Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011: A year of Self Discovery in a Nation Brought to It's Knees

Howdy Y'all! it has been a while since I have wrote to all of you. I took over a month off from this blog of mine. I decided that before I scribble down anymore digital rambles, I needed to sort out a few things. I wanted a bit of time to reflect and focus on a few other items of interest. To speak the dirty truth, I actually have been writing my hill billy ass off just not here in this blog. I have been writing a few more articles for You can check out the site by clicking on the link provided. I have also been working on a collection of ten short fiction stories based on the underbelly of social issues in Japan. The stories will fit into the pulp genre of writing. I hope to have them all finished by the end of January; self publish sometime after that. I have also been keeping up with making Youtube vids, but I think I need to rethink the way I am doing those vids. Check out my channel by clicking here.

Although, this blog post is much more than me simply giving an update on my writing. As y'all know 2011 has been one hell of a year for me. For starters, this blog took a much more raw edge compared to years past. I have held very little back this year and choose instead to present a more real and raw experience of my life in Tokyo. What I did not realize when I started to write more raw was that 2011 would be a major year of self discovery for me. After years pushing certain mental weaknesses into the deep dark spaces of my mind, everything found a way to come to the surface in bombastic fashion. I have spend the majority of this year working out a lot of things about myself. Y'all have been witness to some of my struggle by reading this blog. Yet, it is time for me to reflect a bit.

I am damn sure that my mental health came into question after the massive earthquake hit Japan earlier this year. I, along with most humans living on this island, have never experienced something on the same magnitude as what has happened in Japan this year. After a massive earthquake, deadly tsunami and multi nuclear power core meltdowns a lot of gaijin bailed on Japan. I can really understand why so many people left; but I stayed because my life is in Japan. Also, when you think about it the Japanese don't have the option to leave Japan. So, it has been interesting to stay in Japan with people who have no option but to stay. Although, staying here, and dealing with the stress of the situation, caused something to snap some place deep in my mind. I think it took about two months after the quake for me to start having cracks in the armor. It started with anger. I found myself really fucking pissed off almost everyday. It got to the point in which I could not go one day without getting angry as a bull.

I guess it came from the cold blooded nature of a lot of people I interacted with after the quake. People I had known for years for saying some of the most asshole cold blooded shit I had ever heard. I remember one thing which was really over the top. I asked a co-worker of mine at the time if he thought it was wrong that our company was firing and/or threatening to fire people for leaving Japan for a week or two after the quake. His answer was the most heartless thing I had never heard. He said, 'They signed a deal to work. They are not following policy by suddenly taking time off work so they deserve to be fired. Fuck them!' It took everything inside of me not to slap the taste out of his mouth. I dealt with a lot of assholes during the first few weeks after the quake. People were being so fucked up, more than usual in Tokyo, that it was maddening to say the least. The news reports I was writing at the time also brought me a fair share of shit from people I never expected. I had one 'trusted friend' who attacked me for reporting the the nuclear cores at Fukushima has melted down. He pretty much told me that I was a liar and stupid for reporting such a thing. Oh yeah, that was a wonderful thing to hear from a friend. It seemed that every heartless asshole in Tokyo was floating though my life at that time. It was as if I had became a magnet for fucked up folks. People were operating way over their stress level and viewed me as a rock solid hill billy you could handle anything thrown at him. Well, the truth is that I also have a limit for how much stress and bullshit I can handle before I break.

The anger wore off after a lot of insane attempts to purge it from myself. I was left with P.T.S. and a slew of other things which had boiled to the surface.  In order to deal with the massive conflict my mind split a bit. Let me tell y'all that I was told by a doctor years ago that was bi-polar. I was even on meds for it when I was younger. Although, I was under the impression that had it under control. This summer I was proven wrong because my Bi-polar reared it's ugly head at exactly the wrong time in my life. Suffering from Bi-polar can really fucking suck at times. For the entire summer of 2011 I was caught in what is known as cycling. People who are bi-polar, simply put, have two extreme sides to their personality. It is the same person but with two very distinct emotional view points. Bi-ploar is very different from split personality. People who suffer from split personality have to very distinct personalities which they cannot control on their own. With that said, cycling is a state in which a bi-polar person switches from one polar extreme to the other at random. It is really painful mentally. When I am cycling, sleep is very hard to come by and I have trouble understanding other folks perspectives. The only positive to it is that I become highly creative and my mind operates really fast. So, you can image what four months of cycling must be like.

I did a lot of crazy shit during the summer of 2011 in Tokyo, Japan. A lot of it I did not mention on this blog because I did not really understand why I was doing those things. I mean damn, I got into bar fights, heated arguments, drank like a fish, slept on the streets several times and spent a lot of my time diving head first into the dark parts of Tokyo. I was totally out of control. Yet, the entire time I was trying to control it all. I had so many conversations with myself in which I would talk things out. It scared me a bit because I was having full conversations with myself on a regular basis. A lot of twisted sick ideas went though my head so I had to talk myself out of a lot of insane shit. It was not until Aug. that I finally sought out professional help. It has really help going to these sessions. I talk with a professional therapist, who speaks English, about once every two weeks. This person knows a lot about the human mind that I don't so I have been able to work out a lot of things.

The thing that I have learned that has really helped is that I must accept both sides of my bi-polar personality. A bi-polar personality will compete with itself. The mind will try to find a constant which causes conflict with a bi-polar personality. So, when I start cycling the best thing to do is to accept both emotional reactions and let my own logic sort out which response is natural and which one is a result of bi-polar. I know that sounds a bit nuts but it actually works for me. I can be a heavenly angel or a hard ass demon at a moments notice so I must give my mind time to sort out which emotion I am naturally feeling. It sounds really complex and requires a lot of concentration, but I have gotten it down to the point in which is only takes a few minutes to sort out. When people see me a bit quit or appearing to be a little uncomfortable is it because I am cycling and need a few minutes to sort it out. I think there are a lot of people around me these days who understand that and tend to let me be. It is a nice change of pace these days. When I am in a social setting with people who have known me for a while, they usually let me choose how pro active I wish to be. If I just wanna hang out and not say much, more people are willing to let me do so.

With all of that, I also realized that I needed to get the fuck away from Japan for a bit. Truth be told, as much I have come to love this island nation, there is a unforgiving attitude taken towards mental health in Japan. I was lucky to find a shrink who would see me; and speak fluent English. So, I did get the fuck out of Japan for a bit. I hauled my ass to Vietnam for a little while. I am aware of the clear irony of an American libertarian living in Tokyo going to Vietnam for a little holiday. I laughed about it myself over several bottles of wine in Ho Chi Mein with my travel partner. Yet, spending some time in Ho Chi Mein was damn good for me. Shockingly enough, Ho Chi Mein is a rather liberal city for a communist nation. In Tokyo, I have to really search sometimes to find a true open liberal(in the libertarian sense of the term) environment. In Ho Chi Mein I was able to walk down the street without people staring at me. Some people would even strike up a conversation with me and be generally friendly. I spent a lot of time getting myself back on track. Y'all can see the picture I included in this post; right? Well, that is me well balanced and thinking clearly. There was no nutty shit inside of my head. I was relaxed and in control.

The experienced allowed me to come to a new way of thinking. Chris from Confessions of a bad boy in Japan first brought this to my attention and I feel it makes perfect sense; 'I am not living in their world; they are living in mine.' Such a mind set finally hit me one night in Ho Chi Mein. I was in a five star hotel drinking a fine bottle of wine. I went out on to the balcony to enjoy the wonderfully warm night air. I saw all the chaos on the street. The road was a mess of chaotic coming and going of cars, trucks and motorbikes. I thought to myself; 'Look at all of those damn people. They are fucking off the traffic rules and driving the way which best matches the situation. They are pretty much interacting with other drivers on their own terms. For them, everyone is living in their world.' So, why not deal with everyone on my own terms? Japan is a nation which can break even the strongest person. The pressure to be a bottom feeding zombie is so great here that demanding others deal with you on your terms can be a very painful experience. Although, I don't have to play ball with any sorry ass social game. I love Japan, but I often find myself judging the social structure as really fucking childish. The whole idea that no one is allowed to stand out or be unique leads to a lot of childish behavior and jealously. I have seen a lot of Japanese freak the fuck out because someone had success doing something a little different. A lot of foreigners do the same shit. I don't have to play that shit with anyone. In fact, I have learned to laugh my ass off at such people. Yeah, it makes some people really angry when I laugh in their face but they had it coming.

Anyway, 2011 has been one hell of a year. I have been though a bit of hell and I am stronger for it. I am not out of the wood work just yet but I am doing a whole lot better. 2012 looks bright.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tokyo Ghost:Reboot V2.0 Satanis OS

Before I sat down to write this post I had to really think about how I will express my state of mind. Yeah, I am suffering a mental breakdown. I can be honest and admit that fact. Some people have reached out and offered me support. One person, a guy I have known for years, actually sat down and had noodles and coffee with me recently. He let me talk about a lot of things and gave some advice. He had experienced the same thing I can going though so he could relate to the pain I am experiencing. He knows who is he and I am deeply thankful for this support. I also ended up calling an emergency outreach outline which provide help in English. There has been a massive outpouring of support from the internet. People have come out of the wood work to offer words of support and love. I am thankful to every person who has taken the time to give a damn about me. With that said, the long process of the total reboot is now under way.

