Archive for February, 2010

26
Feb
10

Live from Locohama S1/E10: Payback’s a bitch!!

Sitting in the office 2 hours ago watching Mao get her ass handed to her. After she stumbled…

Kim Yuna

Me: Ugh! That wasn’t good

Sensei-gata (all teachers)- Yabaaaaai! Hidoi!!! Kawaisou!!! (Fuuuuck!)

Me: Maybe she can still get the silver or the bronze.

Yoshida sensei: …

Me: That girl Kim. She’s Korean, right?

Yoshida: …

Me: Mae no kanojo wa kankokujin deshou? (That girl that skated earlier was Korean right?)

Yoshida: Hai hai hai

Me: She was cute!

Yoshida: …

Me: Mao’s cute too…looks kind of Chinese, though.

Yoshida: …

Me: Are Koreans better skaters than Japanese?

Yoshida: Eeee?

Me: Not today…I mean obviously today they are better. I mean in general…

Yoshida: …

Me: Is Mao haafu? Half Chinese, half Japanese? She looks Chinese to me…

Yoshida:…

Me: Wakatta?

Yoshida: Wakatta wakatta…

Mao’s score appears on the screen.

Me: HEY! Mao’s in second place! That’s great! She has a good chance of being number two in the world!

Ozawa sensei gets up and turns the TV off. Time to get back to work.

Me: Damn! I wanted to see that Russian girl. She was cute, too!

Loco

25
Feb
10

Closing in on 200000 Served!

Seems like only weeks ago I was looking at 100000 and now I’m looking at 200000! If averages hold true it’ll happen today or tomorrow. It’s really overwhelming to me and once again I want to thank all of my readers and followers for their continuing and enthusiastic support of loco in Yokohama.

When I finish editing, revising and re-revising a post and once I click that “publish” button, I feel such a charge race through me. Like a surge of adrenalin laced with anxiety. Because I know that I have created something…something original. And I’ve sent it out into the world to fend for itself.  Sometimes it comes back  weak and injured, sometimes it comes back healthy and strong, sometimes it even comes back stronger, with friends and supporters. And each one I take personally. My writing is personal to me. I invest a great deal of my time, energy, real thoughts and feelings into my work.

Some of my friends tell me, Loco, you are really fucking Loco! It’s dangerous to open yourself up to people like that. And, as cynical as you are, they say, you ought to know better. Well, they’re right, of course. (Not about the cynicism…at least I’m not severely cynical I think) It is dangerous! There are risks involved in opening yourself up…especially someone as sensitive as I can be at times.

But, you know what I’ve learned? The more I write, the stronger I get, and the more I can take it as well as I dish it! Writing helps me manage my daily strife and actually allows me to step outside myself a bit and see my situation from different perspectives.

And, you know what else I’ve learned? I’ve learned that the kind of writing that people respond to, that provokes thoughts, feelings, ideas, and the kind of dialogue and exchanges I see taking place in my comment area among my readers…these kinds of exchanges only take place when the reader has been engaged, when the real is being addressed, when risks have been taken and when dangerous ground has been trodden upon.

Writing has helped me uncover me, sculpt away so much useless clay, and be the me I always wanted to be. It’s a blessing I don’t intend to keep to myself. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. And I feel so fortunate to have found my voice and an audience virtually simultaneously. Is that how it always works?

The Beatles once said Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my monkey. (Great line!) Well, I got something to hide, too. Only, I’m hiding it in plain sight, right here on Loco in Yokohama.  Welcome to my hiding place!

Here are some of  the comments that inform me I must be doing something right:

“I like the way you tell it as it is…. in real-time.”

From Robin at Japundit

Please try to refrain from stereotyping and over-dramatising you are starting to sound like the late Richard Pryor or a hyper-ventilating Black Woody Allen.”

From Elizabeth at Punjapit

“Loco, you got the best read on the Japan related net AND you got lessons to plan AND you gotta have a life. Please don’t waste a second of it trying to please anyone round’ here.”

From The original Hawaiibadboy, my man chris

“Hey – I love reading your writing – you are so willing to share your raw emotion – you come across as a Don’t f*** with me toughie but then you soak in every comment. You are teaching us all a lot with your unique ability to bend without breaking. I enjoy your comments at least as much as your writing. And 25k in only 4 months – you clearly rock!”

