Saturday, March 26, 2005

More Japan Stories

Although I have mentioned the perverted references to penis sizes and sex among my students, I have not divulged the full story as to exactly everything a male language teacher from America goes through with junior high kids in Japan. There are many blogs kept by Americans teaching in Japan, and actually most of our experiences are very similar. Some details change, others not so much. One blogger who captures the spirit of our days well is a guy called Azriel, who is teaching down in Kyoto. He has detailed many of the things here that I have not, such as the Kancho maneuver, which is when your students try to emulate a Japanese comedian who rams his fingers, his hands shaped like a small gun, up your butt. Or when the boys try to grab your penis, and sometimes do if you weren't prepared. For more of this unseemly behavior, see Azriel's blog. And pray for us, for it is a daily battle to avoid the kancho or the dick grab, as Azriel has dubbed them.

A sample from Azriel's first entry:

So anyway, I get asked "bigu dikku" A LOT. Every 2-3 days in fact, which is amazing considering I got asked this question about 2-3 times *in my entire life* in America. Locker room jokes aside. How do you answer that anyway? To a 12-15 year old? I wave them off and say "No no no." Then they say "Oh, sumaru dikku?" (trans. "Small dick?") and OF COURSE that's wrong so I have to correct them. It's just a no-win stiuation.

On the days I'm avoiding them asking me that, I'm avoiding them actually trying to grab it. I shit you not, I have to play Dodgedick with Japanese Jr. High kids on a weekly basis. Boys and girls! Age, gender, doesn't matter, they all want a stab at it. The boys are actually more persistant though. I had one boy grab for it, and when I said "No!" he put his hands together and, in English, said "Please!" Oh hell no. I was sitting next to a 12-year old boy who kept grabbing at it, and when I told him "No!" he asked "Why not?" I wondered if there weren't some cultural bounds I wasn't understsanding, so I said clearly "age 10 years and become female since birth, then we'll talk." His solution was to ask the girl sitting next to him to trade seats, grab my dick, and tell him about it.

That is so NOT what I meant.

I wish I could say it stops there, but actually, it gets worse. Let me introduce you to a game Japanese kids like to play called "Kancho."

Actually, it's not so much a "game" as it is kids clasping their hands together, sticking out their first fingers, and shoving them up your butt. I'm really not joking.

And then a bit from one of his more recent posts:

I had just finished an ichinensei class with the "Big-Headed Boyfriend" teacher. I was talking to a boy near the front, when another boy entered the room from the rear, and started walking towards the front. "Hello!" I casually said to him.

He said nothing in response. He did nothing except keep walking forward. And suddenly, my Kancho Sense™ started BLARING. Sure enough, without one word he simply walked behind me and started trying to kancho. This actually freaked me out a bit, this kid was a mindless, soulless, kancho assassin. That was some freaky shit. Thanks to my trusted Sense, I was able to reach behind me and successfully grab his hand.

...But! The boy I was talking to in front of me decided that now would be a *great* opportunity to grab my dick. Thankfully, my Dodgedick Sense™ went off as well, so I was able to grab his hand in time. But now both my hands were tied, while each boy still had a free hand with which to try and grab my dick AND poke me up the ass.

I have a bad feeling about this.

If I weren't writing my own fiction, I would spend more time describing all of this stuff that happens, and it really does occur pretty much wherever you go to teach here (junior high level at least, the elementary schools are all sweetness and light for the most part, and I'm not sure what the high schools are like). Since I'm concentrating my writing energy and time on fiction, I don't write as much of this stuff as I could, so I may occasionally just use Azriel for shorthand.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you don't have to deal with the Breast Grabs! Not only girls in school, but also old ladies in onsen, mothers in law, and female coworkers. I think I've been felt up more in the years I've lived in japan then when dating in college or high school. It's very strange.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

Oh see that is just wrong. Especially the old women in onsen. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And I haven't been groped so much since I got way wasted that night out back in...well, that's a story for another time.


12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, I see all of what you and Azriel describe as just wrong. This is sexual aggression. And as with all sexual aggression, the recipient has to be seen as not human. These kids are being very badly taught. Do they behave this way with Japanese adults?


3:34 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...


I don't really see it as sexual aggression, though I'm sure it can be seen as such. The kids don't mean anything mean by it. They're more curious, and they behave this way with each other, and with younger Japanese adults. For example, with the twenty-three year old teacher at my school, they do the same with him. It may be a bit bad-mannered, but it's not meant to hurt. The air of it is more along the lines of rough-housing, and it does feel more that way. I've been tickle attacked too. And be sure not to read Azriel's entries without understanding his sense of humor. He's quite fond of the kids and is being a bit melodramatic and sarcastic about it.

9:00 PM  

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