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.