Got a call from The Silky One, today:
Tony: Loco, my Man, how’s your vacation going?
Me: Pretty good, actually. Getting a lot done. To what do I owe the pleasure?
Tony: Really? What you working on?
Me: Huh? Me? Uhhh, nothing really…just this and that.
Tony: I see…none of my business. No problem. Well, the reason I…
Me: I didn’t mean it like that, Tony. I’m just not prepared to talk about it just yet.
Tony: Nah, it’s cool, Loco. I know you and I didn’t get off on the right foot way back when. And it’s been shaky ever since. I’m not sure why, but I guess that’s how it goes. First impressions are lasting ones, ne. How the Japanese say it? Syouganai (nothing can be done).
Me: Well, you’re right about that. We definitely got off on the wrong foot. But, to be honest, I don’t even remember exactly what went down. That was years ago.
Tony: I remember exactly what happened. You tried to squeeze the company for a raise.
Tony: Haha…You don’t remember? You worked at that Elementary school out in Fujisawa or somewhere for a few months while we were looking for a school closer to home for you. We wanted you to stay there because the teachers were raving about you, sending us letters and what not! But the 90 minute commute made it a no-brainer for you. Two trains and a bus, if I remember correctly. Can’t blame you. But, you told us you’d stay if you were to get a raise. I still have the email you wrote. I read it occasionally, just for kicks. It was the best piece of manipulation I’ve ever gotten from a teacher! haha!
Me: Always happy to entertain you, Tony.
Tony: Seriously, Loco, you got some skills, my man! You should be a writer!
Me: That’s a thought.
Tony: I guess you blamed me when your request was denied?
Me: Nah. Nothing of the sort. Hell, it was a win-win for me. More money or more sleep. Why should I get uptight? Besides I know you’re not the decision-maker over there when it comes to money. Why would I blame you?
Tony: I’m relieved to hear that. So, what’s the deal?
Me: What deal?
Tony: Well, you never hang out with us. We usually go get drinks and shoot the shit at least once a month. Most of the other teachers have come out, but in three years you haven’t come out, not even once. What are you? Anti-social?
Me: Not really. I guess I’m shy of foreigners.
Tony: Haha, you’ve been here too long.
Me: You think?
Tony: Well, listen, this friday, we’re going out for drinks and I’d really like it if you’d join us. I want to see what Loco is like after a couple of rounds. I’m sure some of the other teachers and staff would, too. They always ask about you. At the Christmas and Halloween parties, and what-not. You are missed, you know.
Me: Lay it on thick, why don’t you?
Tony: Ok, well anyway, that was my pitch. It’s your move. Hope you can make it.
Me: I’ll seriously consider it. Seriously. Only because I appreciate your effort and I can feel the sincerity. But, I gotta tell you, I’m really not into hanging out with a bunch of drunk college grads. Most of the teachers are too young for me. I used to do that shit quite a bit back in my early days here but nowadays, rarely.
Tony: I feel you on that! But, not all the teachers are kids. There are some in our age group. And who knows? You might make some new friends…good conversation is hard to come by in these parts.
Me: Good conversation is hard to come by everywhere. Damn, Tone. I can see how you’ve gotten where you are.
Tony: I’m not sure how to take that.
Me: Cuz you’re a smart man.
Tony: You’re a funny guy, Loco.
Me: I have my moments. Anyway, what’d you call about?
Tony: Actually, that’s what I called about. To let you know about Friday. A personal invitation, since you never reply to the emails, anyway.
Me: Damn, I’m honored! How can I say no to that?
Tony: Good! You’re in?
Me: Maybe. I got a question, though.
Me: Why couldn’t I tell the teachers at school A I wouldn’t be back in April? That forced lack of disclosure placed me under quite a bit of duress. I had friends there, you know.
Tony: That came straight from the Board of Education. They have their reasons, and I’m afraid I’m not privy.
Me: I see.
Tony: I know how you…
Me: Do you? Have you worked with the same people for three years, painstakingly etching out friendships, only to be told you have to skip town without even a fuck you?
Tony: No, I don’t mean I’ve been in your position. I just mean…
Me: Well, listen…School A is having a Goodbye Party next week for the Japanese teachers who are transferring the old-fashioned way…you know, with hugs and handshakes and drinks and karaoke and all that conventional jazz…you think I’d be allowed to attend and pay my respects?
Tony: Man, it really upset you, didn’t it? I’m so sorry…it’s not my fault you know?
Me: I know, Tony. It’s just, you represent The Man…that’s why you make the big bucks, and that’s why you’re catching it. Like you said, syouganai.
Tony: Syouganai, indeed. Well, let me check on that and I’ll let you know.
Me: You do that. And let me know by Friday…over a couple uh cold ones. First rounds on me. I’ll wear my party mask!
Tony: Really? You gonna come out?? Excellent!
Me: Yeah…you turned me around. Maybe you can convince me to be a writer, too.
Well, that ends season 1 of Live from Locohama, the first reality show via a blog. (That I know of, anyway) I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Unlike television series, you don’t have to wait through a summer of re-runs for some new episodes here. Season 2 begins next week. I hope my new school will be as rich an experience as the one I left. And, being a reality show, and virtually Live, I have no idea what I’m going to be writing about. But, as always, I will endeavour to make it as entertaining, provocative and poignant as possible.
I’m on spring vacation now, yet working harder than I did before it began. I have a number of projects underway, and they’ll be launched before you know it. So, be sure to stay tuned to Loco in Yokohama.
In the meantime, tell a friend why don’t you? Blast your address book, your Facebook peeps, your fellow Tweeters, whoever, wherever. Suggest, recommend, tell, insist, push, harass, stalk, threaten, blackmail, bribe (-: Whatever you gotta do. Hell, I do all the above!
(Sorry, but I’m in promotional mode now. I’ve worked hard to work this hard…)
Help me put Loco in Yokohama on the map! Here’s my logic: If I get on the map, then I can get money and teach less and have more time for writing. And they’ll be more posts more often with more variety, and… You get the picture.
It’s a win-win.