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.    

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Time I Almost Died in a Fight

Everyone loves to hear about a fight. There is something about raw violence which attracts just about anyone. So inspired by Chris who writes Confessions of a bad boy in Japan I thought I would share a fight story with yall.

It is important to note that fighting is a way of life in West Virginia. Back in the mountains, getting into a fight was nothing out of the norm. This tale happened around 2005. Like all good fight stories it involves drinking, attitudes and fucked up people.

The evening started out pretty mundane. I was at my place just chilling out. A buddy of mine, Jon, called me up wanting to hang and have a few beers. I had nothing better to do so I got in my car and headed over to his house. He had a pretty big house and always plenty of beer. He was a cool dude so I was all about wanting to hangout for a while. He lived in Princeton which is a fucked up town full of drug addicts and street slime. The kind of town where folks will knife you over a few pills. I was so used to the damn area that I did not give a fuck. Jon was cool and I wanted to chat and get drunk. I really was not concerned about some street slime making trouble; damn was I wrong.

As soon as I showed up at Jon house we started drinking. He must have had at least three cases of beer on hand. Beer is damn cheap in America which was good for us because we were poor hillbillies. I think we were drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller Ice. Wait a minute...Yes! It must have been PBR because that is the one beer which will attract gutter slime every single time. I don`t know what it is about PBR that brews such madness and attracts the shit of the earth. Maybe it is the fact that when I lived in the states 30 cans of PBR was only 13.00 bucks. It is a fun beer as well. It is granddad`s beer. Granddad always gets a good PBR buzz and tells ya war stories about fighting Nazis. Well, in my case I drink PBR and tell ya about drinking PBR and almost dying.

Any damn way, we were getting drunk and having a good conversation about libertarianism. Jon was a hard nosed working class rebel like myself but he was smart as well. We washed dishes together at a local restaurant. I was finishing up college, he was trying to survive along with a gang of other misfits living in his house. Regardless, we were enjoying the cheap PBR and the conversation very much. Unexpectedly he received a phone call from someone he clearly had a shaky relationship with. After a lot of swearing and threats of violence, Jon hangs up the phone and lets me know that,`Some good weed is on the way.` Only a fool passes up good weed so he had my interest. At that point I should have known that shit was about to turn sour. I was a bit too drunk to listen to my natural instincts.

About a half hour later I hear someone banging on the front door and yelling, `Jon! Open the fucking door! Jon! You bastard! You know I was coming! Why is the fucking door locked!` With such a greeting, gutter slime from the street had found its way to Jon`s front door. This was the same person who Jon had had a not so pleasant phone conversation with earlier. Jon opened the door and the guy barged into the house while talking pure shit the entire time. I laid eyes on a skinny red head guy who was so pale it looked like he had been on a four day coke binge. He wore clothes that were slightly dirty, but at least he did not smell bad. He took one look at me and said,`You the fuck are you? Are you a cop?` The only thing I could say back to this dickhead was, `No I`m not a cop. But you look like you need a drink.` I gave him a can of PBR which seem to chill him out a bit. He dragged Jon into a back room apparently to do a dope deal. I don`t know what happened in those ten minutes they were alone in that back room but something went wrong...really really wrong.

I heard a large crash and thump followed by swearing. I walked into the back room to find the two of them attempting to kick each other`s asses. There were throwing punches, falling down, trying to kick each other as they got up and then throw some more punches. I was just drunk enough to find the scene funny. I stepped back and let them go. It was like watching a fucked up street brawl between two people who should not be fighting anyone for any reason. Jon was drunk and the red head fucker was too skinny to put up a decent fight. Yet, they seemed determined to fuck each other up over something I am still not clear about to this very day.

After a while they started to run out of juice. They backed away from each other, breathing heavily, and giving each other the evil eye. A few `fuck you` were exchanged as the red head fucker lit up a joint and passed it to me. I took a few drags and handed it to Jon. The fight seem to be coming to an end until Jon took a long drag off the joint and said something to the effect of,`You always act this way when I have company. You have to disrespect me and embarrass me in front of my friends. You asshole!` Jon walked out of the room with the joint. His words and actions were just enough to spur chaos. The red head fucker pulled out a knife and started making threats to Jon. That bastard was waving his knife around daring anyone to do something about it. I had finally had enough of that piece of street slime. I walked right up to him, gave him a leg sweep, and a punch directly in the jaw. We went down headed for the floor as I wanted to get him down and beat the shit out of him...things did not go as planned.

