April 28, 2000
5:33 pm
Right now I'm feeling: Dead-dog Tired

Right now I'm listening to: Shiina Ringo

Shiina Ringo: Koko de Kiss Shite
Quote of the Day:
"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."
-- Aldous Huxley

What's "Normal"?

The thought occurred to me today that my life might not be exactly "normal".

This thought came to me when I was poked in the butt by a 13 year old boy. This was before I signed a half dozen autographs, but after I was serenaded by a group of five girls from a window. Oh, and that was before a 14 year old girl asked me for a cigarette.

I thought it was going to be just another day, and I suppose it was. There's nothing wrong, per se, with an unusual life, but sometimes it's so different than the life I thought I would be leading that I think I have no business leading it.

I walked up the path to the school and I heard singing from above. Five girls crowded in a window singing Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On"; a couple of the girls had their arms stretched out the window towards me. Not a bad way to start your day, eh?

Then in my second period class I was walking up and down the rows of desks. I was following my usual proceedure during the "say and repeat" segment of English class, making sure all the kids were saying the English out loud after me. I had just passed one of the more rambunctious kids in the class and felt the poke. Furious, I rounded on him, grabbed him by the collar told him that that was not permitted.

"Is that bad?" the JTE asked.

"What the hell do you think!?!"

"Hmmm... yes, maybe that is a little rude".

After class I took him outside and beat him with a cane.

Haha! Nah, just kidding there. I scolded him with the aid of the teacher and assigned him to write sentences (those at the left). Later, the teachers engineered it so that he would come after school and apologize in front of two English teachers and the principal. I was surprised they'd throw so much support my way, but I wasn't about to refuse it; most of the time they won't help me out with the discipline half as much as they should.

The principal lectured him to tears and he bowed a full-on 100 degree bow, not one of those 15 degree wussy bows, then just about ran from the room after he was dismissed. I wanted to laugh out loud as the principal was lecturing him, the situation was somewhat ridiculous, for him. It seems that he had only poked me out of fun, being friendly. Maybe he pokes his friends in the ass all the time, I don't know. I sure as hell never poked my friends in the butt. Anyway, so he just did it to be friendly and then he was in tears with teachers and the principal bitching him out. Well, he's got to learn that he can't do that, he'd never do that to one of the "real" teachers here. He'd be cuffed so fast he wouldn't see it coming.

It seems that so many kids here find my buttocks irresistible. I'm always patted, spanked, squeezed or poked by youngsters (usually boys, but there have been a few girls) that I guess I just blew up when Koyo did it. I don't know why so many have this fascination, but they do it because they can get away with it. Because I'm a foreigner. Hence, the sentences at the left.

So I'm trying to catch my breath in the counselor's room in my off period trying to read a book/sleep on the sofa when in walks Geisha Girl. Immediately she sits down and asks if I have a cigarette.

"Don't you have class?"

"Oh, no. I'm special. No class for me." (Sometimes, students just decide to wander around the halls or school grounds, teachers usually won't stop them)

Then she proceeded to tell me how she was in love with the leader of a motorcycle gang (young punk gangster wannabes who race around the city in non-muffled wannabe motorcycles, most of them underaged) because he had the fastest and loudest bike. I knew she had a boyfriend and she said that his bike isn't as loud (I also learned that her boyfriend was arrested the night before for riding without a licence). Geisha Girl's got problems.

Two years ago, I thought that right now I'd be at a university getting my PhD in astrophysics, not getting poked in the butt by little boys or seranaded from windows or signing autographs (at least, not yet, anyway). So on days like this my life seems a little unreal to me. I shake my head and wonder how my life got so strange or messed-up.

But, I don't suppose anyone's life can truly be considered "normal". Everyone's got their own little things going on that if another person heard the whole story they'd think the person was either amazing, crazy, or both.

At my university there were a number of exchange students from Japan who I thought were getting a distorted view of America by living in Irvine(where you need a permit to paint your house and you can't put up a basketball hoop in your driveway). But the same people thought I was getting a distorted view of Japan by coming to rural Wakayama.

But the truth is, personal experience by nature is particular and regardless of someone's situation or circumstances it will always seem strange to the next person; they will always think the other person's view is distorted, slanted. They are them and I am me. So whether I turn out to be a multi-millionaire tychoon, a garbage collector, a world-renowned scientist, or an obscure philosopher my experiences will be mine alone and that makes them strange to everyone else. Everyone sees the world through their own looking-glass.

All my life, I have wanted to live an unusual life, take the road less traveled. But maybe my life's not all that unusual, after all. And maybe that's not so bad.

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