Saturday, February 04, 2006

Konnichiwa, y’all

Today I had my first lesson in Japanese. I’m well on my way to becoming a world citizen, as well as mail ordering a geisha from Japan (I’m assuming that’s legal).

First let me back up. Yesterday I checked my online bank statement and saw I had been charged for French lessons. Mon dieu! Panicked, I called the school and confirmed that I was indeed signed up for Japanese. They told me the billing was the same for both languages, so I should ignore the wording. After looking at their sloppy web site with its limited functionality, I was already a little concerned about this place, and the billing statement didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

I had planned to get up early today, shave and shower, dress as I would for work (business casual – charcoal trousers with a black golf shirt), arrive at school about an hour before class, purchase a textbook, and read until class began. That would give me plenty of time in case anything went wrong – traffic, weather, Giant Atomic Chickens, a long line at registration, what have you. When the alarm went off, my tired brain immediately decided I had too much time planned and for what I was paying they could goddamned jolly well deal with the fact that I would arrive unshorn in jeans and a t-shirt. I oozed out of bed thirty minutes later, took a shower but left my whiskers on, and drove to school. I arrived with about five minutes to spare.

Did I mention their web site looked sloppy? It was nothing compared to the front office. It looked like the local headquarters of the “Save the Woolly Slug” campaign crossed with downtown New Orleans after Katrina’s visit. The reception area consisted of two computers with barely enough room for one person to sit. The main hall featured a cheap photocopier better suited to a home office and paintings along the walls featuring signs proclaiming them for sale. Odd boxes and stacks of paper lined the walls like clumps of debris making it nearly impossible for one person to pass another. I’ll try to get some pictures next week.

After some confused milling about with other people looking for their classes, the front desk guy told us to follow the Japanese lady coming down the hall. She looked ancient as the Scrolls of Skelos but reservedly friendly so I began to hope things might work out after all. She walked toward us, gave us a tiny smile, and stepped into a side office. Behind her was another Japanese woman carrying a coffee cup the size of her head. She was thirtyish with shoulder length hair, geek-chic glasses, and would probably fit into the coin pocket on my jeans. I loved her immediately – not as much as my beloved Ninja Bunny Dentist, but suitable as an alternate backup object of desire. I don’t care that she’s married or that she probably views me as a stupid old white person with a zit on his cheek. When you’re meant to be with someone, little things like reality and deadbolts and vows before god almighty and restraining orders don’t mean doodley-squat.

Quick question – I know she’s about thirty, based on her appearance and the timeline – she finished college in Tokyo and she’s been here for over five years. Despite that, she has the body of a twelve-year old American girl, short stature with the slightest hint of hips and mosquito bites for breasts, and yet I still want to have sex with her. Does this make me a pedophile? Discuss. Use both sides of the comment box if necessary.

Anyway, we followed her down to a less cluttered area, a small wood-paneled room that looked more like one of the many conference rooms in which I’ve been forced to attend meetings than a classroom, which suited me fine. I’ll take a large faux-wood desk and pneumatic chair over a student’s desk any day. We filled the room, nine students in all (the Atlanta Language Institute claims they limit the group to eight, but that’s close enough). I expected her to pass out the books we were told we could purchase there, but she said we didn’t need them for the first lesson and they should be available in the office after the lesson.

I won’t bore you with all the details (take your own Japanese class if you’re interested), but I can say that this was the best class I have ever taken. Sensei was funny and energetic (as well as a mini-hottie) without being annoying, she taught us bits of cultural interest along with the written and spoken forms of the language, and I discovered I wasn’t the dumbest person in class. In fact, not counting the people with prior experience, I screwed up less than anyone. She may have noticed that because she usually gave me first whack at anything new and difficult. The first time she asked me to say something I thought she wanted me to repeat her. I said (in Japanese) “I am Japanese,” to which she responded (in English) “No, you’re not.” Busted. I could have forced the issue (“Oh, yeah? Prove it!”), but I tried again and got it right. She also used me to demonstrate the difference between how she pronounces her R’s and how I do, and I missed a wonderful opportunity to roll them off my tongue Scottish style (“r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ra, r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ri, r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ru…”).

