Odds shorten for tourist car smash in Tokyo

A tragic accident in Tokyo featuring tourists and novelty sized racing cars is expected sooner rather than later.  That was the message this week from a bunch of bookies who have been keeping an eye on stuff like that for the past ten years.

The odds of a bloody go-cart disaster, an indication of the likelihood of a global headline grabbing traffic pile-up, have been updated to 6-1 for this calendar year – the shortest they’ve ever been. It was the first time the odds had been updated since Japan re-opened to foreign tourism.  First advertised in 2013 by power-boat race bookies looking to open up an unexplored market, the odds are usually updated according to movements in foreign tourism trends.  As well as assessing risks from inexperience in driving on Tokyo roads, the bookies incorporate factors such as weather, annoyed taxi drivers, and the wearing of non-descript character costumes.

The latest betting data was adjusted “largely but not exclusively due to the consolidation of the Euro’s gain against the Yen,” said veteran bookie Honebuto Shunsuke in a statement.  A number of other issues have played a role in moving the odds south, including the popularity of all things Japanese amongst backpackers, and growing signs of impatience from men driving trucks with Chiba number plates.

“We are living in a time of buoyant tourism, with people seeking their own personal oriental fantasyland, and the odds reflect that reality,” Honebuto, who has been chief odds-maker at the Great Kanto Track Betting Agency for 14 years, said yesterday.  “Let me make it clear that I am not licking my lips in anticipation of a horrific accident.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are not selling a chance to experience schadenfreude here.  All we’re doing is presenting the likelihood of an accident involving some vehicles which, quite frankly, shouldn’t be on the road.” 

Honebuto continued by highlighting other key elements that are in play.  “These dodgem cars are being driven by groups of Italians, Koreans, and miscellaneous South Americans with a disturbingly high interest in certain Japanese sub-cultures.  Some of them are women, some of them are into Formula 1 racing, and none of them have any experience on central Tokyo roads.  In addition to that, they are probably not giving due attention to the traffic 100% of the time.  The male drivers, in particular, ogle the local women as though they are all anime darlings.

“Look, this is a city where people are forced to work their tits off.  Half of these guys just get a twenty minute break to scoff down some noodles before going back to their soul-destroying jobs.  They’re generally a bunch of loners who don’t really appreciate being treated like museum exhibits by people from overseas.  It’s only a matter of time before one of them snaps, and these little cars waiting at traffic lights are easy targets.  We want to see Japan hitting the headlines for good things like cleaning stadiums or getting another world heritage listing.  Things like politicians being killed or tourists being stomped while waiting for the lights to change just make people uncomfortable.”

Tsuba Haku, spokesperson for the Japanese Culture Preservation Society, asked how such a scene would look if the situation were reversed.  “How would Americans react to seeing Japanese tourists driving around in vehicles out of The Wacky Races?  And how would the English feel if young Japanese people starting riding around London on tandem bicycles, like they did in The Goodies?  Obviously this would never happen because The Goodies was never actually shown in Japan, but I’m sure you get the point.”

Always happy to weigh into any conversation that has a whiff of anti-American sentiment, Haku (a proud user of the hair tonic that’s available in the changing rooms of traditional bathhouses) went on to pour scorn on westerners’ chopstick skills, pronunciation of Japanese words, “unsophisticated tastebuds”, and even their style of walking, before commenting very rudely on the calibre of Japanese people who have intimate relations with them.

Anti-gambling spokesperson, Saoko Shikan, has described the betting as abhorrent and anti-foreigner.  “They deny it, but I think that they have indeed set up a betting market based entirely on ill-will with this. Enthusiastic, yet poorly dressed westerners and Asians are coming here and living it large.  Japan hasn’t been this cheap and appealing since the 1960’s.  Many locals would love to see some of these fun-loving tourists falling flat on their faces, and some are even prepared to profit from it.  Now, how transparent are these gambling laws?  What’s going to stop someone putting a small fortune down, and then causing an accident?  This is what troubles me.

“These visitors from overseas have seen a few movies and they just want to play out some of the scenarios that they’ve seen.  They want to go to karaoke at midnight.  They want to run through a pachinko hall.  They want to speak a couple of words of Japanese, and make a connection with someone who’s largely indifferent to what they want.  But, what’s wrong with that?  Who are these people hurting?  Let them enjoy our unique four seasons and superior service standards.  Let’s just be nice and compliment them on their Japanese skills, and then bag them out on twitter later.”