I now understand I have a dark nature which I must admit to fully. For too long I have refused to admit to myself that there is a darkness which lives in me. Everyone has a certain amount of darkness in them but with me it is a little different. My darkness is like an alter-ego of sorts. It is kind of like a `super` version of myself which has been there for a long time. I think it started when I was a kid. I grew up very rough and my father was a hard drinking violent man who taught me to be tough as nails and fight for my very life. I still remember how he used to pick fist fights with me in order to `toughen me up.` I think it was that `kill or be killed attitude` which was the spark of my darkness. If it was not for my mother`s grace I would most likely be dead by now. That is the past; this is now.

Now I am a grown man living in Tokyo Japan. So far, I have lived my life with a rawness which would break most people...and yes I have finally broke. I have let this odd nature of mine become too much for my mind to handle. For years it lay hidden with only a select group of people able to clearly see that I had a major problem. All the stresses of living, not only in a foreign land, but also in a huge metro area has finally brought out the issues with my mental state to the surface. Almost out of no where my behavior became extreme and a bit dangerous. Even now I am struggling to get a handle on everything. Yet, I have established some ground rules.

I don`t like bars anymore. Yeah, I said it. Fuck all that boozing and general bullshit! It is actually not all the fun. Most people are drinking for the wrong reasons. Most people are out there to get drunk, laid or to pick a fight. All three of those things are not really a big interest in my life. Drinking does not help anything. If I want to have sex I don`t have to go very far to get it. Nothing good comes from fighting. So, what is the point of going to a bar? It really does not offer me much.

Most people are not worth my time and effort. They don`t care about me. I would rather focus on people who do care about me and people who I care and love than run around with a gang of sorry fucks who will not stand by me. I know a lot of people who always want to go out drinking with me but they never really spend any time with me. They don`t know me at all. Why am I giving these people any of my valuable time and energy? I really don`t need a lot of people in my life. Most people are just going to give me stress and use me. Fuck most people; seriously!

Choosing my battles. Yeah, this is a big one. Life is full of battles. Most of the drama is not worth my time. Of course I could spend my life going at it with every little shithead who makes my life harder than it should be but it is just not worth it. I prefer peace and love not war and hate. I am learning to accept that some people will cause static for me no matter what I do. I need to brush off people`s shit and move on. My happiness is too important to me to be bothered with constant drama.

Living life for myself. This is something I have not really done for many years. I did not realize it but I have been trying to make the world happy. What I have gotten in return is a massive amount of negative energy and abuse. It is sad to say but most people will use me if I try to please them. My life is about me and only me. I don`t have to make anyone happy if I choose not to do so. I deserve to be happy as well. My personal happiness and peace of mind should be number one. If someone cannot understand that then fuck their sorry ass!

So yeah, the new improved me will be a bit more satanic. I must be a bit more self-centered than I have never been before. Those who believe in me and show me true kindness and love will get the same return to them 200 percent. Everyone else can fuck off! That is the way it has to be in order for me to not go crazy. I have a darkness in me and I have to learn to live with it. It could actually be my advantage if I can learn to control the darker parts of my personality. In order for me to control it there must be some ground rules. I am having a mental breakdown because I was unable to accept who I am. Love or hate me; I will be me. Negative energy is not good for me. It only feeds the darkness inside of me. I think I can manage the natural levels of darkness in my personality as long as it is not fueled by all the shit which tears me down. I want to take in positive energy as much as I can. It feels better and it is good for me overall.

It will take time for me to fully repair my mind but at least now I have some ground rules. There are things which will no longer be acceptable for me anymore. If anyone tries to put negative energy in me, use and abuse me or pushes me to do things I am not okay with then they need to go far far away.

Monday, October 24, 2011

You Goofy Kids Will Speak English

*Next post will be an update about my on going mental issues. I want to write about something which gives me great joy this time. 

Teaching kids is a measure of what makes or breaks a person`s desire to teach. Unlike adults a kid don`t give a fuck. A kid will pretty much be themselves all the time. They are sure to be selfish, rude and self absorbed much more often then a fully mature adult. Yet, their minds are beautiful and you, the teacher, have the unique ability to be one of the biggest influences in their life. So, stop being a lazy prick when it comes to teaching kids!

There are some damn good teachers out there teaching kids; Chris who writes the Confessions of a Badboy in Japan blog is one of them. Sadly, most of the teachers I know hate teaching kids. They talk so much shit when kids are on their schedule for the day. It only slightly pisses me off because I know just how much job satisfaction and general fun they are missing out on. When kids are on my schedule I know my day will be pretty damn good. Most little ones look up to a teacher. You are their role model and giver of something they cannot get anywhere else; the English language. You would be surprised how many kids look forward all week to their English lesson. It is a really big deal for them. You are that teacher who speaks that funny language which is fun to speak. With all of that said, there is still the job of attempting to teach them.

Most kids have very little focus. When a kid does not want to chill out for a few minutes and learn the base material for the lesson it can make you almost want to walk out of the classroom. I always keep in mind that I am in control of the class. Some kids tend to think that THEY are the boss but that ends when they take my lessons. We have a lot of fun in class but it must always be understood that I am the boss. We get out of our seats and put English into action in every lesson but only when it is time to do so. If I get one who thinks that he/she is going to climb on shit, sit on the table or be a general ass then it is time to learn who is the boss. Remember they are kids so it does not take any harsh methods to get them under control. There are a few basic things I do to remind them that it is MY class.

First, I always try to show them respect. I say, `Hiro! It is book time now. Games come later. It is dangerous to climb on things. Sit down!` I will try that a few times until it become clear the student has no interest in listening to me. The next thing I usually do is pull the old `have it your way buddy.` I simply start the lesson and leave them in the dust. If they don`t want to do what I say then they will do nothing. Usually when they see that the lesson has started and they did not get their invitation, they will sit down and chill out long enough for me to get the ball rolling. Although, sometimes it is simply not enough. As a final measure I will gently pick them up and place them in their seat and proclaim, `Hiro! You sit here. No seat; no game later.` That almost always does the trick. The game is what they always look forward to because they get to have fun with me and use the language we studied. Believe it or not but most kids, especially the 4-6 year age range, like the teacher. They want your attention because they think you are the coolest adult they know. Remember that in Japan you look act and speak nothing like their parents. In my experience they usually misbehave because, in their minds, you will think they are cool like you. They are NOT cool like me and never will be because they are kids and I am a fully grown adult. Their bullshit is not cool in my world.

There is of course that one kid who wants to be a little asshole to you and every student in the class. This type of kid is usually between the age of 5-12 and will rebel against everything because their parents are too fucked up to teach them any manners. In those situations it is time to get real. For example, from time to time I run across the little boy who likes to hit girls. That is a bad habit which could develop into something far worse when they get older. If it was my school their little butt would be out the door. Sadly, I don`t have my own school. I work for a greedy company which refuses to turn away any student as long as the parents pay in cash for lessons every month. So, I have to reenforce basic social morals on the spot. I stop the hitting and say, `Hit me big man!` with a strong enough look on my face to show them this is serious and unacceptable. They stop hitting girls pretty quickly. The other type of little bad ass I usually run across is the one who likes to throw random shit and say profane words in Japanese. In that case I have to prepare the class ahead of time so they there is almost nothing to throw. If I use balls turning the lesson, I keep those balls close to me and out of reach. When they use profane Japanese words I just point at him/her and repeat what they just said. The shock of hearing me say a profane Japanese word, which they just said themselves, is enough to get them to stop.

But getting the little ones focused is only one small part of a good kids teacher`s method. The most important thing is actually teaching them to speak the English language.
 (I am not worried about revealing one of many lesson structures I use because over time all lesson structures change)
I usually do it like this:

1)Happy Hello(students must try to tell me their feeling)
2)Homework check(If there is homework to review)
3) Simon says with the textbook(each student must say either book up,book down,book under the table, book on top of the table. After each command everyone must do what was said)
4)Open book and drill target vocab. and sentences
5) Muilti-Media (usually a CD with listen and repeat activity but anything which reenforces the target language i.e. internet, slide show ect).
6) One practice conversation with each other(among things it helps them to understand the difference between a question and a statement.)
7) Short mini-quiz(any type of quiz style which challenges them to listen to the language and choose the correct answer.)
Game time(any interactive game which involves using the target language for the game to move forward).
8) Homework reminder and Happy Good Bye

This lesson structure is only a base. A kind of guideline I use when working out a way to give the little ones the best I got. This is not the only lesson structure I use when teaching kids. I have 10 different base lesson structures I use for kids. Depending on age and ability. There is no cookie cutter method for teaching kids. It frustrates the living shit out of me when these damn English education companies force teachers to follow a fucking cookie cutter lesson method which quickly becomes stale and totally useless. A better way to do things is to train the teachers on a basic lesson structure and let them experiment from that point. The teachers who give a damn will end up with something totally new and unique over time. The lazy bastards will keep doing the same shit over and over again.  As for me, I am told to do cookie cutter lessons but I just cannot bring myself to do it. The little ones deserve better than that. Most of the kids I teach do in fact get better. I can see for myself that their English ability improves. That is good enough for me to realize that I am doing something right.   

