yelled. That shit gets on my nerves. Yoshida was sliding out sideways. "You kick someone who is on the ground? What is that shit?" He is creeping off. "What are you thinking?" We make it back to the scene where another teacher has showed up to make sure that nothing effective happens. All the other boys laugh and I challenge any of them to step up. But they don't because they are cowards. Fukunaka slinks off crying and the teachers let Yoshida go. Later they will make Fukunaka apologize to him for falling on his leg and give him a bandage. He makes a half-ass apology to Fukunaka. I say that I want to speak with him but they say, "He's with his friends now and we worry it will make him angry if you talk to him." Par for the course. After this, Sakamoto, who I get along with, steals a megaphone. I chase him down and playfully jump on his back. Another guy, Fukuizumi, is holding on to his arm and starts screaming, "That hurts! Die! Die! I hate you! I'll fucking kill you! I'm going to kill you! Die! Die!" Again, and this was actually lovely, I hit him with a barrage of "What? What? What." But not like I am actually confused. "What" like you hear in a playground basketball game that means, "Say 'what' motherfucker." Somebody out there gets what I am saying. He actually went chest to chest with me but again another teacher dragged him off lest he miss his lunch.

Nakamaura exploded at a 50 something year old teacher, kicking a desk and chair around because he had been asked not to punt the balls across to the other side of the field. He had to be restrained by Okada. When I showed up he screamed, "Don't even come over here you fuck."

Nice school they got here. Want to know what happened to Yoshida? Guess? Nothing. Later he complained about his leg hurting and everyone made sure he had a bandage.

Inoue sensei and I sat at our desks and waited for our heads to explode.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On the Way to Work

I go to work before 7 in the morning. I pass by Kiyamachi, the main drinking district in Kyoto, on my way to Sanjo. I see strange things. A week or so ago there were about 10 fire trucks and 50 firemen in hazmat suits. A few weeks before that there was a delivery truck crashed over the median into a tree. Around that time the historical marker denoting Sanjo Ohashi was thrown into the river. It must have weighed a few hundred pounds. Yesterday three guys were coming out of Yoshinoya trying to eat off their drunk. A wide eyed family of tourists were across the street looking ready to sightsee with their two elementary school kids. One of the drunk guys dropped his pants and screamed, "There is no way that I am not the funniest guy in the world!!!" As Wayne sad to Garth, "Way." Today a black van pulled up on Karasuma, on of the busiest streets in Kyoto. It parked in front of an all night restaurant. First an older guy with a bad suit, a giant gold chain and a perm got out. I wonder what he does for a living? He was followed by three young women who would probably be considered pretty if they didn't look like they had been force-fed cheap whiskey and dragged behind a garbage scowl. They were followed into the restaurant by a younger man in an equally bad suit, with an equally bad haircut. He actually stopped and moved to the side to allow me to pass. Nice move sir.

Moral of the story: If you are a tourist with your family coming to Kyoto for the temples and shrines; DON'T GET AN EARLY START! Japan is a nation of lushes, drunks and hard core alcoholics. Every morning is a parade celebrating the national pastime; being f'd up. If you have no problem exposing your children to that culture, have at it hoss.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Trip to the Zoo

Maki downstairs is a nurse at the hospital. Today she told me she saw something really gross. A man had been in a motorcycle accident and lost his leg. He was conscious and the doctor was holding up his leg and taking pictures of it. She told me he lived but another patient didn't. He was, until this afternoon, a six year-old boy. His heart stopped working for some reason. What made it sadder for the both of us somehow was that he went on his school trip to the zoo today. Today he had fun at the zoo. He ate lunch. He felt sick and threw up. Then he died at the hospital. His mother is a nurse so she understood a little bit. His grandmother kept screaming, "I'll die instead." That is just terribly, terribly sad.

It's The Math Lebowski

So it appears that Sen. Clinton is done for. The math just didn't work out. However, the same math wasn't working out months ago. I think I mentioned this before. It hasn't worked in a while. She had no chance to win months ago and she has no chance now. Nothing has change except the date. I would have been just as OK with her as president but the tail end of this campaign has been lame like a civil war veteran.