He fell all the way to the floor. Unfortunately, my head meet the end of an exposed heating knob on an old steam heater. The details of what happened after that are fuzzy. When I regained control of my brain I remember there being a pool of blood on the floor, blood on the walls, blood on me and blood on the red head fucker. I was also laying into the bastard and saying random evil things. The bastard was screaming,`Jon! Get this crazy motherfucker off me!` From what I can remember, Jon pulled me off and the red head fuck started making more threats. After that I blackouted from blood lose. I remember some kind of argument occurred as I staggered out of Jon`s house. Somehow I actually drove back to Athens.

I ended up knocking on the door of my close friend Josh. He was the only person I knew who would help me. I should have went to the hospital but I was poor and did not want to have to pay for an overpriced stitch up. I seem to remember blacking out again when Josh answered his door. None the less good old Josh came though. He took me to my apartment and called one of our good buddies to help. They discovered that I was cut all the way to my skull. Josh cleaned the gash with rubbing alcohol and  used super glue to close it up. For good measure he put several band aids over it which I replaced every day. It took several months for the gash to heal. I learned an important lesson. Never fight drunk with crazy gutter slime.  


Monday, May 9, 2011

Rebellion is a Love Affair

Rebellion has been apart of my life since I was old enough to understand that breaking the rules and making trouble is really fun. Even when I knew that society would shun me and my life would be difficult, I have often choose to say `fuck it` and buck the system. There is this fire in me that drives me to look at society and think `what a bunch of bullshit.` I need life to be a little edgy and dangerous. I feel comfortable when there is a lack of rules and authority. It feels damn good when I can do what ever the fuck I want to do. When my actions are not controlled and being a little odd is normal; I am happy as a pig in shit. Case in point is a recent adventure I made to Earthdom in Shin-Okubo. 
To tell the truth, I make it out to a few lives shows every month. I don`t really announce these adventures often and I damn sure don`t blog about them so much. It is just something I kind of do. It is my little world I go to in order to get the fuck away from all the shit of conformity I put up with daily. You would not believe the amount of stomach zombie pricks I put up with just to earn some cash and survive in our twisted world.  Truly soulless fucks who deserve nothing more than a punch in the mouth for being such a little worm. I really wanna go ape shit crazy on some of those little imps at times. I usually hold back because I want the cash and do not want to deal with their sorry asses anymore than I have to. I am sure that the only way to really get some of them to back off would be to kill them. It just makes since to give them a dirty look, speak my peace, and move on to something more interesting. That `something` more interesting is going to a underground live house, seeing some kick ass bands and hanging with people who have a love affair with rebellion. 
So yeah, the Earthdom is a joint I discovered a few years back. I have seen a lot of kick ass bands at this place over the years. Tiger Army, Balzac, and Hat Trickers are the best bands I have seen play at Earthdom. They got pretty good equipment so the music usually sounds great. Yet, it more than just the music which keeps pulling me back to the hell hole which is Earthdom; it is the people. The place kinds of creates an environment where you can be yourself. There are no poser sold-out pricks to fuck things up. A lot of the folks are younger, like late teens to mid-twenties who Japanese society tossed into the FAIL bin before most of them even got a chance to shine. They just wanna hang out, get a little drunk and listen to killer bands play. Fights never happen and folks are damn friendly and forward. The kind of folks you meet at Earthdom are not your run of the mill Japanese. It is rebellion in it`s most raw form. Forget everything you think you know about Japan when hanging out at this place. As an added bonus they let you bring in your own booze!
Going to a place like Earthdom, and seeing kick ass bands and hanging with people who don`t give a fuck about all the bullshit in society, reminds me that all the shit I deal with is just that SHIT. Rebellious people who sometimes make trouble and burn the world for no reason, are more alive than any dickhead who is so proud of their job and position. Those of us who are willing to say `fuck this shit` and mean it live a life of higher value than any of these so-called well functioning members of society. Being able to express yourself freely and being loud, rude and sometimes even doing things which are slightly dangerous is better than always playing by the rules and kissing ass. Yeah, rebellion is a love affair.