Fellow citizens, our long national nightmare is finally over. Let us now embark upon that shining road to recovery. Of course, by “national” I mean Japan, and “long nightmare” as in my teaching English here while everyone else listens to my grumbling about it. In retrospect, I guess I should have read my one-year school contract more carefully. I assumed “one agrees to be poked by devils while drowning in a pool of anguish” was just boilerplate contractual stuff. Who knew they meant it literally?
When I arrived, I had simple career goals. Specifically, bailing on my eikaiwa job and befriending the Yakuza, using a mix of rough but charming Japanese. They would encourage me to sell knock-off Rolexes, get a full-back tattoo, shake down some ramen shop owners, and engage in crazy money laundering schemes. I thought the latter had a particularly nice ring to it. It’s like you’re taking money—which is already great stuff—and you’re making it cleaner! How can that not be a good thing?
Shockingly though, the whole Yakuza thing never materialized. Despite being repeatedly solicited by Shinjuku doormen with rock-star hair and pointy shoes, none of the offers I received resembled an employment opportunity. To my dismay, I had to resort to doing what my school had brought me here for—namely, teaching classes. Oh, the horror.
It’s not that teaching English isn’t fun. I mean, riding in an elevator is kind of fun, too. You just wouldn’t want to do it all day, every day. Teaching, like fried food, is great in limited quantities, but too much leaves you tired and disgusted with yourself. Late at night, while I wasn’t at work, or inventing metaphors about work, I lay on my apartment floor, watching YouTube videos of the U.S. Army Rangers’ training program. There was something comforting and familiar about watching army guys crawling through the jungle. Check it out–every day, surviving on two or three hours of sleep, then getting up and sprinting through the rain, standing at attention for hours, and having to do complex mental tasks while being yelled at and humiliated by superiors. Well, that’s teaching English for you. But being an Army Ranger seemed pretty hard too.
Where I’ll go from here, no one knows. From my boss, I got a handshake, an envelope of cash, and the Japanese equivalent of “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.” Friends say they’re worried about my lack of future planning. To which I can only answer, since when is laying in bed watching TV with a giant plastic bottle of shochu not a plan? But, people, let us be unburdened. I shall go back to being the man of leisure I was born to be, while you can resume doing whatever you did before you had to listen to me bitch about my job all the time. Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.