From reason2write

A friend of mine yesterday actually mentioned me and Chester Himes in the same sentence! (and it wasn’t flattery, he said) This kind of stuff keeps me stoked! A writer needs readers so thank you so much! And don’t hesitate to tell your friends. Blast your FB peeps with my link. Tweet the Loco brand. Shout Loco out! Onegai itashi fucking masu! (-:

Well…I’ve mentioned before that I am in the process of making a few changes to the look of Loco in Yokohama, and many of you gave me feedback as to what you would like to see changed and what you would like to remain unchanged. Most of you will be pleased. Those who said my sidebar is for shit, and my archives are in disarray, etc…Those issues will be a thing of the past. Those who have grown fond of the black backgroud…well…Loco’s gotta lighten up a bit. Sorry.

But, I promise that though the look will change, what you really come here for, (and I presume it’s not to see my black background) namely my work, will continue to be honest, funny (I hope), real and like my buddy reason2write says “RAW!” My primary focus, as always, will be on the quality of the content. That’s priority number 1!

I’m so excited. I got some really interesting projects in pre-production! You guys are so lucky (at least I think so lol)! I truly believe the best is yet to come!

Sincerely,

Loco

PS: Ummm…if you read / follow my blog, why don’t you go to my networkedblogs page here and click “follow.” (and rate me…I like 5 stars but I’ll take what you got) It’ll help me build up my readership and whatnot. Also you can catch my tweets at Locohama.

Thanks in advance!

23
Feb
10

Live from Locohama S1/E9: A foulness in the air

I’m at my other school this week. Away from knife-wielding students and back-stabbing teachers, away from Junior Yakuza and office Menage a trois. I’d love to say it’s a relief, but I love it at the other school if for no other reason than it’s ripe with writing material, enough juice to satisfy my writing  jones. 

Here? Well, the 3rd years students are busy testing, and the 1st and 2nd year students are busy as well, so for the past two days I’ve been sitting around waiting for a story to bite me on the ass. 

Then, just when I was about to throw in the towel and call it a day: Ouch! Right on the keister.

In my office, most of the teachers have school-furnished laptops on their desk. I don’t. I have my neighbor’s (Nakahara-sensei) shit on mine. Since I’m gone two weeks at a time, during my absence he spreads out and I come in monday morning to profuse apologies, as he bulldozes loads of papers and books, soft drinks and baseball equipment (he’s also the coach) off of my desk back onto his own overly cluttered desk. Sometimes my own documents get mixed in with the bulldozed stuff. Things I had spent hours looking for only to discover it was on the bottom of a stack of shit on his desk. 

But, he’s not even the story…not today, at least. 

There are also two computers for general use located in the rear of the office. Teachers not so fortunate as to have a laptop provided to them by the school, like myself, use these two relatively archaic machines. I’m not complaining. I have done quite a bit of quality writing on these machines, and without them (like on those occasions when they’ve been down for maintenance) I would suffer cold turkey. 

Usually I’m alone at these computers. Occasionally, though, other teachers would use them for expediency sake. And, sometimes, the computer tech / computer teacher, Ozawa-sensei, would come over and do techie stuff in order to maintain these two relics.  Ozawa is a really nice guy. He’s about retirement age, and it’s really impressive to me that one of the oldest guys in the office is the most knowledgable about computers. He could be a hacker. I even brought in my computer one time and he de-bugged it for me and he can’t even speak or read English well (my OS is in English.) 

Face masks

 The only thing: well…how do I put this? He suffers (thus everyone in his vicinity suffers) from chronic halitosis. Natto would  be an improvement. The smell is not unlike feces. I’m not trying to make a joke out of this. I have a friend who suffered thusly and it turned out his halitosis was symptomatic of something much more serious. And Ozawa sensei, for all his charm and intellect, is a very sickly looking man. His skin has a pasty powdery-whiteness, like he put on make-up in the dark. And, I think I know what has caused it: it’s his nearly rotted teeth. They are these cruddy, blackening, spackled  looking things. And another thing that places this in the tragedy category for me is that he is well aware he reeks. Even if he tries to mint it, Scope it, Listerine it away…these medcations don’t stand a chance. They are about as useful as mint garnishes on a stool sample; merely decorative. 

