One Really Long Year in Japan

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.

4 Replies to “One Really Long Year in Japan”

  1. Who needs a plan? The only reason we think we need a plan is because other people tell us we do. Life does not have to be a journey leading up to and culminating in a job that you plan to commit yourself to for the rest of your life. Life is so much more than that, it’s going with the ridiculous directions it throws you in and finding peace with wherever you end up. There is so much to see and do out there, who wants to plan it out?
    I want to travel the world, and that’s about as much planning as I need at this point. Earn the money, buy the plane tickets and watch HBO and drink alcohol somewhere new and different. The idea that we must study, acquire a job, create a family and have a mortgage is absurd. Life doesn’t come with guidelines and it’s not meant to.
    Your reckless and leisurely life is a source of constant inspiration for someone who doesn’t want to just ‘comply’ with life.
    Amazing as always Seeroi

  2. Finally, soul mates for life. Is it too much to hope that you’re female? And incredibly smoking hot? And like 21? Ah…yeah, well, I thought so. That’s how I know God hates me. Well, at least we’re on the same page anyway, so that’s something. Back to your reckless and leisurely life, Rilakkuma.

  3. I’ve been reading your blog from top to bottom and I’ve enjoyed your writing very much.
    I have plans to visit Japan in the fall of 2021 and you have given me some great insight into the Japanese. “Thank You.”
    I had to make a post on this entry because of the date of the post (02-26) and the topic itself. “Long year and work kinda sucks!”
    02-26 be me birthday and come 02-26-19 I will be retired, amigo. No more work and no more sucky, sucky. (And yes, I am smiling.)

    1. Man, that’s awesome. Hope I live to see the day. Japan’d be a pretty excellent place to have a pile of cash and not have to work. Of course, now that I think about it, pretty much anywhere would be.

      Here’s to someday, anywhere.

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