Tales From A Broad

My year of teaching English in Japan is up. Next mission: backpack Asia before going home to the U.S.A. Currently HOME!

Halloween: Part 1

Sunday, October 30

I love Halloween. I love it so much that I'm not going to let being away from home stop me from celebrating it. Even though Japanese don't officially celebrate it, many of them know what it is. For the last couple of weeks, I've been brainwashing my students with useless Halloween games and trivia so that they too will love Halloween. MUAHAHA! First, I threw a Halloween party for the kids at my school for the disabled. This is the junior high department. We made Jack O' Lantern hats and I told them about the different monsters (ghosts are white...vampires don't like garlic, etc). I gave the teachers candy and had the students go trick or treating in the staff room. They think that American kids are so lucky for getting all this candy from stranger's houses. These are the kids in the elementary school department. Some of them are too incapacitated to speak at all, so we just went around the school, showing off the costumes.
Then, I had the students at my technical high school carve pumpkins. Teaching at this school is always really fun and relaxing because the english teacher I pair up with is only 23 and lived in New Zealand. His name is Atsushi (I call him "Hot Sushi"...if you've ever read the book "Hokkaido Highway Blues," then you prolly know what I mean) and his English is excellent, but he definitely talks like a Kiwi. That day, he told me that he didn't like Justin Timberlake because he's, "a piker." hahaAside from threatening each other with the carving knifes, I saw some of the guys eat the raw insides of the pumpkins, throw seeds down each other's shirts and one of them caved an a-hole on the backside of their pumpkin. I was cracking up. High schools students are the same in every country.I find it so endearing how affectionate Japanese people are with their friends of the same gender. They're always jumping on each other's backs, putting their arms around each other, mess around by touching their necks, hands, faces, whatever. It's so un-American. Back home, we have this ridiculous notion of what masculinty is. If an American did the same thing, they would be considered gay.Finally, I had the girls in my english club at my base high school decorate the english room. Every Friday after school, I run the English club, so we're always doing random things like listening to American music or looking through english magazines. There are 8 girls and these are two of them. These girls are really sweet. When I first got to Japan, they threw me a welcome party with all things Japanese: an intro to J-music, chopsticks and a J-plate, mochi (a desert filled with red bean paste), and an intro to all the festivals around town. The girl on the left is awesome at English and I always encourage her to keep at it. She entered a speech contest, so I help her with pronunciation and what not. This skeleton was so cheesy...I know. Every day I have to clean with the students, and one of the guys moved the skeleton's legs so that they were spread eagle and put its hand over the crotch. One of the other teachers was scolding him but he didn't stop. I wanted to laugh sooooo hard, but I knew I had to keep my poker face on or else the other teacher might have gotten pissy.

This is just the beginning of my Halloween in Japan. To be continued...

For the love...please click on this link

Friday, October 28


Thursday, October 27

I'm dying to win something out of these machines, but the arcades in Japan are so intimidating. There's guys on microphones yelling, strobelights, techno music (think video game type techno), bright yellow walls and tweens who have gone pro on some of these games. This is Disney World on speed...times 10...then fast forward it some more...yup.

I Heart My Job

Tuesday, October 25

This is to show that I actually do work despite my recent blog entries of retardedness on the weekends.

Let me break it down. I have 7 schools in total: 2 high schools (one of which is my base school), 1 junior high, 3 elementary schools and one school for the disabled. I usually spend about 3 days a week at my high schools and the other two days are spent visiting the other schools. I visit my school for the disabled every 2 weeks while I visit the other elementary schools monthly.

The elementary schools and school for the disabled are my favorite because I have free reign on what I can teach them. I can plan parties and fun games. The high schools are more structured so I have to follow a boring lesson plan and grade papers. This usually consists of me drawing pictures of Yoda and Hello Kitty on their papers just to spice things up. A uniquely Japanese phenomena is that once students enter high school, they warp into these mutes who refuse do anything by themselves. Asking them a simple question like, “What is your favorite color?” turns into a roundtable discussion. They giggle shyly, cover their mouths with those stank rags their carry around (I hope they wash those REGULARLY) and ask all their friends around them for the answer. 5 minutes later, you’ll be lucky if they’ve responded. Complete spastiks. But, outside of class, they rush to talk to me and ask inappropriate questions about my love life, body and hygiene. This is my favorite part of the day. My all time favorite convo was with one of the students who told me, “Christine-sensei (sensei is a title added to the end of a teacher’s name), Japanese men are easy! HA HA HA” and ran away to brag to all his friends about what he just did. Other topics have included what moisturizer I use, why I have such long legs (Japanese people have long torsos, but are bow-legged and shooort) and if I can come over to their house. In America it’s sexual harassment; in Japan it’s hilarious.