Pig Pen

 He wears a mask. Everyday. All day. About two years ago he started wearing it and not a day has gone by that he hasn’t. The mask filters the smell somewhat but only a bit. Like your pants might filter a fart. But, he’s old and so every trip up  and down the four flights of stairs leaves him heaving and snorting and blowing that miasma of his in all directions. The entire area around him has this smell, and this area, this perimeter, follows him wherever he goes, like Pig Pen’s cloud on the Peanut cartoons. 

It followed him to the seat beside me today as I sat at the terminal reading my favorite blogs.  He’s really considerate though. He turned his back to me and tried to breathe that way. But, the smell has long since saturated his entire being: his clothes, his skin, the masks he never removes…it’s merely a courtesy on his part. Like someone fanning a fart away.

But, like the other teachers in the office, I have been enduring this smell for so long that it’s become just another unpleasant yet unavoidable fact of life, like Takahashi’s hazing and Mika-chan’s manic behavior… 

When he finished his business and returned to his desk, taking his effluvium with him, Yoshida sensei came over and sat at the terminal beside me. 

“Konnichiwa,” I said to her. I had made our lesson for this Wednesday already, per our discussion two weeks ago, and she was overjoyed with the results. ‘Much better than mine,’ she’d said.  

“Konnichiwa,” she said, through a smile so strained she looked as sickly as Ozawa-sensei. “Are you busy?”

She peeked at the screen, saw the blog I was reading, ascertained that it was not pertinent to my duties here and gave me a look. A look I couldn’t read at gunpoint. She had a laptop on her desk, so I knew she’d come to speak to me about something. I turned to give her my undivided. 

“Nope,” I said. “What’s up?” 

“Welllll…” she began and my “oh FUCK!” meter went off.  “Do you smoke?” 

“Remember at the christmas party 2 months ago, when you asked me what was that I was smoking?” 

“Ohhhh, yes!” 

“Well, that’s what I smoke…cigars. Why? What’s up?” Where are you going with this? 

“Well…” 

Oh geezus, spit it out will you???? 

“Do you smoke in the school?” I almost turned my head to the side when she said it. All of the teachers  who smoke, we all smoke inside the school. There’s a tiny little maintenance room wayyyyy off in the back where we huddle around a coffee can filled with water and enough ash and butts to make me consider quitting every time I see it.  But, was this common knowledge to the non-smoking teachers? I wasn’t sure… 

“No…” I said. “I go outside, why?” 

“Oh no reason…only one of the teachers said you smelled like smoke so…” 

I just looked at her. She looked back. This look lasted for almost a minute. 

“Okay… I smoke, and I smell like smoke, and…?” I asked. “Is that it?” 

She smiled like she was dying of embarrassment. For a second, I didn’t care what she was dying of, I just wished she were… 

“Well…Ummm, anyway, well, I’m so, so, sorry I disturbed you and…,” she said, and made to get up and leave it at that. 

“Should I stop smoking???” 

“Well…no, of course not…but…” 

“I should stop smelling  like smoke?” I asked. Ozawa sensei got up from his desk just then and walked out of the office, taking his stink cloud with him. I wanted to say, ‘if I smelled like shit, would that be acceptable to this mysterious teacher with the sensitive olfactory receptors?’ 

Yoshida smiled a smile of death, not much different from the smile she had two weeks ago after she spoke with the BOE Lady behind my back. The way you might smile when you know that death is inevitable so you might as well go into that dark night bravely. Maybe something in my face or in my eyes made her think about her own mortality. 

“I’m so sorry Loco sensei,” she said, turned, and walked away. 

WTF!!! 

Loco

22
Feb
10

Conversation 2/22/10: I should ask my wife pt. 2

After a three week hiatus, my private student came to our lesson prepared to resume our conversation on the good points of being Japanese…at least he said so.

At the same cafe in Yokohama…

Me: So, let’s get started…

Student: Wait! I want to answer your question from before…

Me: What question?