Saturday, October 22, 2011

System Error: Shut Down Advised

Okay. Yeah, things are been crazy recently. I am not talking about the good kind of crazy either. Something has finally boiled to the surface after a long time of simmering. Something inside of me has exploded. I cannot say that I did not see it coming. In fact, I knew it would happen one day. For years I have known that one day I would crack up. I am struggling to understand exactly what do. Mental health is not something dealt with very well in Japan. From what I have noticed it is consider a weakness rather than a serious problem which needs attention. No wonder there are so many crazy ass people in Tokyo. There is just not a lot of help for people here. So what do I do?

Over the last few days my behavior has become beyond extreme. It is like there is another person living inside of me. It just kind of takes me over with little notice. I am not a doctor or an expert about this kind of stuff but I do know how my mind is reacting. I can feel something happen with me. It kind of like my mind is split a bit. Suddenly, I have these two every extreme side to me. One side is very friendly, warm, loving and forgiving. The other side is cold, brutal, aggressive and prone to random acts of hate. It started showing itself about eight months ago but my mind was still trying to fight it off. It was like when I computer get a virus. At first the computer attempts to contain it to prevent any major damage until the user finds a way to kill it. That is exactly what my mind has been doing. Although, the user, in this case me, did not deal with the problem. So maybe my mind has logically decided to split in order to maintain myself. Like I said, I am not a doctor but this is what my head feels like currently.

I kind of understand what triggers it. Anytime I feel fear, doubt, confusion, or threatened this other side of me takes over. I become angry and focused like a tiger in the wild. I say things which should never be said. I do things which might get me killed. In general, I become a totally different person. It is not always extreme. It could be something as simple as saying something brutal to someone who makes me feel threatened. For example, when I am crushed on the train words like asshole and `you fuckers` fly out of my mouth. I know the situation cannot be helped but I give static all the same. Other times it can be much more extreme. As another example, I recently ended up getting into a fight at a bar. There was this really drunk women at the bar and she kept hating on me the entire evening. Just being disrespectful and not nice at all. When she started attacking my Americanism that is when I snapped. We got into a heated argument about America. Her boyfriend asked me to leave and that is when I took a swing at him. This guy was twice my size and could have easily killed me. Instead, he gently took a hold of and `dude get the hell out of here.` I think he saved my life. Yeah, I am avoiding bars for a good long time.

I am unable to go with the flow anymore. It is like my mind is at war with it self. Communication is becoming difficult for me. Talking to people who are gentle to me or while I am teaching is no problem. Actually, I think my English lessons have been a lot better recently. It is like I put a lot of energy into teaching as a way to clear my head. It feels better than ever to see the smiles and efforts of the students. They give me joy.

I have got to work this shit out soon. I cannot be sure I am right about everything I have written here because I am not trained to fully understand the human mind. I am sure that there must be a way to get this under control. Actually, I must get this problem under control. If I can find a way to manage these outbreaks to the point in which they don`t happen so often then I should be okay. I wanted to share this with yall because I don`t have a lot of people to talk to about this.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I`m Making Monsters for My Friends

It starts as soon as I wake up. The clock hammers my ears with the painful reminder that I must deal with yet another day of fighting off monsters created by the corp. machine of Japan. I look at the choices of suits hanging from the bedroon sliding door. Those damn suits...those fucking weapons of mass murder which kill part of me daily. They call me with the same death blow chants; `Hi bitch. Remember me? Yeah, come over here and offer up your body to the gods of greed and social murder.` My body moves but my mind refuses to play ball. I need chemicals in order to do this again. I fill my body with coffee and Lucky Strikes. No time for food; no time for you!

After a quick shit, shower and shave out the door I go. Another day of having a little Japanese dick rammed into my asshole for the benefit of some old fucker who lives on some remote tropical island. I bleed and he breeds. With each part that dies he, and his stripe, get fat from my blood sweat and tears. My madness is his pleaure. All of this and I have not even got on my first train yet.

At my home station I wait for the daily death ride to start. There are no smiles or the gentle warmth of the human experience. Only cold blank stares and hatred of the masses are to be found at the hangman`s waiting room. As the train arrives a  massive fight for a seat goes down. I get pushed punched and rib knocked as my fellow rogues attempt to stomp me into dust. I survive...this pisses everyone off. With each train I jump on, not into, the battle become more intense. They are out to get me I tell you! My death would provide entertainment for the masses of asses who long ago were beat into the slime of the earth. I am shit...but they are the slime crusted dicks and bitches who make our city the dark twisted place it is today. They would kill me if they thought they would get away with it. If they thought killing me would benefit them, I would surely be a dead man by sundown. Yet, somehow I make it to the school of no choice for the day.

I enter the so-called school and attain the title of exploited gaijin whore. Never am I considered a `real teacher.` At best, I can hope to be considered the gaijin with a brain. Real teachers must be Japanese and work in the systemtic shit hole known as the Japanese public school system. As long as I am everyone`s favorite monkey who makes students giggle all is well. Fuck that I say...I am actually going to attempt to teach something. Of course, the harder I try the more of an asshole I am in the eyes of elite fucks who have a golden Japanese dick in their ass. These gaijin pricks who long ago sold out consider me to be the `Black Sheep` in the company. Black Sheep I may be but sell out...EVER!

My clear resistence to the machine which produces brain dead shitheads does not pervent them from putting the weight of the world on my shoulders. Oh yeah! I am expected to save the company`s ass by using my magic to make a full house of students show up everyday. If my gaijin magic fails then I am a worthless pile of Korean dog shit. It is believed that gaijin have some magic power which can force students to show up and pay money. If that does not happen then clearly I am not using my magic and I am selfish. Come on gaijin! Use your magic and make us money. Don`t be selfish! We know you have magic powers. Yeah, fuck you too! In fact, fuck all of yall!

Yet, I do give credit where credit is due. `Hard Times` has been brought from the pages to real life. Damned if you do and damned if you don`t.

Yes...I`m making monsters for my friends.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Actually You`re Boring

Usually it is the same thing every time. The same lame ass garbage regurgitated to me as if I started teaching last week. No new ideas or `real` shop talk ever happens. Instead, I am watched all day as if I am guilty of some twisted crime. I cannot focus my mind because there is a little man holding a small title with a massive ego up in my shit all day. They tend to follow me around like some lost puppy. They psychically put their nose in my business. I am sitting at a table going over a few mental notes in my head while some jackass leans over and ask random questions meant to confuse me. This boot licking sold-out Nazi has the idea in his head that since I am a front line teacher there must be something very fucked up about the way I work. He only needs to smoke me out and he will find that I am deeply fucked up and a shit teacher. At least, that is how folks of his stripe think. Yes, I am talking about mangers in the English teaching biz.

Truth be known, most foreign managers are nothing more than a troll for the Japanese managers who actually run shit. For some reason it is standard thinking in my biz that gaijin always listen to other gaijin. A lot of the times when you go directly to the J-managers and tell them whats up, they write you off, make a decision, and have some boring ass pillow bitter threaten you until you agree with the company. Mr. Pillow Bitter is usually, but not always, some lame prick who has the backbone of Judas. This person will do several things to force you to go with the company agenda: glaring stares, outright threats,lies, dismissive attitude, correct everything you say even if you are right, twist every word you say into a negative statement against the company and their favorite tactic of writing bad reviews of you until you give in. Sound familiar?

In their own minds they are god`s gift to Japan and English teaching. They are a `special` gaijin because the Japanese corp. world has chosen them to oppress, threaten and sell out their fellow foreign workers. In their mind that makes them slightly bit better than all the other foreigners in Japan. They spend their days in a false sense of perfection due to the Japanese managers(you know, the ones who actually run shit) fill their heads with how `professional` they are and what a `great` teacher they are. They quickly become addicted to the attention and are willing to do almost anything to maintain their `special` gaijin status. All other foreign teachers are considered a threat and must be sold-out and back stabbed at the first chance. For Example, if some teacher gets more students then every effort must be made to make that teacher look made. Remember! No one can be better than the `special` gaijin.

Call me crazy?! What I just described is so normal in Japan. At the end of the day is really gets on my nerves. I don`t understand this cutthroat shit that gets in the heads of most foreign managers in Japan. It must be some kind of fucked up complex in their heads. Gaijin managers act so much like the damn police that I am willing to bet that both are suffering from the same fucking problem in their heads. Come to think of it, out of all the gaijin managers I have dealt with only one actually had a fucking personality. I am serious about this. You know how police are so damn uptight and lame that offering them a ham sandwich upsets them? Well, that is the same crap you will get out of most gaijin managers. EVERYTHING is an issue for them. You WILL do something to piss them off. Once you have pissed them off you can sit back and watch them contradict everything which comes out of their mouth. Usually, I just sit back and listen. The hard part is not busting out in schoolgirl giggles while I listen to someone try to not look like a horse`s ass.