The point of the primaries is not to win the popular vote! If it had been, Obama's campaign would have organized differently. In any case, Sen. Clinton is NOT winning the popular vote. She only is if you don't count caucus states. And, AND, if you give Sen. Clinton all of her Michigan and Florida votes and Obama NONE. Does that make sense? NO. It is absurd. Everyone agreed not to campaign in Florida because of Florida moving up the primary. Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan for the same reason. Sen. Clinton put her name on the ballot but said it was just a technicality, that she wouldn't make any claims on it. Until she was losing she meant. That is major weak sauce. To then rile people up claiming that they have been disenfranchised is a rotten thing to do. These are the primaries. You are not being disenfranchised when your state party violates primary rules and is punished. The nominee is not selected by a constitutional process full of your guaranteed rights. It is a silly game being played by the campaign. A silly game being played in a serious election.

In Your Base

While I have largely, and gladly, missed out on the LOLcats phenomenon, I did find the picture of Obama's speech from where the Republicans would be holding their convention quite amusing.

Sleep; Strong Stuff

Last night I was not tired in the least but I fell asleep in all of my clothes around 7:30. I woke up at 6:30 this morning. Do I have an illness? Was I stung by Titsi flies? I suspect we will never know. Perhaps I am prolonging my lifespan. Yesterday at school something frustrating happened that opened a window onto the bad behavior here. Inoue sensei and I have been encouraging the 1st years to speak up when they see other students doing messed up stuff. I wouldn't normally encourage children to be rats, but at this school "doing bad things" is no joke. Yesterday to members of the softball club came to the teacher's room during the lunch break and said that lately bats and balls had been disappearing from the softball locker and that now a bunch of 3rd years were playing with a bat and ball on the grounds. Tsurutani Sensei and I went to check. We were followed by several other teachers. Of course, I knew already that it would be my buddies. Okada, Kuroda, Sakamoto, Nakamura..... They were joined by some good kids to. Koketsu and Nagami were there. Nakano Sensei started yelling at them very aggressively. They yelled back. They yelled back in the way that prompts me to fight them. Nakano laughed, at patted them on the head like little scamps. They claimed it was their bat from home, which is also against the rules. They refused to give it up and kept passing it around. I hung back as I am known to smack a bitch. Okada, as usual, threw the ball mid speech. The rest of the teachers headed back to the school Problem not even close to solved. "Aren't we going to take the bat?" I asked. "They say it is there, so there is really nothing we can do about it." Really? Really? You can take the bat until it is determined whose it is and ask one of their parents to come and get it as you can't bring a bat to school. Especially as we have no baseball team. You can also not allow them to play outside for the rest of the week for yelling at teachers. There are tons of things you can do. Any other school would make them sit seiza until they cried. Any other school would smack them until their noses bled for talking to teachers like that. Any other school.....oh, forget it. Inoue sensei had been away at a meeting so I told him about it today. He was incredulous as well. Today I have to teach 3-1 for the first time since the last Okada fight. I have no problem beating him down again. Now I see why they react badly to me. They are used to being talked to like they are funny little scamps. "Oh Alfalfa, why won't you let girls in your tree house." But they function and react like a gang or a mob ready to turn on whoever stands up to them. That is why I think it is important to react firmly and clearly. I am calling this one = teacher's fault.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Random Train of Thought

Today I was listening to MMA Sunday School, a radio show on Sherdog that always makes me think what it would be like if they gave Chad Watson and I a radio show, got us a little tipsy and had us talk about things we aren't interested in. It is a strangely enjoyable show about nothing. In any case, they brought up someone who I hadn't thought of in years and forgotten how much I used to love: Super Dave Osborne.

Here are two of his bits:

In the first one he meets Mr. T.

I won't tell you the money line from this one, but I am sure you will figure it out shortly.

Here he covers 9 to 5. You can't lose with that.

I think I like Super Dave for the same reason I like Homie the Clown. Where Homie was a clown that refused to act the fool, Super Dave was the boring stuntman who was unfailingly disappointed. A good bit really. I also enjoy that the main gag in the sketches weren't really the funny part. The funniest part was usually completely deadpan and not pointed out with flashing arrows. His show also did a good job of pointing out the infantile, self congratulatory nature of sports programming.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Won't Mention Kimbo Slice

Josh Gross does a better job of covering the ElteXC network debut of MMA than I feel like doing here.

