Thursday, July 5, 2007


Well I cut my hair. It went from being about 5 or six inches long to about ½ an inch. The next day when I went to school I got a second look from everyone. They would see me I would say hi. They would say hi. They would walk off. They would stop and look at me again and I would smile and walk off. At lunch one of the students called me a skinhead. I am quite sure he didn’t really know what skinhead means. I didn’t beat him up for calling me mean names. Not until recess anyway and then I only blacked one of his eyes. I left his nose alone. While we are on the subject of noses let me tell you a story. I was asked to play cops and robbers with the sixth graders. I agreed and they explained the rules. We began playing and I was a cop so I spent the next ten minutes chasing really fast children. My “team” had narrowed the playing field and I was chasing on of the few remaining robbers. He zigged and zagged and I pursued him relentlessly. He decide to run behind a huge tree at the exact moment another student was coming from the other direction. They ran smack into one another and I arrived on the scene to see one of the students lying on the ground holding his nose and writhing in pain. I felt so bad. The boy that I was chasing was standing off to the side and he began to cry because he felt bad also. They both visited the school nurse and I hoped that they were both ok and I didn’t catch any blame for the collision. Later in the hall I saw the boy that I was chasing and he was still crying. I asked him if he was ok and he wouldn’t talk to me. I went into the teacher’s room and came back out and the assistant to the vice principal was talking to him. “Whelp, I guess I should pack my things and get ready to go back to America.”, I thought. “He is going to tell the assistant to the vice principal that I shoved him and it was all my fault.” I walked past them and tried not to make eye contact and at the same time tried not to look guilty (something I have never been skilled at). Later in the day I saw the assistant to the vice principal talking to one of the sixth grade teachers and of course my imagination began writing subtitles for their conversation, “…yep, he really is a horrible person. I am not sure if we should deport him or put him in prison here. I heard that he shoved a student and then after he collided with another boy, Wade sensei kicked them both and spit on their broken bodies.” I must admit that I got a little queasy when I imagined that I overheard this in a conversation that couldn’t understand and dubbed myself. After a week and a half I guess my job is still safe though I am sure a demerit went into my file and on my permanent record with the government of Japan and I am now red flagged and have been assigned around the clock surveillance to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I will have to be extra careful, at least for a few more days.

I have a bone to pick with the phrase “water resistant”. Just how long is it water resistant? After several experiences with “water resistant” rain gear I am filing suit for libel and slander and medical malpractice and false advertisement and manslaughter (I am just throwing that one in there to beef up my lawsuit). I left my apartment at 7:47 am (the sun had been up for 4 hours in case you were wondering). It was raining. I put on my “water resistant rainsuit” and took off on my scooter. I was wet by 7:48. I guess when the manufacturer insisted on “water resistant rain suit” as a description they really meant “resists the urge to go and find water, however if water finds them then there is nothing that they can do but be friends and invite the water inside for a nice chat”. Once the water has been “invited” into the rainsuit for a “chat” it proceeds to soak pants and shirt. Next time it is raining and you put on your water resistant rainsuit to go to work on your scooter and you think to yourself, “Good thing that I bought this water resistant rainsuit, otherwise I would be wet.” Just wait a minute...

If you have ever ridden a scooter in the rain, you know that really only the tops of your legs get wet (and possible your rear if your rain pants invite water in for a chat). When I arrived at school, my thighs were wet and my rear was wet. I’m sure you can imagine the things I was accused of… The fingers pointed at me and the jaws dropped. I motioned frantically that it was the rain, it was the rain. Oh, please understand it was the RAIN. The teachers put 2 and 2 together and I was found to be innocent. The students also put 2 and 2 together but they used a different equation:

(wet thighs/wet rear) + guilty look+ (goofy x strange x foreigner) = just couldn't wait

I was found guilty on all charges. I appealed of course and maybe I would have overturned the verdict but the judge (a fourth grader) was tough and deemed that the trial would be held only in Japanese. I haven’t learned, “I didn’t pee in my pants.” I face the gallows tomorrow. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, the gallows weren’t built for 6’1 and I think I can touch my tiptoes. If I don’t make it I think that South Field (maker of the “resists the urge to go and find water, however if water finds them then there is nothing that they can do but be friends and invite the water inside for a nice chat” rain pants) should foot the funeral bill.

I learned today that a watermelon is considered a vegetable here. I learned the hard way after I told a second grader that one of the fruits I liked was watermelon. He said it was a vegetable, I said “Is not”. He said, “Is, too” (in Japanese). I said, “Is not”. He took it to the teacher and she crushed me. I sulked the rest of lunchtime and wouldn’t eat my food or talk to anyone.

Switching gears, I have to admit that I have been lazy lately. I have spent too much time on my computer and not enough time growing my faith. I contemplated selling my computer to rid myself of the temptation and I would except that it is the only way I can communicate abroad (after reading this it makes me sad to think that I am so weak that I can’t make myself turn my computer off). I recognize that Satan uses the little things much more than the big things to distract me from growth. I have noticed that when I first arrived in Japan I was much softer and open to the “little nudges” but now I am growing calloused again. I think that it is good to recognize these things in your life. It is important to have a check up every now and again to see how you have grown or if you are stagnate.