I wonder if they actually take time to stop and think about what they are doing? If any of these jokers would get real with me they would discover that I am not their fucking enemy. I actually like talking about teaching; but only with teachers who drop their ego. They would also discover that most of the things which they are told to talk shit about actually brothers me a little as well. If they could cut the bullshit for just a few minutes they would learn that we have almost the same struggle daily at work. Yet, they lack the ability to stop puking out massive bullshit to anyone coming in contact with them. Well, they can keep their lame `special` status. I will always be the better man.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tako Gaijin WTF!

Howdy yall! I know, it has been a while since my last post. I have been busy doing other things. My life moves pretty fast at times. So fast in fact that it can be hard sometimes to sit down and write it all down. Fuck it! The Ghost has returned to writing. Actually, I have still being doing something creative. I have been making Youtube videos recently. It is easy to do and has been a hell of a lot of fun for me. I find the creative process of making videos to be damn interesting. Yall can check it out by clicking here.

So, the title of this post relates to some vile shit which has been going on in my hood for a while. Starting around spring of this year one of my neighbors decided he wanted to be a racist bastard. Over the past months I have been subject to his almost daily verbal insults and general bullshit. I have tried my best to not go ape shit crazy on this mother fucker. Last night I finally had enough.

I was coming from Paul`s bar, Vega wine bar, and sure enough that racist fuck across the street started with his shit. He puked out some hate from his mouth and I simple went off. Maybe it was the wine which inspired me but something snapped from within my being. I started shouting every profane word I knew in English and Japanese. I was damn close to breaking down that assholes door and kicking the shit out of him. Lucky for me I have a good support group of loving and caring people in my life. My buddy Akio was hanging at my house and he came outside to chill me the fuck out. My gal stuck her head out the window with a look of shock and fear on her face. Yeah, the situation was pretty fucked up.

Pretty quickly a whole gang of cops were crawling around in the hood. It has been a long time since that many pig cops had been in the hood at one time. I think the total number of cops was 12. Yeah, 12 fucking cops just to handle one pissed off foreigner! Crazy shit goes down in my hood all the time and they never send out 12 cops. I guess hearing angry English around midnight gets their attention more than normal.

The cops had Akio and me at the far end of the street while another gang of cops had my gal and that racist asshole on the street in front my house. Akio was more angry than me. He was giving those cops pure shit in Japanese. He went on a epic rant about how fucked up and lazy the local police patrol is. We must have dealt with those cops for over an hour. After all the shit talk the local patrol refuse to anything but tell me to `watch myself.` That was not going to be good enough for us at all.

We spend the rest of the night wondering around the hood getting drunk. We needed to purge ourselves of the negative energy before we took things to the next level. We yes...we took things to the next level.

After we slept off our massive hang over, we all decided to attempt to get justice though official channels. I really hate dealing with officials of any part of the system. I would prefer to just write off and avoid the system as much as I can. Although, dealing with street punks and dealing with racist neighbors are two totally different things. Considering that I not a citizen, and this is not something I can deal with on my own, off to the police station I went.

When the three of us(gal, Akio and me) arrived at Kita-Ayase police station no one wanted to deal with us. The police reacted to our request to file a complaint as if we were crazy. They all looked like a gang of deer in head lights. I am sure that it is not often that someone rolls up into the station demanding to file a complaint. It took a bit to show them that we were serious. They sent us to the third floor and we waited for about 20 minutes while the cops decided what they were going to do. Akio started knocking on doors until someone met with us. He disturbed three meetings and one shake down in order to get the cops attention. Akio really knows how to fuck with police. He might even be more anti-authority than me. Anyway...

Finally this older cop leads us into a room. He looked to be a detective of some sort. He was bald, wore a suit and had a slight twitch in his left eye. As soon as he sat down with us we started laying into him. We came at him with rapid fire questions and demands for over an hour and a half. He struggled to keep up with us. He did a lot of head nodding and note taking. After a while is actually started talking about what he was going to do. To my surprise, he claimed that he was going to visit my neighbor in the morning and tell him to chill the fuck out.

I have no idea how this will work out. In fact, I feel just a little sorry for that asshole across the street. I don`t want to see anymore have a hard time, even if they give me one daily. The bastard is still human after all. The thing is this shit needs to end. It puts unneeded stress on me. The natural stress of living in a big city is enough to deal with already; I don`t need this stupid shit from a small minded person. I am sure my neighbors are now officially scare shit less of me. That sucks but there are worse things in life then having your neighbors not like you. Besides, life is too short to worry about people who have made no effort to know me. I just want all of this crap to be over.

*If you want to watch my youtube video about this just click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rumble In The Hood

There are times when you really have to throw off the chains of society and simply do the right thing. You should know by now that one of the main goals of any society is to control the population, for the purpose of, allowing the slime of the earth to get away with clearly oppressive and abusive actions. Few people will do anything about this sad fact because, in the back of their minds, they also want to do the exact same things. It is a vicious cycle.

I am here to say that: This shit is going to way or the other.

I live in a part of Tokyo that the city has long given up on. Adachi-ku is not the bright happy image of Tokyo plastered on travel blogs, mass media and exported to the west. Yeah, Adachi-ku is a bad part of town. A lot of folks will say that Shinjuku is so `hard core.` There is money in Shinjuku. Also the central government of Tokyo and of the entire nation is in Shinjuku. It is yet another image the rulers of Tokyo like to promote. The Yakuza make money from the image of Shinjuku and the government saves face. The J-gov. can always say, `We are cracking down on the crime center!` when ever they needs votes. The places in Tokyo which really are in need of change get swept under the rug; Adachi-ku is one of those places.

So, after living in Adachi for several years I have come to realize that no one is going to even try to help these people. They have shitty education, very low economic growth, low housing standards and a police force which would rather arrest these people than actually help them. Most of the people living here are either blue collar or working under the table. The youth have no hope of escaping the shit which surrounds them,  It is going to take one ass whooping at a time to wake some folks up.

One ass whooping at a time...sounds like a good idea. It all started in early July 2011.

It was a hot day in Tokyo. So hot that the paint was peeling off the walls. Not even my fucked up neighbor across the street had the energy to shout out some cold blooded racist comments at me. Most folks were held up in their coffin sized apartments attempting to beat the heat with air conditioning raging full blast. The little side streets were mostly dead silent. Suddenly the artificial peace was broken by sounds of a fight. I stepped onto the balcony and was greeted by a good old fashion shake down. Three young thug looking guys were putting the squeeze on some scared skinny J-kid. They were smacking him around and trying to take whatever they could from him.

My blood begin to boil. Something snapped inside of me. I decided to do something.

I went down on the street and started some shit with those assholes. They saw me coming and really did not know what to do. I am sure they thought that I was just passing by. I grabbed one of them and pushed him to the ground. The other two froze like deer in headlights. I simply said,`get the fuck out of here` in English. They understood well enough and took off like scared rats.The skinny J-kid just stared at me like I was the second coming of Jesus fucking Christ. I brushed him off, got him a coca-cola and walked him to his shit apartment. He told his mother what happened. She is a single mother and damn near offered me sex as a thank you. I shrugged off her polite advances. All I wanted was that J-kid not to be fucked with.

Yall would think that those damn fuckers would have learned their lesson; but sadly they didn`t.

The next day all was well in the hood until....

I was rolling around the hood making my rounds. I try to do that about once a week. You know, just checking with all the local businesses that are cool with me and saying hello to the folks who are cool in general. When I walked out of the local tobacco shop I spotted those little bastards from the day before. They had the same vicious smiles slapped on their faces. Although I was hungry as a starved hound, I decided to keep my eye on those little shits. I found me a spot at the local McDonald`s with a cup of cheap ass coffee. I could see my little friends across the street near Gotanno station. As expected, it did not take long for them start some shit. A high school gal turned down to side street beside the station. They went right for her.
Those little bastards starting following her like rats jumping on a piece of stale cheese. I knew some shit was about to go down. I also knew that no Japanese would do anything about it.

I was the only person who was willing to do anything.

I dumped the rest of my coffee down my stomach and prepared to get raw. 