White women in Japan “just need to lower their standards”

Fingers brush and hearts skip. Could this lead to even more adventure in Tokyo?

“She turned me down without comprehending the situation, her situation.  She needs to know that I can get laid on a rainy Tuesday night in Nagoya, and that would be with a person that I found sexually desirable.  Could she say the same thing?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the answer would be no.”

Vermont-born stud Jake Hamilton pulled no punches as he described the socio-dynamic circumstances into which he wandered in impossibly cool Ebisu last Saturday night.  Jake was shot down in flames after repeatedly inviting an “ok looking chick” who has “probably watched too much Friends and Sex & The City” back to his plush pad near Roppongi Ichome Station.

The relatively palatial pad that could have been the setting for unbridled sex sessions.

“Does she seriously think that she can do better than me in Tokyo?” pondered Jake as he began punching down on people whose parents weren’t blessed with the means to pay their way through college.  “Is she prepared to go with a canon-fodder ranked marine or, even worse, a kindergarten teacher!?  By inviting her back to my well-furnished, spacious apartment in Minato-ku, I was doing her a service.  Do you get what I’m saying?  There was a power balance there that she wasn’t recognising.  I really hope she was happy sleeping alone on the futon rolled out on her tatami in a building which creaks unnervingly when a truck rolls by.”

Some young women like to LARP as though they do nothing but hang out with fair-weather friends in New York coffee shops.

It was at this point that Jake turned philosophical.  “A big thing in getting laid, in all dating for that matter, is the human element – and that is unpredictability.  It is said that beautiful women go with beautiful men, and average women go with average men.  That’s supposed to be nature’s natural selection, so to speak.  But, it’s not always the case.  Just ask people like Mel Brooks, Billy Joel, and the vast horde of ordinary looking white guys in Japan who date attractive Japanese women.”

Jake says that this incident was simply an example of a handsome guy with an impressive success rate encountering a woman with extremely ambitious expectations for a sex partner.  “Her way of thinking, wishful though it may be regarded now, is probably in its last days of being rational.  In a year or two such a description would probably be generous.  And by that I mean that she’s going to be considered… y’know… I’d prefer not to say it, but she’ll probably be walking the same path as Norma Desmond, Madonna, and Princess Diana if she were still alive.  We’ll never know for sure about Princess Diana, of course, but she’d probably be embarrassing herself in some way just like the others.”

Some women simply prefer to have a girls-night-out as though they have rich dads and live in stylish LA mansions in 1997.

Although unreligious, Jake set about delivering a mea culpa of rather deep proportions.  “It is difficult to maintain a 90% success rate when targeting one particular demographic which is known to be discerning.  You can see that there are many aspects of nanpa to consider.  I need a more considered approach, concentration over longer periods, a realisation that near-enough is not good enough, more attention to detail, eradication of mistakes, and perseverance even if mistakes are made, and the knowledge that approaches based on assumptions can never be successful approaches.”

After days of painstaking research, I managed to track down the woman who rebuffed Jake thanks to his sharp memory and the incredibly accurate description (“late 20’s, kinda cute in a political science way with European rather than American proportions, but definitely not hot or anything”) that he provided.  So, after inquiring as to why she had declined Jake’s invitation to accompany him back to his plush apartment, she explained succinctly that he had come across as “a bit of a dick”.

Canadian’s sturdy buttocks intimidate local men

Quelle belle paire de belles fesses!

In a country where simply asking a short, simple question in English can scare the daylights out of people, a new target of fear has emerged; one man’s ultra-sexy derrière.  Dennis Bradmore is an unassuming 34 year old from Toronto whose parents moved there from Trinidad when he was just a little baby.  They moved there to give their children a bright, rosy future full of opportunity, but then Dennis broke their hearts by moving to Japan to teach English.

“I had to walk up and down a lot of steep slopes during my commute to elementary school,” explains Bradmore.  “I’ve never gone out of my way to enhance my bottom, like some kind of Los Angeles gym bunny who then dons lycra to stroll through the local shopping area showing the whole world his package.  I was blessed with the right DNA though, and my buttocks must have been helped by the cricket bowling practice that my my father forced on me.  Too bad I disappointed him by losing all interest in the sport when I was fourteen.”