I noticed she was dropping the “u” sound at the end of most of her words. I felt too self-conscious to say anything, but another student noticed later and asked her about it. She explained that was because of her Tokyo dialect, considered to be standard Japanese (at least to people in Tokyo) and we could drop the “u” or keep it as we pleased. At this point I began to wonder if we got Japan’s version of a Southern redneck to teach the language. God forbid one of us should go over there and teach them the proper way to talk. “Don’t sweat the ‘g’ at the end of the words. Proper folk ain’t be likin’ it a’tall. Now repeat after me – ‘I’m fixin’ to have a hankerin’ for some chitlin’s, y’all.’” That could lead to a bad 50’s style drive-in horror show – “Attack of the Japanese Rednecks.”

Class was fun and scary and informative and I couldn’t wait for it to end. My sponge was swimming in a pool of fear and knowledge and hormones and every passing moment presented another chance for me to screw everything up by saying something like “I am a transvestite” or by paying sensei one of my standard complements such as “I think you would look great dead.” Class ended before I totally assified myself, and I scurried to the office to buy the textbook. They were out and didn’t expect any until Tuesday. On the way out I had a brief conversation with sensei (in English) about their availability. She offered to call me when the office got them, but I politely declined. What was I thinking? The little hottie actually offered to call my apartment. Sure, it was intended for business purposes, but I could have gently swayed the conversation into a romantic direction. “Thank you for calling. No, I don’t have the text book just yet. FUCK ME, YOU LUSTY-EYED HOT EDUCATIONAL HONEY BUNNY! OH GOD, I LOVE YOU! Hello? Hell-o-o?” Oh well. Missed opportunities and all that. God doesn’t close a door without bashing us over the head with a brick, or holy words to that effect.

I found my book, returned home, and tried to commit the knowledge to memory before it fled like one of my dates. I wandered about my apartment rattling off various mundane facts about me in Japanese. “Watashi wa Grant desu. Watashi wa Amerikajin desu. Iie, watashi wa nihongonosensei dewa arimasen. Watashi wa nihongonogakusei desu. Feck off.”

I have to finish quickly. No doubt the police have been called and are on their way at this moment (“It sounds like that nut job has a Japanese prisoner in his apartment calling for help.”) I didn’t learn any phrases useful to a tourist (“Prepare for death, little yellow bastards!”) but those will probably crop up next week. So, until I post again, I’ll close by saying “sayonara, mother fuckers.”

Yep. I gots a stranglehold on that thar cultural sensitivity thing.

20 comments:

Valkyrie said...

Try not to let age hold you back. 3X is actually young as far as I'm concerned.

Don't be intimidated by people younger than you are. Or afraid to ask out women who might not be quite your age. (As long as they aren't jailbait, that is.)

My step mom is 15 years older than my dad.

My uncle is 13 years older than my aunt.

My step sister is 18 years younger than her husband.

I guess what I'm trying to say that you are only as old as you feel, and that experience should be more valued than youth.

Liz said...

If she was paying closer attention to you, maybe she likes you. Next times make sure you let her call you. Good luck and smile at her.

Wouldn't worry about the sex stuff unless you start cruising the local emelentary school.

Seven said...

I think you could impress her by asking to see her ID for a birthday check. She will know you are interested and you will know she is of age! Chicks dig it when you concentrate really hard on their age.

You know what...I prefer petitie women for...ehem...recreation....and one day I started twisting myself up about what that might have implication of....then I figured it all out....I like petite women!

sands of time said...

So what if you like them young looking.Sounds like japanese is going to be your thing.

a fish on a bycicle said...

Hi Grant,

Well, on the bright side she won't be able to put up much of a struggle?