I left the McDonald`s and stated to crawl toward the action. I wanted to go for a surprise attack so I was careful to avoid them seeing me. By the time I was in range, they had her cornered and were putting their hands on her.. As I come up from behind them, the gal noticed me. She gave me a look that screamed, `Please help me.` Something boiled up from deep inside of me. I smacked one of them in the back of the head. He turns around and gets in my face. The look of shock he expressed realizing it was me, again, was a pure Kodak moment. He backed off into the protection of his thugish friends. I said to them in straight English, `Get the fuck out of here assholes!` They stared at me with a ghoulish passionate hate. At that point I again spoke in straight English, `Go on. Get the fuck out of here.` They slowly walked away giving me a hard ass thugish stare down. I just smiled and said, `Baka!`

The poor gal was in tears. She had rolled herself into a ball on the street. At first she was shy towards me. I tried to ask her if she was okay but she put her hand in my face and shook her head. I was unable to say the right thing in Japanese so I had to choice but to use English. I said,`Look. I just helped you. Be cool. It is over now. I will take you home, okay?` Shockingly enough she somehow understood. The gal made it to her feet and held out her hand wanting my protection. I was not going to walk down the damn street holding a school gal`s hand. I am much too old for that shit. I told her I would buy her a coke and walk with her to her house. She accepted that. Turns out she was another of the many poor young gals who live in the local housing projects. Another youthful Adachi-ku gal who will most likely go no where in life. At least for one day she was safe.

So after dealing with those assholes for two days in a row, I wanted to relax. I decided to grab some cheap beer and chill by the river. That ended up being good for me. I took time to reflect on the recent events which had happened over the past two days. Free flowing water always clears my mind.

Yet, the peace was short lived.

As I was riding my bike down the bike ramp leading to the highway, I huge rock smacked me in the head. I went flying head first over the handle bars. My face hit the pavement at full force. My hole body went tumbling down the ramp. I did not realize what was happening until I heard the marching of boots. The first kick in the ribs snapped me out of my daze. Those three little fuckers had set me up. I did my best to get to my feet as they kicked me. Funny thing was they were not kicking me all that hard. When I got to my feet I started throwing punches like wild. It was all I could do considering that I was knocked stupid from the fall. They caught on pretty quick that the only way to get me to stop fighting would be to knock me out so after a few minutes they fled.

So there I stood...bloodied...beaten...and pissed the fuck off.

Yeah, if you do the right thing people will come at you like a pack of wild animals. In Japan it seems that standing up for those who are helpless is bad. This society has become very cold blooded. No one in my hood would do what I did because they are just too fucking spineless.

Did I get bet I fucking did! But that is a post for another day.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Good Man is Hard to Find

If you know whats good for you, then you better know that a good man is hard to find. If you are not aware then please allow me to inform you that we live in a very dark twisted world. As America is waging war in six different nations, as international bankers are ruining the notion of nation states, as many societies find themselves in a condition of revolution or near revolution...the band plays on in Japan. No...the kids are not alright.

You know, Japan has given me many things. I can be thankful to Japan for the life I enjoy today. I can be honest, and human enough, to admit that. Will I bow down to Japan and pretend this is the greatest nation on the planet? Fuck no! Japan is no better than America. The same vile N.W.O. control grid bullshit which is so common in the U.S.A. is going on in Japan. Any fool who refuses to see and admit the truth is a fucking dumb ass. I could sit here and cite example after example of what is really going on in our modern world, but I spend enough time doing that else where on the web. Wake the fuck up and research this shit for yourself. I am not your fucking mother. 

Yet...there is hope for our twisted world. And it may come from the most unlikely of places...Tokyo Japan.

As hard as it may be to believe, there are a few shining lights in the center of greed, lust and social sickness that is Tokyo. I have met one of those shining lights.

His name is Paul.

By day is works damn hard in the Japanese corp. world. He deals with the systematic outdated business models which have left Japan in a state of motionless progress for the last 20 plus years. He out performs his co-workers daily. In fact, he dances circles around them. Yet, in the evening he does something totally different. He becomes the owner and head bar tender of Vega.The bar is really nice. It has got the prefect atmosphere. Plus you can remote connect to a huge play list songs via your iphone. I had a lot of fun digging though Vega`s play list.

It is Paul and his Vega bar which offers a glimmer of hope in the dark twisted city of Tokyo. Paul treated me in a way I am not used to. He actually treated me like a human. He was very warm and welcoming to me. An actual real human. He made me feel like I belong in Tokyo. It had been so damn long since I had met someone who was real and kind that I damn near cried right there at the bar. I held it back and played it cool(I teared up a bit on the train ride home. Yes I can admit it) His general nature is so rare in Tokyo. In my experience, most folks in Tokyo are stubborn assholes who would rather spit on you than look you in the eye. I am sure Paul would never do that to anyone unless they really deserved it.

I know a few decent folks in Tokyo. They are funny and I think they at least care somewhat about other people. For the most part this hand full of folks are alright. Although they do tend to have a chip on their shoulder due to misplaced pride and ego. Hell, I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder as well. After you live in Tokyo for a few years, the shit of the city gets into your soul and fucks your head up to a certain degree. It happens to a lot of people and I have not been spared.

Yet, after meeting Paul I can see that some people are able to retain a high amount of goodness in their heart. Paul is still real and kind to his fellow humans. Such a man gives me hope. A hope that there is still a chance for humans to turn things around. Maybe...just maybe we have not completely screwed ourselves.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Working Class Hero is Something to Be

From the day you are born `they` make you feel small. You know, a working class hero is something to be.
 The money is enough to keep me going but hardly enough to keep me alive. The life I live is not for most. The ideas and beliefs which drive me are kicked in the dirt and considered to be wrong. That is okay because my will is still strong. When life gets too dark I think of the coal fields which created me. I saw many strong men go underground deep in the mountain, risking their lives, just to put food on the table. They knew the company was grinding them down to nothing but everyday those strong proud men went into the mountain. Slowly they died from depression and loneliness. Their women hated them because they could never bring in enough money. Despite the daily dose of emotional abuse and whiskey, these man still went into the mountain everyday. Now I realize why they did this....

Somethings are more important than money and serving the corporate machine.There are certain ideas and beliefs which every man must decide to stand by to the end. Everyday I am usually surrounded by folks who would rather kick me in the face than give me a chance. They spend their time playing political games and using everyone to achieve their agenda. They don`t care about morals or doing something bigger than themselves. When they talk to me they are usually stunned that someone could actually desire things other than money. Yeah, I want to earn a decent living but not at the cost of certain ideas. Sadly, I am a dying breed of man. I know few man who place any limits on themselves. Just soulless men and women who will smile at me, while at the same time stab me in the back. Honor and pride are in short supply. It`s all about money and fucking everyone over to get what they want. The more people know I have strong ideas of honor, the more they want to kick me down.

It beats on me daily...but still I carry on. A working class hero is something to be...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not Evil But Darker

Something has changed about me. A recent post by Loco at Loco in Yokohama got me thinking about the dark soul I have become since I first started living in Tokyo several years ago.

There is something about this city which twist the hearts of men. Tokyo is not like other cities in the world. There is a very dark force which infects the once jewel city of Asia. A certain madness grips your soul and changes you into something else...something stranger than before.

Yes...something stranger...

I used to be more friendly with folks. I used to trust most people. I would rarely think ill of folks I met for the first time. I was out going and generally happy. These days I am a different animal all together. I am keen and mean way too often. I am like a dragon breathing fire and aggressive as a Tom Cat in heat. Every fucking time I trust someone and I get fucked over big time. I do not see or experience much pure goodness. I deal with raging assholes daily. I have learned to be an even bigger asshole in order to survive.

While I have not gone pure fucking evil, I am a much darker person than I was before. While I was wild as hell in the Mountains of West Virginia, I was not like I am now. It took me a while to realize that I am stranger than before. It has been little things which has made me realize just how different I am these days.

For example:

I used to have a concern for the dull and depressing nature of the trains in Tokyo. I used to make myself smile on the train in the hope that someone would smile back. Now, I am just as much a brutal rib knocking asshole as most of the sorry fucks on the train.

When I first moved to Adachi-ku years ago, I made daily attempts to at least say hello to my down stairs neighbor in the morning. After years of those pricks treating me like I am the fucking devil, I just give them the same dirty looks they give me.

I used to really give a damn about being a `nice guy` at work. I tried to be cool with the J-staff and always liked working with a new teacher. Now, I might very well be the hardest fucker to work with in the history of foreign English teachers in Japan. I am quick to demand answers to fucked up shit and tend to treat any teacher, who have not shed blood for the company with me, like a treasonous  bastard.

I used to make a decent effort to by polite to folks. These days, all too often, I will speak the raw truth any time and any where without any concern for others feelings. The more sensitive a person is the more I tend to try to piss them off on purpose at times. I used to never to do that but now I have reached the point in which such people just make me sick.

In general I have lost a lot of faith in humanity. I have seen and experienced so much shit in Tokyo that this twisted city has make me a bit more dark than I ever thought. It may get the best of me. Yet, there are times when I am guided by goodness. It is rare but it still happens. I am not evil just much darker than before. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Helping a Drunken Tokyo Fool

Recently, I did a post about a drunken bastard with his face beat in for doing something fucked up at a hostess bar(according to his drunken Japanese). While I did not have much mercy for him, there are others I do feel sorry for, enough so that from time to time I help them out a bit.

Case in point was my arrival at my home station of Aoi earlier tonight. The work day had been good enough. No major problems to report other than feeling like a man on an island; which I have experienced before with the company I work for. I was feeling in a odd mood on my train ride home. My recent wave of self-awareness has heightened my understanding of just about everything around me. I am usually very self-aware but recently it has gone into overdrive. I feel myself transforming so far beyond the stomach zombies which surround me daily that I am shocked by just how much most people miss around them.