This is my first day at my favorite elementary school, Yuno elementary. These kids are an absolute pleasure. After I gave my self-introduction about FL oranges, Disney World, alligators and such, they all stood up and sang a song to me. Not only do they ask for my autograph, but they also clap when I walk into the classroom. Their energy is contagious. One thing I must say is that I’m not a necessarily exceptional teacher. I don’t particularly care if they can remember the English words I teach them a week later (although that would be nice) because I don’t get to teach them on a regular basis. Rather, I’m just trying to sell them English and American culture. I want them to remember that they had a good time, not the name of vegetables or the days of the week. So, I act as silly as possible (those of you who know me well know that this is the norm for me anyway!) in class by making kissing noses to their cheeks with stuffed animals, putting pennies on their heads, singing their names when I call on them, randomly dancing, etc… I have officially become the pet gaijin (foreigner).


Monday, October 24

Florida is getting shafted by too many hurrucanes. This looks like it's heading stright north, too close for comfort...too close to Jacksonville. This is the first time in history that we've used all the regular names. The next hurricane to come through the Atlantic is going to have to resort to the Greek alphabet...and to think the season doesn't even end until Nov. 30. If this isn't a sign that global warming isn't just a satistic, then i don't know what is. So, instead of going on a rant about how worthless George Bush is (and any president before him who has neglected the issue), I'll let this pic do the explaining. This is my hometoast Jenn from Tally. If there's anyone I know who can ruck a muck and get away with it it's her. We got pierced in Spain, launched "Operation Anti-Bush" during the elections (essentially defaced our campus) and crashed a Micheal Moore shindig. She protested in D.C. a few weeks ago and raised hell.Whenever she decides to start the revolution, I'll be right there with her. ;o)

"For relaxing times, think Suntory times."

Friday, October 21

How to Get Held Hostage by a Ramen Shop Owner: for Dummies

Friday, October 14

"My fork sucks! Let us out!"

Evidently, it's as easy as callin him/her a cunt. How do I know? Well....

After our monthly required meetings at Yamaguchi city, a group of us were on the prowl for a restaurant to hang out in, ANY restaurant. After hunting for 30 minutes or so, we finally laid eyes on a ramen shop. Naturally, we go in and I decide to use the bathroom before we get settled. Once I finished and headed out to meet up with everyone else, I see that the only person inside was Paul...Paul being pulled by the shop owner.

An old fogie in his sixties restraining Paul (over 6 ft, big guy) by his bag. The closer I get, the more I see how furious the guy was. Yelling, shaking and, at this point, holding both of us back...we couldn't break free from him. We were held captive! I couldn't understand a word he was saying (or what was going on for that matter). Thank Gawd Paul managed to push his way through and out the door. Now I was held captive, Mario Brothers style. Paul was trying to save me from King Koopa in his dreadful castle. Seeing me completely hopeless against this senile man, Paul forces the door open, despite grandpa's attempts. We were apologizing profusely in our broken Japanese, a feeble attempt at bargaining with him to let BOTH of us out. Until finally, the only customer in the store wanted to leave and had to pay. Perfect distraction. In a split second, Paul and I look at each other and make a run for it. We were actually scared! I've never seen a Japanese person lose face like that, let alone get aggressive..

We ran to meet up with everyone and try to explain what had happened. After a while, Stephanie (slightly inebriated at this point, mind you) confesses to calling the guy a cunt because, "He said he wouldn't serve us. So, I asked him 'do you really not want to serve us or are you just too much of a cunt to understand my Japanese?'" I could've killed her, but it does make for a good laugh...

To my fam,

Thanks for the boxes!!! I got the first one on Monday and the second one today (still waiting for the 3rd one). I felt like it was Christmas when I saw the mailman drop them on my living room floor (X-mas in October..why not? We did have Thanksgiving in July! hehe). I took a big whiff as I opened them and they smelled just like our house..fabric softener, moth balls, and cilantro...mmm. The winter clothes came just in time becuase it definitely feels like fall at night and early morning.

The dream book is perfect (i'm a hocus-pocus, horoscope junkie). I've been having the weeeirdest dreams lately.

The birthday card was priceless. For the record, Mami and Papi did NOT win me in a Bingo game. It was Crazy Eights.

Lili, will you thank Eileen for the earrings? They are cutie...Navajo indian style.

Whoever convinced Mami to send the "In Touch" magazine--good call! Gawd, I really miss raunchy celebrity gossip, no matter how outdated it is. Is that Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston feud still holding strong? Lindsay Lohan looks like a broomstick.

