Monday, January 11, 2016

Call me MISTER Loco!

loco mr2

At the close of class, my co-worker, as is her custom, told the class to thank us...and as usual she screws it up. Something I've corrected her on EVERY time (except the other day). But I was back to myself yesterday! It went a little something like this: Class: Thank you Ms.Tanaka Tanaka: ...and say thank you and goodbye to Loco. Class: Thank you Loco. Bye bye. Me (to Tanaka): "Mister" Loco. Tanaka (giggles embarrassed) I mean--     But the damage was done she realized as usual, and apologized, as usual. And didn't bother to get the class to say it again using the "mister". Usually I would walk out the class with the vague hope that she'll remember the incident next time...but clearly this is one of those cases where that definition of insanity (doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results) is called into question. So... Me (to Tanaka): You know, I had a big discussion about this with a lot of people yesterday. Tanaka: about what? Me: About this Japanese tendency to drop all formalities and respectful titles when non-Japanese are concerned. (Stunned gawking silence at my directness...she's good at English so she GOT me) Tanaka: I...I... Me: Now, I don't blame you. Nor the kids. It's just an aspect of the culture that isn't easy to negotiate. Everything around you reinforces that Japanese rules only apply to Japanese and that non-Japanese, by that very definition, are to be seen and treated differently. Tanaka: I'm sorry-- Me: I know many non-Japanese here, working in all sorts of industries, from teaching to office workers to entertainment, etc...and many endure this same problem. And I gotta tell ya, even though it's being done innocently in most cases, it's a difficult one to negotiate and remain respectful of the people doing it. Some people look at this tendency as a sort of handicap but I don't want to think of a whole nation of people as mentally challenged. you know? Tanaka stood silently shaking her head in apparent comprehension and commiseration. Me: Well, anyway, the talk was inconclusive. We landed Somewhere between choosing to retaliate by ignoring or calling Japanese by their first names too, and surrendering and saving our energy and righteousness for more substantial battles. I'm torn personally. The problem for me is, I think of this school as my sanctuary from the non-stop foolishness I have to endure on the streets. So I think I need to fight the good fight in here to keep it that way. You know? She didn't know what to say. Me: Anyway, I know you got a next class and so do I. If you wanna talk about it later, I'd love to hear your thoughts. That was yesterday. Today, at the end of class... Tanaka: ...and say thank you and goodbye to Loco-- Me: smh... Baye PS: Sign-up for my Locohama Newsletter and you'll be the first to know about upcoming stuff, be kept up on happenings in this part of the world, and a lot of exclusive content as well... mailchimp form 2  

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