Anyway, after fighting to step off the train at Aoi station I noticed this fella sitting on a bench in what appeared to be a drunken coma. Judging from his plain cheaply produced business attire, he was not a rich man by any means. I was pulled toward him as if something had taken control of my mind and body. I was not acting on my own accord. As I woke him up it was as if I was watching the actions of someone else from a first person perspective. I said to the man in Japanese,`Hay. You okay. You live in Aoi? Stop sleeping! Last train is coming.` When I touched this man he was suddenly filled with energy and sprung back to life. I could not tell if he was speaking to me in Japanese or if I was having one of those moments when I understood Japanese so well that it seemed like he was speaking in English(remember I am not the master of Japanese by no means). He said,`Aoi is not my home. Aoi is your home?` I pointed to the train arrive sign and said,`Go home okay. Your wife is waiting.` I don`t know how I knew he was married but he agreed that his wife must be missing him. I hold him to take the next train and I left. He tried to follow me but I had gotten on the elevator before he could catch up with me.

I did not feel in full control of myself until I had gotten to street level. As two local young Adachi gals stared at me, I lit a smoke and took a deep breath. I hope that damn fool is thankful I woke his ass up.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stiffing A Bar in Shibuya

Sometimes you end up doing fucked up shit due to suddenly being caught in a fucked up situation. Now, yall should know that there will be people who get really pissed off after reading this post. What I ended up doing at a bar in Shibuya one night is considered `not cool` by most people`s standards. Hell, it is not cool by my standards! I should have kicked my own ass for doing this, but sometimes you got to do things in order to keep from getting totally fucked over. Case in point is one night in Shibuya when I choose to hang out with a Shibuya Gyaru.

These ladies known as `Shibuya Garu`are not to be trusted. Anyone keen to the street culture in Tokyo knows this to be very true. Partying with a Shibuya Gyaru is like drinking with the devil; your soul is targeted for suffering from the first hello. These unique brand of J-gals are keen and rough. Usually such a lady would be interesting to me. The problem is Gyaru`s in Shibuya is that they usually have no morals. If they think they can get away with something, you can bet your bottom dollar these ladies will try to pull it off. Yet, I fucked up and partied with some of them.

Anyway, it all started when I got a call from my buddy Akio.. He wanted to party in Shibuya all night. Akio is a good friend of mine so of course I was all game. When I met him in Shibuya, he took me to an odd live house with a huge bouncer at the door. The damn bouncer was so fucking big and mean looking that he could easily eat a man whole. We got past the bouncer and paid the 2,000 yen cover charge. The cover charge ended up being an entrance fee to see some psychedelic bands play. Fair enough I thought. Akio disappeared for about 30 minutes. When he showed up again he had three Gyaru`s with him looking to drink and be crazy. One of them started buying drinks for everyone. She kept saying, `I buy drinks. Who wants to drink?` Hell, I thought if this chick is going to buy drinks all night I will let her. What I did not know was that this chick had an underhanded plan to get drunk all night and put the bill on everyone else.

She seemed alright at the live house. She was throwing money around like water. There were four of us and she must have bought five rounds. The bar was C.O.D. as to prevent any monkey business. I like C.O.D. service actually. It keeps the bar from tossing in hidden charges. Anyway, after the bands stopped playing one of the Gyaru`s passed out from drinking too much. It must have taken over an hour to finally get her up and out of there. Once the four of us finally left the live house, things started to get weird. Akio said that the ladies wanted to go a bar and drink some more. No problem for me because I was stuck in Shibuya until the trains started running again. Again the Gyaru said, `I buy drinks lets go.` We go to one of those over priced bars in Shibuya which has a DJ playing hard rock music. Damn gal started ordering round after round and I did not have time to say no. I downed so many shots of Tequila that I am surprised that I was even able to think straight. As the night wore on it became clear that this chick was waiting for someone to show up. That person ended up being her boyfriend. I am married so no biggie for me. The problem came when everyone bailed the same time she did. She had attracted about seven people at that bar and they all bailed when she did. This left me and Akio alone at the bar and the fucking bar tap. That damn devil women left us with the fucking bill! It was her plan all along. She hooked up her `friends` up at the live house only to set up the gaijin and his buddy later so her and all her friends could drink for free. I was so pissed off I wanted to kill that chick!

I had enough money to pay for myself but not for seven goddamn people! Lucky for me, Akio is a keen motherfucker. As soon as I told him we had been set up, he started to carry out a plan to get us out of the situation. Akio simply said, `be cool. wait a minute.` So I had a smoke and tried to play it cool. After five minutes I get a text from Akio which said,`don`t talk to anyone. Come downstairs.` I went down stairs but staff noticed. I saw Akio out of the corner of my eye. He was hiding around the side of the building. Yeah, Akio was planning for us to stiff the bar and get the hell out of there. The staff came down stairs and I told them I was coming back. I needed to make a phone call. They left and I bailed. I know it was fucked up to do that but it was more fucked up that bitch tried to trick us into paying the tap for seven fucking people. No way in hell was I going to pay the tap for seven people I had just met and did not really know.

So yeah, I stiffed a bar in Shibuya once because of some fucked up Shibuya Gyaru. Lesson learned I guess.

Don`t party with fucked up people and you will not have to do fucked up things in order to save your own ass.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beginner Learners of English: The Double Edge Sword Challenge

It is no big secret that I cut my teeth as a teacher under the NOVA system. Now, back in the old days teaching by using just what NOVA tells you is a really shit way to teach but no one will call you out on it. These days things are different. There is pretty much no standards unless politics are involved. Usually they leave you alone to teach the way you want as long as the money flows and no one wants to use you for a self centered agenda. This is sad but that is the state of affairs these days. I have never actually worked for the investor group, first G.Com now who the fuck knows, of NOVA.. I have always worked for a company formally known as Seikatsu Kobo Ltd which is now known as GEOS Corp. It is a long story how this company ended up taking the name of yet another defunct English school so that is a post for another day. I just wanted to provide a little back story before getting into my own personal teaching methods.

So, one of the biggest challenges for me as a teacher has been teaching mid-level beginner students. At this level most of the students at least have a base understanding of present/past simple and have been exposed to present/past perfect.  Vocab. must be expected to still be very limited. Independent production comes and goes depending on how familiar they are with the conversation topic of the lesson. They will also often confuse gender pronouns. Getting the student to improve is where the double edge sword comes into play. How to: get the students to overcome their nature cultural fear of foreigners, maintain and improve their confidence, and ensure they retain new English they learn.

Getting them over that damn Japanese fear of foreigners must happen pretty quickly. I do not brother trying to a `popular` teacher. Fuck that! Teachers who do that are just trying to protect themselves. I know how the dirty business of English education works in Japan. It does not matter how `popular` you are as a teacher. If the student numbers drop YOU will be blamed for it. It does not matter how much the students like you. If shit goes bad it is always the teacher`s fault. Instead of  trying to be `popular` I just want them to respect me. To defeat that odd fear students have, I treat the student with basic human respect and demand they do the same. Once they catch on that I will not play the `popular gaijin` game, that fear goes away or they stop taking my lessons. I end up with students who actually want to try hard and become better English speakers.

Confidence is another matter all together. Lower level students make mistakes often, which is expected, and can sometimes stop trying to speak good English. There is only so much a teacher can be in order to maintain the students confidence. To be honest, there is a whole damn host of factors which effects confidence. Often it is something personal which is effecting their confidence. I am not a psychiatrist. I am a teacher. Yet, if I really want the student to get better I must find a way to keep their confidence level stable. I always start off mid-beginner students with something I know they can do. I don`t give them something new at the start of the lesson. It only confuses them and hurts their confidence. After they have been able to use the English they know, I try to do something from the last lesson. I attempt to get them to try to use some of the language form the last lesson; which gets into retention. Building on things and letting them use English they have mastered really goes a long way in maintaining confidence.

So yeah, retention. This is one of the hardest things for any type of beginner student. I have found that it is important to establish that when the student comes to class they should expect what was taught in the last lesson will come up again in the current lesson. There must be some kind of connection between one lesson to the next. Getting the students to do a little homework from time to time also helps. If there is little or no connection between lessons, no homework is ever given or done, and past lessons are not injected into further lessons the students will have a hard time retaining what they are taught.

These are just a few of things I believe should be done in order to help get beginner to mid and high beginner students to improve their English ability. All of these thing can also be applied to higher levels as well. With all of these things said, these methods get screwed up by me being forced to work at four or five damn branches a week. Nothing can be established with the students when the teacher is not at one school on a regular basis. I feel that in order to develop high quality lessons and turn a profit, it is important to stop pandering to the lowest common factor. No more `popular` teachers I say; yet that is a post for another day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who Kicked Your Ass Buddy?

