Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Mason Kid

Teaching English in Japan has brought me in contact with a few strange folks from time to time. Japanese people who study English on a regular basis seem to be a unique bunch. I got a diverse mix of personalities among my clients, not only at my base school, but also at the other schools under my control. Hell, one of my schools even has a stalker/fan of sorts. Although, there is this one kid who has really gotten my attention.

I refer to this eight year old as `the mason kid.` I am pretty sure that everyone knows who the free masons are. You know, the NWO masters of the universe crowd. Anyway, the Mason kid makes reference to free masons during every damn lesson. The first time he did it I was really surprised. We were doing a picture/word association activity. This kid feels that I am his best friend so he likes to play games with me. Anyway, it was his turn to draw a picture and I was suppose to guess what he was drawing. He proceeds to draw a pyramid with an eye in the apex. He turns to me and says, `This is Masons. Ryan is a Mason. Ryan is great person because Ryan is Mason.` My first reaction was, `What the hell did he just say?!` How does an eight old kid know anything about Masons? Better yet, why is he calling me a Mason? Hiding my shock I told him, `Do not say Mason to people. They will not understand.` He looked at me for a minute as if pondering what I meant. Finally he said, `Okay Ryan. I keep secret.` After that he wanted to do some work book study with me.

I thought his reference to Free Masons would be a one time thing. It was strange for sure but I thought he got the hint. I was dead wrong. The next lesson he again addresses me as,`Mason Ryan.` He does this in front of the office lady and his father. The office lady did not understand what he said. His father gave him a darting glare. Judging his father`s reaction I concluded that he is getting the Mason stuff from his father some how. The lesson went down smoothly but he constantly referred to me as `Mason Ryan.` After the lesson I paid close attention to this father`s hands; as well as the manner in which he shook my hand. Sure enough his father was wearing a Mason ring. He also shook my hand in a traditional Mason manner. It hit me like a ton of bricks: I am teaching a Japanese Mason`s kid to speak English. What hit me harder was the realization that he thinks that I am a Mason just like his dear old dad.

So, every lesson this kid referrers to me as `Mason Ryan` and wants to make sentences using the word Mason as often as possible. One time he even pulled off, `Godzilla is a Tokyo Mason.` At first I just kind of laugh about it, but now it is starting to creep me out. Recently, he has been saying, `Ryan go Tokyo Tower meet Tokyo Mason.` I do not know why he keeps saying such a thing but he seems kind of serious about the odd request. I am half tempted to tell this father about Mason trip his kid is on; but considering that his old man is a Mason I tend to shy away from the topic.I guess I am just going to go with the flow on this one. As long as his father pays for the lessons his kid can talk about Masons all this wants.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homeless Mingration

All last week I have noticed a slight change in the type of passengers on the trains in Tokyo. What I mean, is that I have seen a hell of a lot more homeless bums riding the trains. It is not all the strange for me to see some dirty bum riding the train, while at the same time, grossing everyone out. Well last week I noticed a sudden increase in dirty bums riding the train. For some reason there are a lot more homeless bums riding the Yamanote line between Ikebukuro and Nippori stations. The times I have seen the most of them is between 7:00 am and 1:30 pm. They would not trouble me so much if it was not for the fact that they smell so bad.

Oh man! The bums of the Yamanote line produce a legendary funk which burns the noise hair of all who come in contact with them. It is a really uncomfortable situation for everyone in the car. The shitty thing is they seem to get on the train only when it is packed to the brim. It has been a long time since some of these fucks have taken a decent bath. I should feel sorry for them but considering that there are plenty of public baths in Tokyo there is no excuse for smelling like pure shit.

I could go on and on about the bad smell, but it is the recent increase of bums on the train that has peak my interest. I wonder what is going on? Have the police started a crack down on the homeless? Are they moving around to avoid some recent trouble? Hell, I really don`t have a clue. I have not seen any police fucking with the homeless in a long time. I used to see it a lot when I first arrived in Tokyo. These days, I almost never see that kind of behavior from the police. Maybe it is just that time of year when the homeless move from their winter spot to their summer spot. Anyone have any insight into the recent movements of the homeless?