Spellbound, yet full of fear! One man just can’t take his eyes of Bradmore’s hot ass

Bradmore arrived in Japan with his Japanese wife Shinobu four years ago and immediately did his best to blend in with the locals.  With such dreamy buns, however, it was always going to be a tough task.  “I made my local stand-up bar debut where I mingled with the local dropkicks.  They seemed to avoid me though, as if I had AIDS or something.  I couldn’t work it out.  I guess I ended up assuming that racism was a factor.”

Bradmore’s assumption turned out to be extremely wide of the mark.  Sure, his drinking companions were a pretty narrow-minded bunch, but it was more a problem of the shape of his ass rather than the color of it.  Bradmore hadn’t experienced such a reaction over physical appearance since he introduced his girlfriend to his parents.  On that occasion his father expressed sadness over his girlfriend’s small breasts, but Bradmore’s ass has brought out a completely different set of emotions amongst those surrounding him. 

Privacy loving Bradmore wouldn’t allow face pics to be taken, but gave us carte blanche to photograph his bum.

“I only really found out about the fear factor when I commenced a physical relationship with the Mama-san from the bar.  She couldn’t keep her hands off my ass, and she eventually told me of the power that it held, and the power that she was trying to possess.  To be honest, I didn’t know what to say in response to that.”

One local old guy took time out from cycling up and down the main street with no apparent reason to discuss  Bradmore.  “He’s a pretty ordinary looking guy,” said Masataka Wakasagi.  “If I ever happened to have a female in my life, I wouldn’t be too worried about him stealing her away from me.  But, when you see his backside you can see that it must be very alluring to so many young ladies who want to get to grips with it.  My ass is flat.  I want to wear trousers like Gene Kelly, but I can’t fill them.  This Canadian’s buttocks only remind me of my rear shortcomings.”

Ohtani – Most Valuable Posterior

Shishunki Obeka, another regular patron of the downmarket, no-frills bar offered another similar perspective.  “We Japanese cannot help but feel inferior to a man with such masculine buns.  We have padded bras in abundance in this country.  Why can’t we have padded underpants to give us more confidence?  Over the past fifty years Japanese height, breasts, and muscles have all been growing at an impressive rate.  Isn’t it time for our buttocks to take shape?

“Some Japanese guys do have dreamy buttocks.  We’re talking about those famous baseballers like Ichiro, Matsui and Ohtani.  They’re out there representing us on the big stage, and they’re doing their bit to build the self-esteem of their Japanese brothers back home.  Too many of us are at home playing games and playing with ourselves.  We should have the courage to strut and swagger like the white guys and the black guys in North America.  That comes from the confidence of having a super ass, and that’s what we are lacking.”

Bradmore’s fruity buns are unavoidable at the tachinomi stand-up bar

Ushigome University Psychology Faculty Senior Lecturer, Professor Misugi Nogizaka, asserted that it wasn’t unusual to see such a reaction to beautifully constructed body parts.  “I’ve spent hours monitoring the behaviour of peacocks, who display loads of antagonism toward others with more dynamic plumage,” he explained between sips of green tea and occasional nibbles of manju.  “It gets really nasty.  In a similar vein, I’ve even noticed this among kangaroos who sport perhaps the most visible set of testicles out of all animals.  They’ll distance themselves from the one with the biggest, heaviest set of plums.  So, it’s not just seen in Japanese men with tiny asses.”

For Bradmore, an unwitting source of both admiration and anger, an uneasy balance in his life continues.  “It’s like walking along a tightrope when I go into the bar these days,” he says with a touch of exasperation.  “Have I become more conscious of my bum?  Yes.  Am I prouder of it?  Kind of.  Do I exercise in order to enhance or maintain its sexiness?  No.  Do I spend more time asking myself questions about it?  Yes.  But, I’d like to remind people that there’s more to me than just a shapely backside.  I am a person with plenty of anecdotes to tell, and jokes to share.  I’m a pleasure to be around, and my wife lets me lead my life the way that I desire. I would urge people to approach me for engaging conversation; all people, including men.  Although, deep down, I’d prefer to spend time with open-minded women aged between 25 and 35, even 40 if I’m going through a drought.”

100th onigiri wrapper successfully shoved into Kanagawa hedge

Censorship Alert! Our Japanese minder steered us away from the hedge in question, insisting that we only photograph the picturesque immaculate ones.

“We Japanese love nature, and we also love nature when it’s been tweaked,” says Hirotaka Suzu as he points to the trash impregnated hedge in his local park. “Of course, one man’s tweaking can be another man’s total and complete conquering.”

