Thursday, February 16, 2012

When Japanese People Ruminate

In this segment I will deconstruct Japan’s heart, spirit and future.

“But how will he accomplish all that in a single segment?” you ask yourself. Easy. I will scrutinize and affront the hard work of my most diligent students. I mean, what’s the point of teaching at a middle school in Japan, if not to make fun of the kids who try really hard? 13 year olds are inherently stupid, awkward and creepy. But when they attempt to articulate their stupid, awkward creepiness in a foreign language? Mocking them just makes sense.

These are authentic quotes from actual students/Japanese people. Also, in italics, I’ve included the avuncular and highly educational rejoinders I wish I had the courage to say to their faces. But I never do. Because I am a paradigm of professionalism.

Most of these are written responses to classroom assignments. The other ones are just some crazy shit I heard/read once. 

Self-Indulgent E-Mail to Friends and Family - Pt. 2

Note: This is the second e-mail I sent to friends and family after moving here, late July, 2010. When I wrote this I'd been living in Japan for a few months and so naturally believed I knew everything about the country and therefore had the right to dissect it in a caustic and lordly tone. Did it matter that I couldn't comprehend a single complete Japanese sentence? No it did not. Because I am Braun and Braun doesn't need silly things, like language, to assist him with knowledge-ingestion. He just understands. And ridicules. What did language ever teach Braun? The third-person. That's what.
Originally Sent:  11/9/2010, 10:31 AM Japan Standard Time. 
Original Recipients: Same as before; everyone I know. You'd think someone this attention-starved would have started a blog a long time ago.

My second correspondence from Japan:

Hey hey,

I hope everyone's just swell. It was nice to hear back from a lot of y’all after my last e-mail. Funny how coming to Japan reminds me to keep in touch with friends/people I haven’t seen for years.

That wasn’t meant to be as sentimental as it sounded. I swear I’m not lonely...

I won’t even pretend this is going to be short. But I’ll aim for concise.

I wrote my last e-mail right before my job started - while my school was on summer vacation. Well, vacation ended long ago and the past few months have provided enough material - daily oddities and specific episodes - that I figured it was time to update any interested parties. Admittedly, these emails are part journal; I’m not keeping a travel diary and my memory is shit, so I’m hoping to use these as a source later in life, when I’m struggling to recall the texture of raw horse meat. Anyway, this e-mail will predominantly be about work, because that’s pretty much all I do now. “Work.”