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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in jaysafrenic's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
4:33 pm
TOP TEN 'OH NO' INCIDENTS SO FAR
 
10: Walking into my apartment in the first day with my shoes on...
9: Witnessing a racist impression of the Japanese from a Spanish guy who didn't speak Japanese or English but insisted talking to me because I wasn't Japanese...
8: Skidding on my back like a turtle in the rain as I fell off my bike on the way into school... it was a miracle that nobody saw me... 
7: Returning from Tokyo and missing the last train when I had to be in work the next day, then turning up late the next day in three-quarter length trousers and dishevelled hair straight from the station. They sent me home...
6:  While riding the train I was giving a lady my contact details and we arrived at her stop. There was some confusion and it took longer than expected. She tried to make it off the train but the doors closed and she went face-first into the door, paused, then turned and apologised to the two school kids she was stood between... It's hard to look as though you mean "daijoubu?" (are you okay?)  when you say it with a smile... 
5: Breaking two washing machines and a dryer in my apartment building while trying to wash a quilt, which took two people to carry because it was so full of water...
4: Being grabbed over-affectionately on the arm by a strange drunk guy and not being able to do anything because it turned out it was the head of my friend's PTA...
3: Instead of telling people that I'd received some information in Japanese ("mou moraimashita"), I told them rather straightly "mou morashita" which means "I've already shat myself"...
2: Today, I fell off my bike on the way to school and the people who saw me insisted on calling the ambulance. The ambulance men arrived and I showed them my grazed knee in shame...
1: The infamous incident with the guy on the train who spoke to me because I was in possession of a pink pillow (see past entries)...

The crazy thing is that I'm sure there's enough things for a top 50 at least....
Friday, October 20th, 2006
1:51 pm
After Wednesday`s lessons and that whole feeling of frustration (mainly at myself), things have picked up. I decided that instead of crawling into a hole and wishing that I wasn't here anymore (only as regards the school, not Japan) I should face the kids and join in with their football practise after school... It went really well and they were all really nice and taking shots at me while I was in goal. I guess I forgot that they were just still young and treating the whole thing as a joke the other day. It was a shitty joke, but I'm a adult now and a teacher and taking it personally has no value. Also, the racist kid came up to me and quite genuinely apologised for his behaviour. He's not a bad person, just a bad student and there's a world of difference. His racism was his way of playing around in class, which I realise now. I accepted his apology and played a bit of football with him.

And I got talking to one of the third year students and he's perhaps one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was telling me that he wanted to be everyone's friend and that he loved sports and art. He always tried to speak to me in English and was always respectful. Today, he came up to me and gave me a kite that he'd drawn last year in art. Man, there're no words for gestures like that, particularly after a bit of a crap few days.
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
3:32 pm

Forgive me if it seems that I only complain on here... I use general emails to keep people informed of my more merry happenings and here to vent...

Today has been awful... awful with a capital KILL... I've not faced that sort of abuse from anybody in all my life... One class, the legendary 1st year's 2nd class (1 no 2) are the culprits. Half way through the lesson I mistakenly said to myself "this is going well"... Cue Yuuta and Erika the students from hell... They started to act up at the front of the class and I intended to intervene before it got too heated... As I approached my JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) misunderstood my intentions and proceeded to put a seat in between the two FOR ME TO SIT IN... Not knowing enough of the Japanese language to be able to say anything meant that they could hurl abuse at me freely, which the JTE ignored and I took... I tried to make a joke out of it by bear-hugging the one student... BIG MISTAKE... "Hentai!" they cried, which means 'pervert' by the way... That was it: respect for me was gone... At least half the class started to hurl insults at me (bless the other half for remaining silent and a little embarrassed). I had to just sit there and take it. There was even a spot of good old fashioned racism from one of the kids, which brought with it all the fun that that implies. I stood this until the end of the lesson, which overran by no longer than TEN minutes... And now, I want to just hide away in a darkened hole until after 4.15 on Friday... In a few minutes I have to talk with my JTE about future classes and what we can do to improve them. I'm planning on asking her to sell Yuuta and Erika to medical science...