Maureen, I love the necklace and chocolate coffee bar from your Hawaii trip. I haven't stopped listening to the new Kanye West CD you burned either. BTW, I bought a pack of Tim Tams and a Dairy Milk chocolate bar 2 weeks ago. BE JEALOUS!!! hahaha

I never thought I'd ever be so happy to see Starbursts, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and sour gummi worms.

The Halloween decorations were a perfect touch. I'm throwing my students at the school for the Disabled a Halloween party. It'll be perfect. They love learning about "Jack O' Rrrrranterns" and the precious phrase "Trickuuu oruu Treatuuu."

I'll admit that getting those boxes made me feel a pang of homesickness. Then, I realized that my apartment felt that much cozier and, well...more like home. Thanks SO much!

Love ya guys,

Sake festival in Hiroshima

Monday, October 10

One of the perks about living in Japan is the amount of festivals held all over the country, throughout the year. So far, the best one I've attended was the sake festival this weekend in Hiroshima. Part of the 'Guch crew (Justin, Stirlo and Pete) met up with the Hiroshima lot for the day. 1500 yen (around 15 bucks) got you over 900 types of sakes to sample, from all regions of Japan. You could try the sweet kind, dry, spicy, bitter, flowery...anything. I've never had anything against sake back in the States, but it never was my choice of drink. This festival made me reconsider. This is a pic of Justin and I enjoying ourselves, but also realizing the state of our pitiful existance after about 4 hours at the festival. Justin is another JET in my town who I hang out with a lot. He's from Australia and has traveled the world like no other: 40 countries to be exact. The story of when he fell asleep in Australia and found himself in New Zealand the next day is a doozie. He is my traveling mentor and an inspiration.

I still can't get over how nice the Japanese come across. Even though these workers are supposed to hide behind this glass divider, they couldn't refuse us foreigners. We started the day meeting some people who work for Delta, whish essentially is anotehr title for "getting paid to travel." While they live in Guam now, one of the guys is originally from Deltona, Florida. What r the odds of that? Southern accent and all, smack in the middle fo Hiroshima.

I haven't touched on Japan's infactuation with being and looking "cute." I'm talking little boy/girl cute..even if you're 50. I'll leave that for another blog entry, but this pic is a good example of that. The drunk sake bear. Cute, inebriated and hairy. Like any other proper Japanese festival, there was fried octopus balls, green tea ice cream, skewered chicken on sticks and cold noodles, among other things. What I love the most is that festivals here aren't about being one big party. Instead it is one of the rare times that families can actually enjoy a day together. The men aren't in business suits, working and the children aren't in school. I imagine that it is one of the few times that children truly can bond with their fathers (the mothers usually aren't the issue becuasemost of them become homemakers once they become pregnant for the first time). So, they lay a blanket on the ground and enjoy the day.

These guys are some locals we met. The one on the right is a pro dancer in Tokyo and was visiting his friend on the left who lives in Hiroshima. Casey, the ringleader of the Hiroshima JETS, is in the middle. The Tokyo dancer later took a big group of us to a club in the heart of the city lights. Little did we know that the club would soon be filled with American Marines from the base in Iwakuni (less than an hour-ish away). Though I met a really cool Marine, most of them seemes to be scpoing out their prey: unassuming J-girls who would do anything to marry a Western man. The scene was quite sickeneg after awhile. After dancing and teaching salsa to Pete and Casey, we decided to call it a night. After a quick conbini stop, Lisa, David and I crashed at an internet cafe. And yet, another morning spent wondering, "why did we pass out here?"

"Lip My Stockings!!!"

And yet another healthy dose of Engrrrish for all you kiddies back home. Enjoy!

Apedite sounds scary, not sexy.

Even the spam that I've been getting on my cell phone is retarded. Take a look:
* coo-poo-like.bringfire@ezweb.ne.jp
* getter-blind 1719@yahoo.co.jp
* ayumi-one-night.love-deai@ezweb.ne.jp
* mixjuice.com@sky.quolia.com
* candy-prince highwee77zoom@ezweb.ne.jp
* catprety-wanwan.5pgeto@ezweb.ne.jp

Don't they have spell check?

"Natural & Healthy"
~The description on the wrapper of a processed hotdog (not shown here) wrapped in a butter bun and glazed with mayonnaise. I still bought it despite the false advertising.

No need for a caption here.

"Good thing I'm only getting severly drunk and not drunk severly." ~Justin

...because 2 legs would be rude.

Can't say ya weren't warned.

Words to the wise.

Last Tuesday, one of my students wore a shirt (under his uniform, of course) that read:
"Flower sniffin'
Kitty pettin'
Baby kissin'
Corporate rock whores."