It’s customary for Suzu’s wife to kick him out of the house immediately after breakfast and tell him not to come home until sunset.  On rainy days he hangs out of the local library or the waiting room on the local station platform. On the odd occasion, he can also be found occupying one of those “rest corners” of the supermarket for a few hours at a time. A fine day, however, will see him voluntarily patrolling local parks on his rusty bicycle.

A confident first tear is important to show that you are assertive and down with the unique ways of Japan.

“This hedge will be my legacy when I go. What’s wrong with curating it in my own inimitable style?” ponders Suzu. “Occasionally I’ll kill two birds with one stone and urinate into the hedge while I shove a wrapper in.  We charming old folk like to do that sometimes.  Japanese workers have a reputation for working long unproductive hours, but when the situation demands we can use time really effectively.”

Although rainy days bring a cleansing rinse and respite for the hedge while the old man takes refuge from the elements, one disgusted local resident has attempted to help the hedge even further by excessively spraying it with kitchen disinfectant.  “I use this stuff all the time,” she explained.  “I have complete faith in it ridding this poor hedge of vile bacteria from all these old wrappers as I use it throughout my house twice a day, every single day of the year.”

Note that #5 is missing, where it shows how to shove the wrapper into a hedge.

Muneyoshi Kasabura, a botanist working to highlight the scourge of plastic wrappers in nature, announced that the hedge was now more plastic than natural.  “One hundred onigiri wrappers may not sound like much to a casual observer, but you have to consider that a hedge is not a solid block.  There was a lot of space between the branches and leaves to begin with.  Therefore, it doesn’t take that much to turn it into a vassal for something artificial, kind of like how a Christmas Tree can easily look overwhelmed by globes, tinsel, and stars.

“A hedge is not always a tight bundle of branches and leaves like we might imagine,” explained Kasabura as he recorded each and every wrapper sighting using the old-fashioned pen and clipboard combination.  “Some hedges have seen better days, but they are now sparse, full of botanic inertia, and lacking in woody content, much like an old man’s underpants.”

The price of a well-kept hedge is eternal vigilance.

Suzu explains that he is not an inconsiderate old man, but rather a retiree in search of a purpose. “I’m not responsible enough to monitor the garbage collection point, and unlike many fossils I’m not a fan of the Keirin cycle racing.  After an unsavoury and unhygienic incident that I caused, I’m also banned from the local stand-up bar, so becoming the neighbourhood lurker was the only practical option left open to me. 

“My wife’s terse attitude only strengthened my resolve to carry out this duty (of disposing plastic wrappers into hedges) properly, because I have to be out of the house all day.  What can I say? I do my bit to play an active role in the community. I creepily stare at schoolgirls, befoul nature, and spit loogies on the sidewalk.  As you can see, I’m performing to a point where I’m possibly exceeding expectations.”

Eyebrows raised as “Mr Grammar” quits English Conversation School

The end of a successful power meeting, where big teaching moves were discussed.

Joel Di Venuto is, in his own words, the last of the great, old-fashioned, leather elbow-patch adorned, wry-humored English teachers.  He’s been a touch more impassive than the average Eikawa teacher.  He has chastised Sunshine English Academy management at almost every opportunity for its lack of respect and loyalty, and its apparent refusal to find a mutually agreeable solution.  And now, sadly, the struggle between employer and star employee has come to a disappointing end.  

“This morning I handed the student liaison clerk a final note stating that unless I heard from the owner by 11 o’clock that he was prepared at once to grant me a pay rise, a contract would no longer exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently I am now officially between jobs. Sunshine may be a language school, but now it behaves more like a soulless corporate entity.

Deal done – the power brokers of the Eikawa industry.

“You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that my long struggle to get a better contract has failed. Yet, I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different that I could have done that would have been more successful.”

So, after all these years, Di Venuto is moving on after being offered a similar position at the Sunbeam English Academy.  “They seem like a good bunch, and the KFC opposite them has a nice, modern, eat-in area.  Only drug dealers use the KFC restaurant in my home town; it has a real ghetto vibe.  But, I think eating at this KFC will be a pleasant experience.”

The “Non-ghetto” KFC.

Adopting the tone of a person who overthinks just about everything,  the Portland native adds,  “This isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly.  I had to talk to my family, my girlfriends (sic), and a couple of guys in my international guest house.”