Current Mood: defeated
Thursday, October 5th, 2006
4:25 pm
Okay, so I was washing my hands with a rather large and slippery soap when it suddenly flew - yes FLEW - out of my hands and landed of all places in the toilet, which I had to fish out with my hands. This left me in an interesting situation: the soap and my hands needed cleaning...

What do you do?
Monday, October 2nd, 2006
9:54 am
This story concerns a pink pillow I won at the arcades, which lead to a moment that I really didn't need. I got onto my train home from the main city with the pink pillow in tow. Already I'd bumped into a few kids at my school while holding the infernal thing and I didn't want them to see me on the train so I went to the furthest carriage and sat down in a seemingly safe space. Cue strange guy. This strange guy (about 30 years old) saw the pillow and immediately moved closer to me with an overly friendly look. Jay, completely not in the mood for this but too tired to do anything about it slowly squashed the pillow into his bag and edged away a little. Then the guy started talking to me and it turned out that he had perfect English. PERFECT, meaning that I couldn't throw him off by talking too quickly or with big words like 'tortoise' or 'aquarium'. After about five sentences he gave me his meishi (a business card with all his details on). He then said, and I quote, "I want to become your friend..." Not feeling rude enough to say "no", I said "okay..." with those three little dots in the vain hope that he'd get the hint that I certainly did NOT want to become friends with a guy whose soul purpose for coming up to and talking to me was that I had a pink pillow. He asked for my email address and I dodged the question. But he was sharp enough to ask again. I said that I can't give it to him. He asked why and I said that it was because in England we have a tradition whereby we only give out our information to people if we meet them a second time by chance. We trust fate, you see. If I was American or Australian we'd be having a beer right now, but I'm British, so no. He asked for my address and I said no, because it's a secret...
AND
HE
WENT
NUTS!
He started shouting at me about how unkind I was and how kind he was to give me his business card, because Japanese people never do that. (I have a stack of business cards at home that would completely disagree with him.) This lasted for TEN minutes while I waited to arrive at Oarai. I kept cool though as though everything I'd said was the absolute truth and I even hid my disappointment and horror when he got off at the same train station as me... He continued to shout at me all the way to outside the station where I, still trying to keep cool, shook his hand. He grabbed it and refused to let go while he said and again I quote "I LIKED YOU! I LIKED YOU! BUT NOW... NOW... I HATE YOU!!!" He tried to say some more, but I released his grip, turned and walked away, hearing only the sound of "oh...." followed by beautiful silence. I walked home both outraged and finding the whole situation hilarious, wondering to myself whether I was dreaming.

Current Mood: だるい
Thursday, September 21st, 2006
1:24 pm
The up and down rollercoaster continues, but at least this time I'm a little more used to the ride...

Some kids are really cool, and are always coming up to me and saying hi and speaking English. Then there's a table of boys who all hate me, because I told this one guy (their leader methinks) off in front of the whole class and then ignored him for the rest of the lesson... The repercussions of that will be played for a while I think. Still, most classes are great, if a little mindnumbing. Have developed a theatrical way of reading the texts though, which seems to have worked out with 90 per cent of them, though I did go a tad OTT and scared the girls in one class with my attempt at getting them to bellow out words! This is almost the end of the third day of teaching at the bad school.... got six days left and I'm all sorted... It's not that bad really, just has its moments.

The most annoying thing is how tired I am. The other assistant language teachers (ALTs) in the area also have the same problem. I think it's the diet and having to be super genki (fit, energetic, that sort of thing) all the time. The great thing about the place though is the time you get off, which isn't as much of a two fingers up to Jpan thing as you might think. It's great to go around town and wave at the locals or maybe swim in the sea. With the nearest city being so near, it's great to go there and meet some fellow ALTs and bitch a bit about the whole scene while playng an arcade game or two.