Student: About Japanese culture…

Me: Oh? You asked your wife?

Student: Well, un, demo  (student pulls out printouts of a book on Japanese culture written by a famous Japanese scholar) I have the answer here.

Me: That’s not your answer…that’s the scholar’s answer. I just wanted to know your opinion. Regular everyday people. Man on the street…you know?

Student: hai hai hai, demo…before I could give you my opinion I need to see other people’s opinions.

Me: That kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

Student: ee?

Me: For example…if you had asked me…in my opinion, what is a good point of being American, I would say something like the majority of at least the voters in my country are able to see beyond skin color and elect a candidate for the content of his character…You follow me?

Student: I think so…

Me: And a bad point would be American self-righteousness. Too many Americans believe America is an unquestionable force for good in the world…when in many cases it’s just not true. This is my opinion!  A scholar might have a different opinion.

Student: Wakarimashita… (begins shoveling the printouts back into his briefcase) Muzukashii desu ne. (This is difficult)

Me: Sou desu yo ne (It sure is). Anyway, what did your wife say?

Student! Ee? Nan dakke (what was it she said?)…she says Japanese handle ladies rudely…

Me: This is not a good point, right?

Student: I don’t think so. (Scratches his head) We don’t have a ladies first culture.

Me: You don’t say.

Student: Honto ni! (really) We should to be like gentleman…she says.

Me: Why? That’s not traditional Japanese culture, is it? I mean, Samurai certainly weren’t ladies first. Chivalry is a European idea, isn’t it?

Student: Chivalry wa nan desuka?

Me: Chivalry is ladies first culture…

Student: Ah sou desuka.  Japanese feel European culture is more…nan darou… more advanced. Fashion toka, manners toka… My wife say so too.

Me: I see. Is cultural envy a good point?

Student: Good point Janai deshou…AHHHHH! (Scratches head vigorously)

Me: Anyway, let’s start the lesson.  It’s getting late.

Loco

22
Feb
10

Top 10 “Ebonapanese” words and phrases I’ve created

Over the course of my past 7 years in Japan (some of which I have spoken the Japanese language)  I have found that many of my feelings I just can’t express well in Nihongo. For example, all the feelings I would use “Fuck” to express in English, I simply couldn’t feel with its Japanese counterpart. So I was forced to create my own means of expressing the profanity in me that needs an outlet.  I call it: Ebonapanese. When you combine Ebonics and Japanese you come up with this. Basically ebonics is a word some educators in America came up with to describe the total disregard for grammatical structure and syntax some black people use when speaking English…I had to give my profane language a name and the word Ebonics itself fills me with very unpleasant thoughts so I felt it was an appropriate name. (Besides Englanese and Enganese were already taken)

10- Kawai fucking sou: That’s too fucking bad, that’s a goddamn shame, that’s totally fucked up! You’re fucked aint you? Like when that Japanese Olympic figure skater drew bronze last week instead of gold, (and the USA took the gold,) and he stood there on that podium looking like he was gonna slit his wrist on the plane home. Kawaii-fucking-sou deshou?

9- Wakkan fucking nai yo! – I don’t understand a goddamn thing you’re saying! Fuck does that mean? That’s Japanese?You gotta be fucking kidding me…This can be used when your Japanese girlfriend (or boyfriend) or spouse gets angry at you and starts to spew all sorts of Japanese they know you can’t follow, ala Ricky Ricardo spitting Spanish at Lucy on the “I Love Lucy” show. (I pity the person who has never seen I love Lucy. Lucille Ball is perhaps the funniest woman to ever grace the idiot box) Midway through their harangue, you shout this and wave dismissively. By no means is this the way to resolve conflict and in some cases may even provoke further conflict, but you’ll feel better (at least I do) and isn’t that the point anyway? lol

8- Hotto i-fucking-te! – Leave me the fuck alone! I started using this one, again, with my ex-girlfriend. She felt (and I really can’t fault her entirely) that I should de-prioritize my writing and upgrade our relationship’s. She had a point. A point she didn’t mind not pushing when she was studying to become an English language tour guide and using me daily for my bottomless well of English knowledge. Anyway, from my perch before my PC’s keyboard I used this little ditty occasionally…

7-Uru-fucking-seeShut the fuck up! Well, it can be used in so many different situations including the same situations you use numbers 8 and 9 in. If you need me to tell you more situations for which this ditty is useful then I envy you.