And thanks for the advice, I'm sure Sandra will be thrilled...

Grant said...

r - don't tell me I'm only as old as I feel because I feel bad enough already. Also, I was only kidding when I said I didn't care that she's married (she's wearing a wedding band).

liz - can you recommend a good one? j/k - I'm sticking to the high schools. I gots scruples.

rick - I'm not so much into petite women as I was fascinated by her size. I remember thinking "I can't believe that's a fully functioning woman taking up so little space." I can't imagine her giving birth.

pink lady - I like the class thus far. Japanese actually seems easier to learn than English.

fish - she seems to be the stereotypical Japanese woman - tiny, polite, and intelligent. If the stereotype holds, she's also a martial arts expert. If I try to overpower her, the tale will probably sound like a Seinfeldian anecdote. "I snuck up behind her, put her in a headlock, tried to administer the chloroform, yadda yadda yadda, the doctors I'll walk again but they couldn't reattach the penis."

TTD said...

did you at least learn a lil' something??

Just Some Gal said...

I have to admit I giggled many times throughout this post. You're a very entertaining person. I think you are correct on your reply to fish. Sensei may not be so kind to oh so sloppy of american man.

*hillbilly japanese* <~~That made me crack up sooo much.

Great post guy!

~Deb said...

Come on Grant, don't you know that the new thing to do for 'women around 25-35 is to obtain the 8 year old little boy's ass? They want their ass as small as an apple. I'm not sure what happened to that theory, "She got junk in da'trunk!" Or maybe that's for our 'brothers'... But I'm leaning towards the girls that pack on a little meat.

And skeeter bites for boobies? I'd pass on that one. You'll be boinkin' a head on a stick.

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Tai said...

Domo arigato. (Mr. Robato.)

Grant said...

ttd - I learned a lot for one lesson. My sponge was tired, but I'll be ready for the next one Saturday.

blondie - thanks, fellow Southerner.

~deb - actually, I was attracted to her smile, geeky glasses, and apparent intelligence. Her body made me wonder how we could have sex without hurting her (too much). I used to lean toward the extra pounds, but Asian women are beginning to make me appreciate their tiny forms.
And is that Klingon at the end of your comment? :p

tai - do itashimashte.

april said...

Offer her some dumplings. Hee hee. Get it? Dumplings?

I'm such a fucking dork.

Sorry!

Valkyrie said...

I wasn't trying to tell you what to feel. It's just that you seem to have done a lot with your life thus far.

Kira said...

What the hell is up with wanting to have sex with a scrawny, bony chick? You'll start going at it and her bones will lacerate you through her lack of padding and thin skin, and you'll end up bleeding all over the bed.

Hmmm. Although honestly, for you that might be a turn on.

You threw in a feck off! Mmmmm baby!

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

*sniff...sniff* I am SO proud of you...*sniff, sniff*....mosquito bite boobie comment and all...;)

Leesa said...

grant: thanks for such an entertaining story. So you wanted to learn Japanese for the language and now you want mosquito bite boobies. You are growing, and I think she has finished growing, by the way. Unless she is 12.

Grant said...

april - I got yer dumplings right here. Note - kira would understand that one.

kira - jealousy does not become you.

pq - thanks.

leesa - I'm going to assume she's fully grown, but prepare the bail money just in case.

april said...

I understand that one too!! Are you forgetting that I read Kira's blog??

Oh, and bring 'em on, baby!!

krisbtterfly said...

i had the pleasure of happening upon your blog from fish's site- and i must say i was in stitches over your japanese post. although i don't have anything smart to say regarding learning a language i do have my stories (i failed out of russian, german AND spanish at the university but surprisingly made it through sign language with flying colors).

back to the point, your posts are fun to read. i'll look forward to your next one.

~kristie

Anonymous said...

Did you actually make a reference to God in your post?

Fun times in the classroom. I wonder if any of my students see me that way- minus the lack of a body that is? I have the opposite problem- way too much body.

That Girl