Must get back to my last class of the day now...

I wish you all the best x
Wednesday, September 20th, 2006
11:35 am
Just to let you guys know...

Things are looking up.

Thank you from the very depths for being there.

Jay x x x
Wednesday, September 13th, 2006
11:53 am
Okay, I thought I'd got over that whole 'withdrawal from society' phase, but it seems that it's knocking on the door and refusing to go away...

The most annoying thing is that I feel like the most selfish person on the planet right now, which sucks in that decreasing circles kind of way...

There's nothing that I'd like more right now than to withdraw completely from the world and write and draw my little soul away to nothing...

My Japanese is still crap and for some reason it doesn't feel as though it's in me to study. Every time I speak a word or write one I feel like an absolute idiot, which is something I really worked hard towards NOT doing back in the UK with English...

It's tough having to start again, I guess. England was left with a feeling of "yes, I conquered it in my own little way". The world just seems way bigger now and harder to fill myself with...

The great thing is that creatively I'm flying on a buzz at the moment. My (actual) journal is full to the brim with words and pictures like I've just discovered how to be myself, something which God and Nik knows I struggled with for years...

Withdrawal is tempting, but it's not an option. I can't be selfish because there're so many people's lives at stake other than my own, but in my detached mind at the moment all I can think about is trying to escape, which makes it worse...

Selfishness is a serious disease, but it's hard to pin down where it changes from selfishness to sensibility...

Sometimes the world slips away to the point where it's just a pinprick of colour at the end of a long dark void, and you wonder whether reaching out or falling back is the best option, even though you know the answer...

I've always thought that life's hard but without it we'd be dead, but there's that little slither of a thought that slides around my mind as I walk through this world of wonderful people that creeps towards the edge of a knife and says "why not?"

Don't worry though, I'm not that stupid, just barking in the dark...

This should end on a high and it's easy to think of one...

You are all fucking beautiful.
Friday, September 8th, 2006
1:56 pm

It's so weird being a teacher (assistant teacher at least)...

One minute it's the best job in the world and the next you're being told to die by the kids...

I guess it's all about getting used the routine, but man it's tough so far...

It doesn't help that the people here are mad about sports...

It's so up and down, though. One minute the kids will be laughing with you enthusiastically and the next they'll be trying to stick a broom up your arse, literally (it's called 'kancho', which amusingly means 'enima' and is basically the equivalent of a wedgie, but a little more personal)...

God, it's so weird...

The language barrier does not help at all, but at least my spikey hair seems to be crossing the social boundaries! Even the bad kids are good (in their own evil kancho-ing way): it's just a frustrating fact that I won't be able to 'reach' all of them and get them interested.

I don't know.

I guess I'll have to adopt the recovery position every so often and let time push me forward...

although that would leave me open to being kancho-ed...

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
11:05 am
Is anybody else hallucinating that they're in Japan?

Christ, I miss home...
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
3:37 pm
Have you ever wondered if everybody in the world was asked to describe their perfect partner that someone would describe you?
Thursday, May 18th, 2006
4:46 pm
You watch as your friend disappears into the mist and you feel sad. It's a natural part of life, but you text other friends to see if "we can meet up" to share and shake off the sadness; however, no matter how many times you check your phone, they still don't reply.

So you walk.

You walk through town with a silent melancholy flowing through your veins, as you pass passersby who ignore you, firmly remaining part of their own. You buy some cardboard food to absorb the feeling and then wander and wonder around, until for some reason you happen upon a book shop that you used to frequent regularly, but somehow left behind in snowy memories.

And you enter.

All around you, there are biographies of z-list celebrities choking the shelves. You're half-pleased that these people are able to publish their stories when they're 'only normal'; you're half-disappointed at the tragic lengths they went to to get there. You continue to browse, savouring each sullen step. Then you float to a dank corner, happening upon a selection by your favourite author and finding by chance an anthology that contains a short story that you've never read.

The Ice Man.