6- Miten-ja fucking-ne yo! – Fuck you looking at? Why don’t you cut that shit out? Don’t you know staring at people for whatever fucking reason is fucking rude you asshole? I use this one on the trains or in cafes occasionally, when the intensity of the stare is higher than acceptable levels (laser intensity) or prolonged beyond what I consider to be apt time to get the “My God, he’s not one of us!” out of their system. Except kids…they can stare as long as they like (and they do, the little buggers!)

5- Onaka sui fucking chatta– Loosely translated it means: I’m so hungry I could eat dolphin sushi with natto gravy! Use anytime.

4- Mata fucking ka yo! – Not a-fucking-gain! Use any time. Like at work when I bring a bento of yakisoba and half my co-workers begin the daily chorus of “Yappari, Yakisoba!” I can retort with this (in my head.)

3- U-fucking-zai yo! – You’re getting on my fucking nerves! If you live in Japan and you can’t find a situation to use this consider yourself an honorary Japanese.

2- Osu fucking na! – Push me again and see if I don’t put my foot in your ass! Sometimes I get pushed unreasonably and unnecessarily hard. This little ditty usually reduces it to reasonable.

1- Sumima motherfucking sen–  Excuse the fuck outta me! My personal favorite for obvious reasons. What? It’s not obvious? Well, sumima motherfucking sen! Allow me to explain…Sumimasen is the most ubiquitous word in the Japanese language, so the opportunities for uses are astronomical if you’re an habitual profanity user like me.

Well, I hope you find my list entertaining, if not useful. I have many more, of course. These are just the top 10. For a complete list subscribe to this blog and I’ll provide them to you once I’ve compiled them all. Feel free to use any of the above in speech, but if you incorporate them into your writing please trackback to Loco in Yokohama and/or acknowledge the creator…

Loco

PS: I’m so sorry Muza-chan, but this post contains profanity, and I just read the guidelines for submissions…no profanity. Shira fucking nakatta (I didn’t fucking know)…Anyway, so I won’t be submitting anything for the February Matsurishouga fucking nai )-;

19
Feb
10

Live from Locohama S1/E8: Who is Kawaguchi Sensei?

friday afternoon…1 hour ago…a conversation with Takahashi sensei in the recording room:

Takahashi Sensei: Loco-sensei, thank you for helping me.

Me: No problem. it’s my job to make your job easier.

Takahashi: No no no…

Me: No, seriously, it is. And, if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Takahashi: Thank you so much…

Me: For example, if you need me to help you make lessons…I’m here, and I have time. You don’t have to do everything yourself.

Takahashi: Wakarimashita.

Me: And I think if I spent more time with the first year students that might be beneficial…maybe help alleviate some of the problems we’ve been having lately.

Takahashi: Sou desu yo ne.

Me: Especially with Mik…I mean with $%&% chan. She’s totally out of control! But I think we can reign her in if we work together.

Takahashi: You really think so?

Me: Hell yeah!  I think we can be a great team if we work together and share the workload…you know what I’m saying?

Takahashi: Hai! Wakarimashita….(starts crying…)

Me: What’s…are you ok?

Takahashi: I’m so sorry, Loco sensei…you’re so kind and you always help me out in the class when I have trouble and I…

Me: Yes? You’re a what?

Takahashi: I’m…I don’t treat you fairly. But you’re right we should be more like a team…

Me: Of course. So, why are you crying…

Takahashi: I just have so much stress…sometimes I think…

Me: Ok stop right there! I think you should stop thinking like that! I mean, I spoke with Kawaguchi sensei about what…

Takahashi: You spoke with who?

Me: Kawaguchi sensei…She….

Takahashi-sensei: Who is Kawaguchi sensei? At this school?

Me: Oh Fuck I mean %$#&#%$#& sensei.  Of course…right…There is no Kawaguchi sensei. Japanese names are so difficult…ha ha. 

Takahashi: Are you ok Loco san?