Gina Carano, whil ebeing really hot, shouldn't be given a free pass for continually not making weight. If she is a professional athlete and not a pin-up girl than she should be treated like a professional athlete. I mean that in all of the good ways and bad ways. The fact that being on American Gladiators doesn't give you enough time to train properly only means that you should quit American Gladiators. It isn't fair to your opponents to keep coming in over weight.

I had an open mind on Kimbo Slice. He seemed to be doing and saying the right things. He was humble and training with Bas Rutten. But he was exposed this weekend. He is garbage. He was beaten down by James Thompson, a man who would be the first stage on Mike Tyson's Punch Out. Kimbo has very little to offer and they can't keep tossing him cans. A dubious stoppage. I don't think I have ever seen a fight called due to exploding cauliflower ear.

I Address Politics (briefly)

I have been telling anyone who asked for over a month that I wasn't debating who was going to win between Obama and Clinton because Obama had already won. Anyone who can do math knows that he won months ago. If you are a person who insists that Hillary is winning the popular vote than you are playing a semantic game that involves counting some things and not counting others and going back in time and acting like the goal of the primary process is to win the popular vote.
To then pretend like everyone has it in for you because they are not letting you win even though you are losing is beyond bad form. There are very good reasons that Michigan and Florida aren't being counted. If Sen. Clinton had felt strongly that they should have been counted then she should have said that at the time and not agreed beforehand. It is sad that the Clinton's are ruining their reputation over this. I hope this is forgotten and I can go back to liking them soon.
As for now they need to get the F out of the way. Pulling a Karl Rove and busing in fake supporters to yell at the meetings this weekend (pictured above) is ridiculous.

Japan Bothers Me

Sometimes. One thing that really makes me nuts is how one thing that gets picked up on TV is relayed instantly into everyone in the country's brain. Until a few months ago most people in Japan seemed to have many various opinions about whaling. Then the forces congealed. I have heard the exact same inane argument about 763 times in the last few months. It goes something like this: In Japan we are Buddhist so we can't understand killing any animals. Of course, no we eat animals, but as we come from a past when all there was to eat was whales, we can't understand how that is worse than eating a cow. Westerners eats cows and just take the oil from whales. We can't understand that.

This argument did not exist until a little while ago. I don't even have to watch TV to know that that is where it is coming from because I hear it everywhere.

The principal laid it on me during lunch on Friday. I told him that what makes other countries nuts is that every time Japan wants to do something outside the world community they do a huge song and dance about how no one can understand Japanese culture. Yeah sure. Most Japanese people don't understand Japanese culture. But they do understand crybaby excuses. That is all this is.


I was at Ichizu and Koya, the two elementary schools that feed into Tomorogi, all this week. Koya is the one that is blamed for all of the badness. I spoke with the vice-principal (the most powerful position in Japanese schools) about the situation at length. She says that the 2nd years that are such a problem at junior high now, were a huge problem in elementary school as well. Maybe what we have is just a small wave of rotten kids that ended up together. Maybe it is the culmination of a wave of bad families. Maybe there was a wave of bad teachers. Who knows. Probably a little of column A a little from column B. I told her about all of the stuff going on at school and she couldn't believe it. She says it is my responsibility to beat on them. I feel the same way, but I have no back-up. We also agreed that I should tell the truth on my monthly work report that goes to the board of ed. just to build a record in case anything happens.

I go back tomorrow. Not really looking forward to it. I think I am just not taking shit and leaving class when things go bad this week. I'mm not going to sit around and bargain with the fuckers.

I also told her that I don't like teaching at elementary schools so much because they treat me like I am an animal in the zoo.

Album Covers

I was at elementary school all week, so no internet at school. Then I would come home and go to sleep. I came across this list of worst album covers. I think I need number 2o about right now. What the f' is that?

I always thought WHitney Houston looked really hot in #22.
I owned #19 and I own #14 right now. There is nothing(everything) wrong with it.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.