Despite living in the same place for 15 years, and working at the same company for just as long, Joel sees himself as a free spirit.  “People ask me the same questions all the time.  They want to know why I don’t commit to a normal relationship.  They want to know why I don’t open my own business.  But that’s not me, y’know.  I see myself as one of those characters in a Bob Dylan song; a gypsy man, or a travellin’ man.  A guy who’s free from borders and responsibility.  People also ask me why the hell I’m still living in a gaijin house.”

Some big league corporate language institutes prefer to crunch numbers in pleasant, relaxing surroundings, but don’t let that fool you; they can be just as ruthless as stuffy boardroom types.

A free spirit he may be, but there’s no compromising or deviation from the target language in the classroom.  “If you can’t handle present perfect and reported speech, you have no place in my advanced class,” explains Di Venuto.  “Pack your bags and go down the hall to the intermediate class or, better still, the beginner class.  Don’t waste my time.”

Di Venuto is philosophical about his move to a new school, and he’s doing his best to convince himself that he’s moving in the right direction.  “Every year the owner there has cherry picked the most promising and the hottest students.  I’d do the same if I were in his position.  It left me to work my magic on the second tier ladies.  Some were quite beautiful to look at, but they weren’t very shapely.  On the odd occasion when I overstepped the teacher/student boundary and entered into a physical relationship,  it was usually with a skinny woman.  How was it?  Well, have you ever tried to have sex with a deck chair?  It was like that.”  

The final click that would move Di Venuto on to the next chapter of his career

Realising that he was digressing, Di Venuto corrected himself,  “Can we… Can we talk about my professional career now?  I don’t want to talk about those battery chickens.  I have weathered the changes in the language industry, and I intend to shine at Sunbeam.  They’ve got a coffee machine and a refrigerator in their staff room, too.”

Whether they be American, French, or German, veteran language teachers in Tokyo get a bad rap.  People assume that they can’t speak or read Japanese, or can’t code or do anything that the labour market demands.  Indeed, they are seen as complete and utter chumps by some people.  But some, like Di Venuto, have language teaching in their veins.  “When I go home people ask me, `Hey Joel, why do you do it man? Are you some kinda classroom junkie?’ You know what I say? I don’t say a goddamn word. Why? They don’t understand. They don’t understand why we do it. They don’t understand that it’s about the vocab and the grammar in front of you, and that’s it. That’s all it is.”

Chiba woman concerned by husband’s lack of sympathy

“I always pictured the two of us sitting down to watch dramas on terrestrial tv once or twice a week, consuming the advertised products, before making love on the the odd occasion.  I saw him as a man of compassion, honour, and money.  But, I can see his true side coming to the fore, and I’m not entirely comfortable with what I’m seeing.”

Marika Shirinaka is referring to her husband Junta’s disinterest in the so-called human dramas of which she is an avid fan.  The latest hit drama, “God… Give Me Strength”, is a 13 episode series featuring a young woman with the world at her feet who then discovers that she has brain cancer.  That’s the first and second episode.  Then, for the rest of the series, she slowly dies.  

“He told me that he didn’t want to waste his time watching a depressing series full of tired old cliché.  Can you believe that!?” asked the 27 year old engineering assistant.  “This is such an emotionally enriching drama featuring some of Japan’s most talented actors.  You can see that in the way that they cry real tears and shout irrationally.  That’s really good acting when someone does that.  And yet, he can’t appreciate any of this.  He said he’d rather watch “F is for Family”, “Archer”, or paint dry.”

Disappointed by the her hard-working investment officer husband’s lack of caring, Marika has spent time contemplating how she can improve the current situation.  “I think there’s an emotional gulf opening up between us, so the only option I have to is to have an affair with someone who enjoys these kinds of programs.  I wouldn’t do anything brazen like jump into bed with just anyone though. 

“First, the handsome guy would have to treat me to a fancy dinner and then take me to a nice hotel, just like they do in the romantic dramas that I enjoy.  During dinner we’d talk about the drama and guess where the story was heading.  If he were to roll his eyes and say, “Well, obviously the main character is going to die,” that would be the end of it though.  I’d silently finish the dinner and then leave the posh restaurant alone.  I get enough sarcasm and black humour at home, thank you very much.”