In the light of ignorance you read, absorbing the rhythms of words, singing along to its tune inside, adding your own twists and segues, until the final drop ripples the water.

You finish.

Is it you or did the world just change? You realise that for the moment, for whatever reason, you are meant to be on your own, meant to have the silence. It's yours, yours alone, yours to treasure till the time comes for you to naturally part.

So you leave.

And strangely, people don't ignore you anymore. They look at you with a friendly face and whisper under their breath "there's the person who's meant to be on their own". You smile to yourself, warmly with an underlying cool.

You approach a door and hold it open for a stranger who slowly walks through with the sound of "thank you". You go to smile in response, but a shiver pierces your body and for a moment you freeze. The stranger gives you a look of slight.

"Are you okay?" they ask.

"Sorry," you say, steam rising from your mouth as you do so, "I can't talk. I'm meant to be on my own today."

They shake their head and raise a hand. "That's quite all right."

And you think to yourself. Yeah. It is.
Sunday, April 30th, 2006
1:39 pm
Because Nik made me smile...
If you leave comment requesting a quick analysis, then I will respond to you about the following...

1. I'll respond with something random I like about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll name something we should do together.
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me (or just me).
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I'll leave you a quote that is somehow appropriate to you.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your journal so you can do the same for other people.


Current Mood: half fox; half newspaper
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
7:47 pm
In relief, England sighs, while Japan covers its eyes


Christ, what a weird feeling.

I've been studying English rigorously for the past three years-ish and part of the degree is that we'll be able to construct eloquent sentences and pithy phrases, but hear me when I say

Holy, holy fuck...

It doesn't seem real, but it seems right: I'm going to be a teacher in Japan 

Two years' worth of planning, preparation, practise, and other p-words have been crammed into hearing a single laugh of relief by dad when he found out, and I'm not sure exactly what to say, but I'll forge on and see what comes out...

By the way, my dad is such a dad: he said that as soon as he read that I was accepted his first thought was "shall I pretend he hasn't?"

Kudos go to those who've helped to keep me sane. Seriously, I know this sounds like a saccharine oscar speech, but without those guys, I'd be a dead eccentric artist right now.

By the way, Nik I've put your name in my dissertation kudos section, to say thanks for your support, because, let's face it, you're wonderful.

All I need to do to be certain that I'm good for Japan is to be given a clean bill of health by my GP and I'll be on my way at the end of July. The gist of the situation is that Tokyo have said that they want me to be on the programme, but sometimes contractors back out for economic reasons; so, JET'll let me know which contractor wants me in May-ish. The great thing is that if a contractor isn't found this year, I don't have to reapply next year; so, they'll send me then instead.

What a mind-fuck this is.

The strangest thing is that yesterday I was walking along a road on my own and I thought to myself "even if I don't get to Japan, I'm damn lucky to be alive". Sometimes, life's shit, but without it we'd all be dead.

Thank you for doing something important to me: listening.

And now, I'll take my seat


Current Mood: un-fucking-believable
Tuesday, March 7th, 2006
7:39 pm
well, strap me to a cow and jump me over the moon!
After four years of trying, I've managed to get in contact with my old friend Josh. He and I used to go to primary school together and we were inseperable. When high-school began, he left with his family for greener and more sheep-filled pastures to Wales. Me devasted? Yes, completely. So much so that I've felt kind of lost since. To find him again after all these years is wonderful! Obviously circumstances have changed and I'm not expecting it to be like it was back then, but wow is it good to be in touch with him again!

I don't know what else to say, really. I'm just really really pleased!

Current Mood: a smily little fox
Tuesday, January 24th, 2006
4:17 pm
the icon's being used ironically...
There are times in your life when you think to yourself "yes, there's a guardian angel and yes s/he hates me."