The amount of crazy shit I see in Tokyo daily is enough to fill several volumes of an epic novel. I don`t even write about half of the things I either get into directly or simply witness. Tokyo is a much rougher city than most folks will ever admit. Case in point is the gentlemen in the photo to your left.

I don`t know who did it but someone fucked this guy up. I was on my way home when I first spotted him. I had made it to Nishi-Nippori station and was waiting to transfer on the Chiyoda line. He was trying to stand up but it appeared to be a loosing battle. He was close enough to me that I was able to get a smell of him. The bastard smelled like cheap beer and blood mixed with cheese feet. Mother fucker had gotten into some really bad shit for sure. The train finally arrived a few minutes later and he disappeared into the mass hoard of sorry fucks crowding the train. I thought I would never see him again; boy was I wrong.

The Chiyoda line from Nishi-Nippori to Kita-Senju was more packed than usual. I was sure this dude most likely scared the shit out of enough weak ass J-gals and was carried away by station staff at Machiya station.Damn if I was wrong! The bastard managed to survive all the way to Kita-Senju. It was at Kita-Senju station that some of this guys story finally came out in the wash.

You can figure that I was really fucking surprised to see this beat up fucker at Kita-Senju. Right there at the TX platform he was still struggling to stand up on his own. This time he was attempting to talk on his phone. My Japanese is still limited, but damn better than it used to be, so I was only able to make out some of what he was attempting to say. It sounded like he was talking to his wife. I was able to clearly make out the following, `Sorry. I got into a fight at a hostess bar. I am bleeding.` At that point I said to myself, `Fuck this asshole!` I don`t have a lot of respect for fellas who go to hostess bars all the damn time. I understand that most of these guys are going because something is missing at home. They need a women who can make them feel like a man; at least for a little while. I get that...really I do. Yet, it would be better to work on things at home rather than give up and run to some young greedy bitch you will suck all the money they can out of some lonely guy looking for a little respect and attention.

Any god damn way, when the local train finally decided to show its slow ass, the idea popped into my head to get a picture of this sorry fucker.

My feelings about this truly sad mixed up fella is complex. On one hand my heart goes out to him. He most likely had a fucked up day at work and his wife is probably a cold blooded bitch. He went to some low down hostess bar to have some young fine ass gal cheer him up. Sadly, while at the hostess bar he must have had one too many drinks, got too friendly with one of the gals, and some Yakuza bouncier beat his face in proper. On the other hand...Fuck him! His wife will forgive him and their relationship will keep on being a joke. His company is paying for his national health insurance so he will not pay a fucking dime to have his face fixed up. 99% percent of foreign English teachers get no support from their companies to help them pay that fucking over priced nation health insurance tax. If I pulled the same shit he did my wife would divorce me and I would get stiffed with trying to pay to have my face fixed up; even after the so-called discount I get from the national health insurance tax.

*So, I am wondering what kind of stuff yall want to see me write more about in the next few posts: Teaching(all aspects of it), thoughts of the state of Japan, J-blogging community, the inner workings of my mind, or the chaos that is Tokyo.  Please don`t request any lame ass `wow Japan` stuff. I gave up writing about such things a long time ago. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

I am a Continental

It must be odd for the native people of Japan to wrap their heads around the idea of fighting to be free. At times, I question if they really understand what liberty really means. It is only in recent modern times that Japanese were introduced to the idea of liberty. It was my own nation which attempted to place liberty into the hearts and minds of Japanese folks. It is a true foreign idea to the natives of Japan. America and Japan have had totally different histories. While the Americans were risking their lives just to be able to govern themselves and free man from the bonds which chained him, the Japanese were transitioning from the age of Samurai to the age of Empire. While Americans were working out the idea of being an independent individual, the Japanese were falling in line with Emperor worship and extreme nationalism. No wonder we tried to kill each other off during WW2.

But that was then...and this is now

Fast forward to the 21st Century

 Now it is America which is the Empire. Just as Japanese nationalist dogma penetrated the minds of the people of Asia, American dogma fills the hearts and minds of most people around the world. Japanese military bases could be found in many parts of Asia. These days U.S. military bases can be found in all parts of the world. Just as citizens of the Japanese empire thought that Japan was the center of the universe, modern Americans often feel that America is the be all of end all in the world.Even as the American Empire has clearly started to crumble many Americans feel that the U.S.A. is the greatest nation in the world. This is no different than when the Japanese submitted to the Royal family of Japan up until the day Japan was defeated by the Americans. That a sick fucking turn of events. What is even sicker that that both nations are just as stubborn and ignorant as ever.

These days I find myself, as an American, knee deep in Japanese culture. I have experienced the good, bad and ugly of both cultures. I have learned that Japanese culture is about as far removed form my native land as can be. At times these people take a liking to some things from America. Yet, deep down inside their hearts are with Japan. Yeah, they have an obsession with western culture but at the end of the day they will stick to Japan. The average Japanese understands as much about America as the average American does about Japan.

You might be wondering what the hell is the fucking point of this post. Well, I have pretty much given up on Japanese ever really accepting outside ideas. I have come to terms with my status as a minority. There is nothing about it which gets under my skin. While this nation is dealing with one of the worst crisis since the post war era, the government is playing political games and fighting for power. As the common business model in Japan is clearly outdated business leaders in Japan refuse to accept new ideas and methods of running their companies. The nation faces a serious population problem yet immigration laws are tighter than ever. They still promote extreme conservatism even as the youth of Japan reject such notions. It will be Japan`s stubbornest and refusal to progress which will again bring about their down fall.

Though all of this...I am still a continental. I was rebellious in American and I am rebellious in Japan. The only way to survive is to be D.I.Y. as much as I can. If the leaders of Japan choose to ruin their nation then so be it. This twisted turn of events in history is really fucking funny. From the days of Samurai to the days of Salarymen...this nation really has not learned shit. I am here until the end. Fuck it! I will hang around just to see what happens next.      

Monday, June 6, 2011

Journey to the Center of My Mind Pt. 2

Howdy! Here we are again, digging around in my mind. It is a very uncomfortable place to be; as I have found. Yet, what choice to I have? It is my fucking mind after all. You see, recently I have been pushed to the edge. A lot of things have built up inside of me. I have smacked into too many brick walls which has caused me to explode with an anger which worries me. I did not realize I was filled with such an anger. While I still refuse to engage in a vision quest, I do need to figure out what is going on inside of my mind. So, lets explore shall we?

I remember something my daddy told me once. He said, `Boy. A job is not a job, it is an opportunity.` My father died from a drug O.D. several years ago but his words were burned into my mind. My father was a scum bag but at least he worked damn hard. With that said, I have noticed a very disturbing trend. The harder I work the harder I get fucked in the ass by sub par pricks who advanced in their careers by playing politics instead by good old fashioned hard work. I really have a strong distaste for politics at work.

Here is an example:

I was working at one of the numerous branches. The company likes to spread me so thin that I hardly remember the names of the students; but that is another matter all together. For a long time I have been writing my own lessons because the textbook really is shit to me at this point. `Official` company policy is that all lessons must be taught from that damn book. I cover my ass by always telling a student to refer to one of the lessons from the book. The lesson had gone down pretty good and the student enjoyed the lesson well enough. There was a mid-level Japanese manager at the branch that day. I know this bitch very well. She has a habit of stealing everyone`s thunder and taking credit for everything she can. She is a social climber and a real snake in the grass. Student tells her that he enjoyed the lesson. This bitch sits there and goes on and on about how `valuable` the text book is. Remember, she saw me pull my own lesson from my bag and print out copies. She knew that I had used my own material and did not use the book. Yet, she totally discredited everything I had just done. Instead, she steals all my hard work and gives credit to `the system.` A system I did not use and had nothing to do with the lesson I created and used for the lesson. When the student leaves, this bitch smiles at me with a shit eating grin as to say, `I fucked you again gaijin. I will never give you credit for anything.`

It is this kind of shit which is starting to have a very negative effect on my mind.

I am not the best teacher in the world. There are a lot of things I still need to learn even after several years of being a teacher. WTF? At least give credit where credit is due. All the backstabbing underhanded shit is really starting to boil my blood and filling me a deep hatred for humanity. This is not good for my mental or spiritual well being. I could quit but I got to think about taking care of my gal. I do look around the job market a lot Most of the gigs out there right now are set up in a way to kill off all creativity and reduce the teacher to nothing more than a gaijin puppet to be used as a cash cow profit making machine. At least the company I am working for now will let me have some sort of creative control and pays we decently well. They are just so damn stubborn to give a foreigner credit for anything. It is like the Japanese management have some sort of block in their brain. They cannot admit the hard work of any foreigner. This is not unique to Japan. The same thing happens in America. If you are a foreigner in America a lot of people will take advantage of you. Japan is just a bit more out in the open about it.

