Sunday, March 28, 2010

American Mouth

"It's time for the party to make some sound."
Republic Tiger's 'Golden Sand'

Before arriving in Japan, I knew my crazy, obnoxious ways wouldn't get past Japanese customs. So I cut my hair, hid the earrings, and left behind the rainbow shoes. Though the most difficult trait to leave behind was my mouth. The days of walking out of a grocery store shouting, "JANICE!," or "My water just broke" became merely memories of my cherished past. 

This lavish tongue of mine came quite in handy as a teacher at an ignorant high school just outside of Miami. The school lacked discipline, not only with the students, but especially with the teachers and parents. Often times, I would put my Howard Stern meets William Wallace voice to use captivating the minions towards freedom and order. At the Christmas luncheon I served as the bouncer, and took pleasure in denying a handful of would-be free-loaders access to bountiful holiday treats. At a Sports Careers conference, I proclaimed to all of my students "Thank you for not being ghetto like these other schools." And while at the annual Grad Bash field trip to Universal Studios, a militia of misfit female hoodlums breezed their way past the wimpy white kids too afraid to challenge minorities. When they got to me, I said with no fear, "Hell no, where do you go to school, Ghetto High?" Sure they eventually snuck past me, but at least someone spoke up.

I will be heard, for good or bad. Despite my love of commanding the troops, my ulterior motive is strictly selfless. Unfortunately, my God given talent has no place to sail in the still waters of Japan. Most affairs are quite organized with participants full of respect for one another. Until one night...

It was the annual farewell party, 送別会 (soubetsukai), and things were as they should be. Bashful spies waited for their peers glasses to need a refill, installments of raw fish an unidentified salads were placed on the table's center rotating circle thingy, and of course a parade of speeches closed many an eye. The teacher next to me and I even took bets on the length of each speech. Then later in the evening, while trying to find a polite exit from the "You are scivvy (perverted), me too!" bonding session with the phys ed teachers, there was a call for help. 

The soft spoken master of ceremonies was asking everyone to return to their seats, which wasn't happening. So I vanished, and faster than you could dip your salmon into the soy sauce, I invaded the podium. And in Japanese equal to that of a fetus I shouted, "EVERYONE, SIT DOWN! THANK YOU, PLEASE!" I was like Moses, parting the red sea of drunken faces. I wouldn't know about herding sheep, but it was as easy as driving away women at a night club. In a flash, they had all returned to their seats, minus the geography teacher who's head could pass for a globe. When I made it back to my table, I was given a hero's welcome. The baseball coach gave me an authentic fist pound and poured so much beer in my already full glass that the carpet got tipsy. I knew the risks involved with "breaking protocal," but I just had to open my American mouth. I'm glad I did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love it! I wish I could have been there to see that moment! Our enkai might have even needed a little of that last night!