After an incredibly enjoyable Japanese lesson, where I confidently thrusted my hand into the air to answer a question only to be shot down miserably when it was immensely wrong, I decided to go to town to treat myself. (By 'treat' myself I mean go to TopShop and spend the voucher that I intended you use on a top that I bought paid for by accident with my own money in a moment of absent-mindedness.) After a rather fruitless half hour, I decided it best to leave. Getting to where I needed to go (here, incidentally, or 'there' as it was) required hurdling a large-ish metal barrier half way across a dual carriageway. Some of you can probably see where this is going...

Now, usually barrier-hopping is no problem; being tall I have the joy of being able to straddle most fence-like objects and use my one leg to wrap around the fencepoles and thus enable the other leg to float elegantly across in one swift movement.

Not today, my friends, not today.

Instead, I was in the straddle position (one leg either side of the fence) and was bringing my foot across (hands in pocket to give the illusion of coolness) and in a moment of lapsed concentration I swung my leg into the top of the fence, connecting ever so inelegantly and harshly with the inside of my foot. Hands in pocket, this sent me head first in a pendulum-like motion forwards and downwards. So, in the middle of this dual carriageway, the drivers were treated to the site of a guy in a relative amount of pain clutching to the barrier like a scared kid on a thin horse. We'll gloss over the pain that my crotch was experiencing at this point. After much straddling, I made it across with a smile on my face (crying inside) and one or two bruised areas of my body.

The whole thing took about two or three seconds, but it enough to knock me sideways for a good few minutes.

There aren't the words some days: just a tall guy, a barrier and a lot of potential for disaster.

Current Mood: hiding behind a newspaper
Tuesday, January 10th, 2006
8:30 pm
Oh my god my throat hurts! I feel as though someone's posted a letter bomb in my mouth and my tonsils opened it, which is not good for my presentation on Thursday, which should have been started by now (the presentation, not Thursday). It's lasts for ten-minutes (the presentation, not Thursday) but I've not started it yet and the sore throat isn't helping much at all. It would be great to go on holiday to somewhere nice and stimulating and fun like the Frasier sitcom, but they've stopped doing them since it finished.

Blackpool should be spayed. A friend and I were talking about it earlier. The only reason why it's called the golden mile is because of the amount of people who urinate along it after some dipsomania-inspired alcohol fest, leaving traces of footprints in vomit. God, I hate that place...

Finally, the 250 kanji-learning malarky is over. Just got to start the next 250...

Fuck.

C'est ca

Current Mood: orangey-fox-like
Friday, January 6th, 2006
12:32 pm
Long time no see
Being terrible at making new year's resolutions, I decided to make my new year's resolution to think of a new year's resolution, thus creating and fulfilling one in one go. Beat that.

In other news, for those of you interested in poetry or poetic prose, here are a few insights into the Japanese (or indeed Chinese) psyche:

'Cloud' is written as 'the meeting of the rain'
'Sleep' is 'safe stillness'
'Eat' is 'goodness inside a person' (no doubt created before the advent of McDonald's)
'Work' is 'moving person'

C'est ca

Current Mood: chilled
Friday, December 16th, 2005
6:00 pm
Right. I'm off for a month-ish. therefore...

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
2:26 pm
Well, my tomato ketchup has a whole near the neck, which I now have to use to get the sauce out. Okay it still works, but it feels as though I'm draining blood from an amputee...

Just before going out to meet my lecturer, it seems that my head thought that balancing a tray full of water on a bowl was a good idea. Result: all of said water spilling over the kitchen counter and somehow managing to divert towards my crotch.

...And yay God looked upon the world and saw that it was good (kind of arrogant, but anyway). Then he scanned his eyes across James exercising while eating an eccles cake and getting stitch. He saw that his work was futile and has since decided to concentrate his efforts on Mars.

It turns out that my flat-mates weren't kind enough to leave me a sweet-tub full of Harribo. Nope. On closer inspection, it seems that they've left a half-eaten tub of Harribo, the sweets of which are my least favourite. Barstards. Absolute barstards. They couldn't have left the seafood platter I had my eye on could they? (It wanted me too, I could tell)

That is all

Current Mood: miffed
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