All I want is credit for my hard work. Being discredited for my hard work is really twisting my head up big time. Tokyo is a rough ass city. The daily stress of living in the city can be enough to drive someone to madness. While I have adjusted to the rough and tumble Tokyo lifestyle, the whole idea of keeping me under a boot in order to advance other people`s political agenda at work is creating a lot of hate in my heart. I see too much of the bad side of humanity. Too many lairs and sold-out blood thirsty fuckers come at me looking to suck me dry all the damn time. Everyone wants something from me. Well, I want something too. A little damn respect would be nice. At least stop fucking with me. I don`t want all this hate in my heart. I am only human. I am left with the option to attempt to take it all on the chin. The people who run my company are fucked up. I must learn to accept this or else I will go crazy.        

Friday, June 3, 2011

Journey to the Center of My Mind

Here we are again yall. Another muse from the gaijin ghost of Tokyo. I have been real intense the past two months. At times I have been a real asshole. As usual, I have been fighting to survive. It has been like this all my life. It is just the way it is I guess. Yet, I have long since abandoned my own personal vision quest. Most folks spend their entire lives on a vision quest. Living their lives in tunnel vision. It is a wonderful way to live actually. Ya don`t have to be bothered with the concerns of what is happening around ya. The world could turn to shit and you would never know it. I stopped my vision quest at the age of 24.

At the tender age of 24 I decided who I was and what I was all about. I decided that my only choice was to fight for my own survival. I had been raised damn poor. I had struggled to make it as far as college. I felt that I was lucky to be alive. I realized that I will always be held underwater. It is Ryan Vs. The World. So, here I am now living in Japan. The struggles carries on it seems.

While I deeply love Tokyo, I still find myself at odds with the world at large. I don`t fit in, even among fellow gaijin. I don`t admit this very often but I often feel awkward when attending large parties with co-workers or drinking at a crowded bar. In the back of my mind this little voice says, `Fuck these people. They don`t really care about you and would most likely sell you out in a heart beat.` I try real hard to resist the emotions which are sparked inside of me when I hear that little voice speak to me. It is kind of like going against my gut feeling and submitting to logic. Yet, damn near every time I allow pure logic to rule over my judgment, I end up saying something I shouldn`t or someone takes advantage of me. As long as I stay on my guard everything is mostly okay. As soon as I cast off my natural keenness and gut reactions something get out of wrack.. This is not to say that people cannot make my heart bleed from time to time.

This is where things get complex. You see I know that most folks are little fucking snakes in the grass. There are a hell of a lot of people who will take advantage of me and step on me for their own gain. This raw fact of humanity makes it very hard to know when to bring the iron fist or the soft hand. Recently I have been using only the iron fist. I usually do that when I feel powerless or under an extended amount of high stress. Asshole Ryan is a very hard person to deal with. Even when people are trying to help me I will not trust them if I feel I am in a oppressive situation. Put me in a corner and I will come out fighting with all guns blazing. Everyone becomes a target and no one is spared my rage. It is shitty of me to be like that but too many years of having to fight to survive causes me to adopt this mindset. On the other hand it is hard for me to resist a person who is showing weakness. If I cannot see someone in situations which they need to make a moral judgment, their crying, grace, smiles or general down to earth attitude can confuse me and cause me to let my guard down. Unless I got some background or reference as a base, extremely friendly people concern me.

Still, I find myself having a deep sense of sympathy for my fellow humans. We are just rats running around in a grid controlled by truly vile pieces of shit. Those really running the show are far darker and twisted than anything us slaves could work up the balls to hold up as some kind of sick moral fiber. In the middle of defending myself from the rest of the rats and slave masters, I somehow still have a strong sense of love, honor and manhood firmly ingrained into my head.

Yeah, taking a journey into the center of my mind is not easy for me. There is some major screws loose along with several demons which need to be dealt with.    

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tainted By the Wickedness

I have lived in Tokyo for several years. It has been a fun ride mostly. Overall, I have enjoyed taking advantage of all that Tokyo has to offer. I could never discover such adventure and excitement in my beloved mountain home of West Virginia. Yet, in WV or Tokyo I am still Ryan. My brain works and same way as it did back in the mountains. I still view the world around me in a way which most people cannot wrap their heads around. It is not entirely their fault. Most people have been conditioned to function in a dream like state. They are only half awake most of the time. In my life experience I have noticed that most people do not mature past the age of sixteen. Most folks rely on the same childish shithead methods of getting what they want as they did when they were a fucking teenager. I thought this kind of thing was almost exclusive to the good old U.S.A. I thought that only in America could the population be turned into a mass hoard of Nazi Zombies more than willing to support anything which pleasures the sickest parts of their ego. Damn was I wrong big time.

Before anyone labels this post some kind of `Anti-Japan` rant, let me be clear and say that I am simply stating the truth. Truth is a reality which is not flexible. Screw all these snakes out there who say that `reality is what you make it.` That is bullshit. The truth is that Tokyo is infested by blood thirsty hoards of zombies just waiting to take a bite out of you. Selling each other out is the norm here not the exception. Think of all the underhanded backstabbing crap which would get someone`s ass beat into the dirt among upstanding company and that would be the behavior of the average person in Tokyo. There are some people who are open, friendly, decently honest and will not use you. It is rare but they are out there. Yet, for the most part the average person living in Tokyo are spineless and will sell each other out for VERY little reason.

It pains me to say such things but the truth is the truth. I am losing my faith in most folks who live in Tokyo; both Japanese and foreigners. With that said, I don`t hate living in Tokyo. This city has given me a lot. It has provided me with a life I could not have other wise. Although, being surrounded by the walking dead daily makes it hard to keep love in my heart. I think I am becoming tainted by the wickedness which all too often fuels Tokyo. I don`t want to become like the zombies I see and deal with daily. Everyday I feel the urge to be just as fucked up as the hoard of Nazi Zombies who take chunks out of me at random.

To resist being totally tainted I speak the truth to people. When I know someone is full of shit or telling me a lie, I call them on it quickly. Far too often I have said to folks, `You are telling a lie to me` or `Speak directly to me and remember I know what you are trying to do.` Even when I do that a lot of folks still try to pull shit on me. It is amazing. I think this progression of my mindset will be interesting. I must watch myself a bit closer and catch myself slipping into a twisted mindset. I will keep all of you posted on this for sure.  

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Damned If You Do; Damned If You Don`t

I think there comes a point in which most half-way decent English teachers in Japan say to themselves, `Fuck! If I work hard I get fucked over. If I am a lazy bastard I get fucked over. The union is a joke and management will not listen to me at all. What is the point of trying anymore.` I have seen this happen to several teachers. They simply give up and only keep coming to work everyday because there is money to be made. This is a sad situation, but one I see far too often. I still wonder, What causes this situation?

The finger of blame could be pointed at many suspects. Are foreign management to blame? It is true that often, but with some exception of course, foreign management attacks other teachers for their own self-centered agenda. They are usually an aggressive bunch carrying a cold blooded nature about them in general. It is common for them to only care about protecting their own position. Dealing with such management could easily make many teachers give up all hope. I have seen some brutal shit come from foreign management. Let me be clear, I have also seen some damn good, honest and fair foreign managers who really tried to improve lesson quality. Yet, this is rare and not the norm.

Can we put the burden of blame on Japanese management? The `end game` purpose of Japanese management is to turn a profit. They should have little care for lesson quality or the welfare of the teachers. It is not their concern. They usually prefer to spend their time crunching numbers and battling it out for position. The amount of arrogance and unfounded pride which flows form them will make any dedicated teacher sick to their very soul. Most Japanese management will make it very clear to you, by way of their dismissive attitude, that they don`t care about you. You, the teacher, seen to be a necessary evil to them. You are not human in their eyes. Rather you are more of a product to be used for the purpose of turning a profit. Dealing with such folks could easily make any hardworking teacher not give a fuck about their job or the duty they have to the students.

Yet, can we also point the finger at the teachers themselves? A lack of a backbone perhaps? You must be a strong person to live and teach English in Japan. Remember you are a gaijin which makes you a minority. A stranger in a strange land. No one really invited you here. Trust me, it has taken me a long time to accept that fact. To really be an elite teacher you must develop a deep passion for teaching. You have to love this shit! Not only must you love it, but you must also say this fact out loud in public from time to time. You must be willing to love you fellow brothers and sister who try hard to be a good teacher and dismiss the ones you are a sack of dog shit. Those who at least try to be a good teacher deserve a little respect. When they need advice or help working out a lesson, for fucks sake offer a little guidance and leadership. This whole idea of being a self-centered little shithead really does not help anything. It actually hurts everyone in the long run. If you think no one notices your `fuck you because I think I am hot shit` attitude then you are mistaken. If you really are a good teacher then spread the goodness to others who are also trying hard. Be the leader that is needed when foreign management waste their time playing politics and attacking anyone in kicking distance.

So who is to blame for the sad situation which often occurs with English teachers in Japan? I think that overall it is a combo of everything I mentioned in this post. Our profession in Japan is in a very sad state. We should be ashamed of ourselves. Greed, laziness and protectionism has created a fucked up situation. You know who suffers the most? It is the students who take the majority of the pain of our own shortcomings. I must end this post by saying, if you cannot handle what I just wrote then get the fuck out of the English teacher biz in Japan! Reality is a motherfucker.