Me: Of course! I don’t know where that name came from…listen Takahashi sensei…

Takahashi sensei: Who? What you call me?

Me: Oh fuck, I must be tired… I’m so sorry %$&#&$%#& sensei…I think it’s time for me to go home.

Takahashi: Take it easy now…otsukaresama deshita

Loco

19
Feb
10

Live from Locohama S1/E7: Kawaguchi’s whispers

I hate to say this…so I’m just gonna say it: The review I received from Silky Tony last week was from feedback given by a teacher at this school- either Kawaguchi or Takahashi. They are the only two teachers who review my performance here. In my heart, I’m 99.99999% sure it was Takahashi, but 7 years in the land of casual evasion and deception has made it impossible for me to trust anyone Japanese 100%, especially in the workplace- and that goes for the men and women. I’ve been burned too many times, and only when I’ve let down my guards, disarmed by the Japanese tendency to put up a good front. They simply come off as incapable of the kind of deceptions they commit. Because I’ve found that to them, in their hearts, it isn’t really treachery at all.

It’s what Japanese call Tatamae, but in the US we’d call two-faced fucking bastardry. Something I used to think was deserving of the treatment the Nazis got from Aldo Raine and his posse of Inglourius Basterds. But, Japanese can’t help it so it’s hard to fault them. Most were raised to believe that this is the way human beings should be, that you should only show your real feelings and intent with family and people well within your circle of trust. If you break that rule you deserve what you get. And, to tell you the truth, I have a tough time disagreeing sometimes. But, I was a fairly trusting soul before I came here, and felt like I had a pretty well honed traitor detector and could tell the difference between a person who I could share confidences and a person who’d likely share my confidences with anyone within ear shot. But, here, that detector is about as useful as a steak knife at a sushi bar. I don’t let it vex me as much as it used to. Now I just roll with it, but I never trust them 100%. If you live here you know what I mean.

Sometimes Kawaguchi  would take me into the recording room where we’d have virtually sound proof privacy, yet she’d still speak in hush tones, heavy with breath.  All the security precautions used to make me paranoid, like she knew something I didn’t know about the walls in this place; that they have eyes, or ears, or both. Now, I know it’s just her style. She’s sneaky. Japanese say zurui. I say typically Japanese. However, today, with an office full of listening co-workers, she didn’t even bother. She sat down in a chair beside mine and smiled…her eyes twinkled as she read my face.

Me: I’m worried about Takahashi-sensei.

Kawaguchi- Really? Why?

Me: Well, of course you know about Mika assaulting her and Matsui-kun? Forget about it. Not to mention the hazing that goes on right here in…

Kawaguchi: Assaulting her??? What do you mean?

Me: She didn’t tell you?

Kawaguchi: Tell me what?

Me: Ummm…

I started smelling something foul, something political. Secrets. Lies within lies. I paused and looked at Kawaguchi. My old detector turned on all by itself. It warmed up with a squelch like  an old CB radio. A distress call was coming in: “Breaker  Breaker,  Loco, good buddy, back off the hammer! !10-33, I say again, 10-33!  Best get in the granny lane!” (Slow down, Loco/ Danger / emergency ahead, take it slow…)

Kawaguchi: What???

Me: Um…so, what do you know?

Kawaguchi: Know about what?

Me: About Mika and Takahashi…tell me what you know first.

Kawaguchi gave me a benign inquisitive look like she didn’t know what to make of my suddenly awkward behavior, probably intuiting that I didn’t entirely trust her. But, if she were crestfallen or impressed by this intuition it was her secret because her face confessed neither. She simply leaned in like she usually did when she was going to lay some heavy shit on me and in a thick whisper, a little louder than usual, said: “I think it’s her fault!”

And she nodded her head at sweet, prissy, chichi fufu Okawa-sensei.

Okawa sensei is the head teacher of the first year students and the person Takahashi reports to directly. She’s a very nice woman, always smiling; kind, friendly, hard-working. Typical. I never liked her much, though. It’s not her fault, really. It’s just that she always uses super formal Japanese when she speaks, which I can’t understand well. She’s the only one in the office who does it, and it has effectively erected a wall between us, verbally. Plus, her voice. Ugh! She makes me want to rip off my ears. She sounds the way I imagine Minnie Mouse would sound if she were a 50 years old, chain-smoking, heavy drinking, domestically abused singer who thinks she still has it and nobody has the heart to tell her she doesn’t (and never really did…it was always her abusive husband Mickey’s popularity that carried her. She we were forced to endure.) She was smiling when I glanced over there and wiggled her fingers at me in greeting.

She knew we were talking about her. And Kawaguchi knew that she knew that we were talking about her. Was that a salvo of sorts? Had Kawaguchi just used me to embarrass Okawa??? I could still hear the squelching of my old detector, trying to find a signal on a stormy night, picking up the warning: “10-33, Loco, 10-33…” echoing in my head. The last thing I wanted to do was get into the middle of some office politics.

Kawaguchi: The first year students are wild and she cannot control them. None of them can!

She nodded again at the whole first year students teacher section. Four of the six teachers, including Takahashi and Okawa, were seated there shuffling paper around and trying to look busy. The office was very quiet. The only sounds in the universe were the heaters blowing (semi-warm air), the whirl of computer hard drives, the squeak of chairs, and the distinctive sound of Kawaguchi’s whispers…

Kawaguchi: …but she doesn’t say so.

Me: Ee? What do you mean she doesn’t say so? Everybody knows! Matsui came in here the other day and practically…

Kawaguchi: I know I know, everybody knows…but she hasn’t said so. And she hasn’t told the principal nor the vice principal about the situation. If she doesn’t say it ‘s a problem, then it’s not a problem!

Me: What?? What do you mean?

Kawaguchi: She tells the first year teachers not to speak with the principals, nor with us, about the problems in the classroom with the 1st year students. Takahashi told me but I have to pretend she didn’t tell me because if I don’t then Okawa will scold her even more than she does already. Takahashi came to me crying yesterday but I couldn’t help her because of Okawa!

Me: Are you serious??? Everyone has to pretend this problem isn’t a problem because she has decided that it isn’t a problem???

Kawaguchi: Yes!

Me: What about the principals? They must see everything. They know, of course…There’s trouble in their school. Why don’t they just jump in and take the initiative? They can see the problem! Hell, students are assaulting teachers!

At this, Kawaguchi went into actual surreptitious mode and became her usual sneaky self when she has secrets to tell. I thought, fuck, I can’t believe I doubted this woman for one second, and I felt bad. She tells me everything and takes risks to do so.

Kawaguchi (whispering so softly I could hardly hear her): The principal and her are…

And she flashes her thumb and her pinky. Great! Sex and politics…Thumb means boyfriend, pinky means girlfriend. I figured both together meant simply fucking. I glanced at the front desk where the vice principal and the principal sat chatting with one another. They were both married so…

Me: Which one?

Kawaguchi: Eee?

Me: Which one is she…(I did the pinky/thumb thingy) with?

Kawaguchi: I don’t know…

Me: Huh?

Kawaguchi: They both pretend, deshou? Maybe she’s (pinky/thumb thingy) both of them…

Me: USO!!! (Bullshit!!!)

I knew from that moment that Kawaguchi didn’t only dislike Okawa. She hated the bitch!

Kawaguchi: They both know about the problem, deshou? And they both do nothing, deshou? And they both listen to her lies about how she can control the situation, deshou? They both help her everyday…

Me: Come on, you don’t really believe she’s doing them both, do you?

She suddenly burst into a raucous laugh. This was for Okawa’s benefit no doubt.

Kawaguchi: No, I guess not. I think she’s (pinky/thumb thingy) the principal and he’s keeping the vice principal in check.

Me: So I guess Takahashi is the one really getting (pinky/thumb thingy) deshou?

It took her a second to get my meaning. Then, she nodded sadly and glanced over at Takahashi, looking all helpless at her desk.

Kawaguchi: (whispers) Kawaisou. (It’s a shame.)

Loco




Copyright © 2010 Loco in Yokohama / All Rights Reserved

Please know that this blog is my original writing and may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of the author (that's me!) Thanks!

Words I love…

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain't no stopping 'til it's in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round

Words by: Sly Stone

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