Licking her lips at the thought of an exciting affair, Marika seems determined to dip her toes into the extra-marital pool and appears to have no second thoughts.  “If he (the man to with whom she recently vowed to spend her life while forsaking all others) can’t bring himself to care about a fictional character in a situation that we’ve all seen on tv a hundred times before, then how can I expect him to care for our very own child, or a cat, or two cats.”

The Cruelty of an Englishman

The contentment of an Englishman; Earl Grey with a bit of lemon.

Kayo Hashimoto was just 24 years old when she fell in love with her English knight in shining armour.  “Roy was my English teacher at a run-of-the-mill school in Ichikawa.  The other teachers were dorks, but Roy wasn’t.  That was the magic with Roy; he wasn’t a dork.”

Roy Atkinson, the then 27 year old non-dork of the teaching staff, was able to read the air, take Kayo out to a British pub, and then get her back to his flat for wild sex.  So wild was the sex, that Kayo believed that she would have trouble anchoring Roy down when they married a year later.  

The expectations of an Englishman; the egg and the beans on the toast.

Little did she know, however, of the strict rules that would come with living with an Englishman.  “It started with his insistence that the scrambled eggs must be placed on the toast, and served up while piping hot.  He explained it all to me with an air of great urgency, like your mother telling you to wear fresh knickers every day.”

The strict breakfast regime wasn’t restricted to the plate, either.  “I put milk in my cup of Earl Grey tea, and that triggered him too.  He went on a rant telling me that only a slice of lemon could ever be added to Earl Grey.  This was all done in the manner of your mother telling you to wipe your bum after doing a poo.   He makes out that I’m the thick one, when he can’t cook a meal without over-boiling every single thing, and he mispronounces every other Japanese name and place with no sense of awareness.”

The acceptance of an Englishman; a plate so full that he overlooks the sight of the beans coming into direct contact with the plate.

Atkinson’s rules extend to just one seasonal tradition, but just by itself it shames the famed Japanese love of the four seasons.  “Every year from late November he turns into a Christian and tries to win arguments simply by reminding me that it’s almost Christmas and I should be more considerate.  Just the slightest micro-aggression will prompt him to go on and on about Christmas time being a time for caring about others. And, all he ever does for Christmas is buy me some saucy lingerie so that he can play out his Page 3 fantasies with me.”

Those fantasies usually require Hashimoto to dress up as a headmistress and then command Atkinson to “assume the position”.  After that various disciplinary acts must be carried out, much to the chagrin of Hashimoto.  “I’ve been told by many men that I look so sweet in my old high school uniform.  I iron the pleats regularly and have some knee-high socks ready to wear, but instead he wants me to behave like an older woman with authority.  Sometimes I think his ideal woman is that older woman in Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.”

The no-nonsense 80’s headmistress; the go-to fantasy for many an Englishman.

“The chocolate must be Cadbury’s,” continues Hashimoto.  “If J-League football is on television he has to observe that the standard is well below the Premier League, and the top three buttons on his shirts have to be done up when hanging them out to dry.  Then there are boobs.  He has to comment on every woman’s boobs when we watch a tv program.  This one has shapely boobs.  That one has enormous ones.  This one is obviously wearing a padded bra.  No pair of tits on tv can escape his critical eye.  I think he’s just watched too many Benny Hill re-runs.”

Despite their differences, Hashimoto concedes that they do have some common ground.  “As a couple, we’re only truly happy when we’re on an overseas holiday.  That’s when we can be as arrogant and as blinkered as each other.  You see, I waltz around referring to everyone as a gaijin, while he happily refers to everyone as a foreigner.”

Confessionanism!? Nagoya Teachers’ Conspiracy exposed

It has come to light that half a dozen bored English teachers have been telling students for years about a completely fake milestone that is “celebrated” in western countries.  The practice of teaching the made-up custom, called a “Confessionanism”, has been going on for years, and it was only through an investigation carried out by a humourless, by-the-book middle manager that the conspiracy was exposed.

According to a leaked paper, the teachers have taught hundreds of business students about the fictional custom after coming up with the idea during a long drinking session at a well-known British chain pub.  43 year old Sandy Coughlan, who bravely followed up on vague student comments related to the “custom”, said that it was a disgusting idea conceived by a bunch of immature men who should know better. She expressed concern over the damage that the practice has caused, as well as shedding light on the bizarre story.  

“The Confessionanism is supposed to be a custom where people who, upon turning 60 years of age, announce the names of ten people who they’ve thought about while pleasuring themselves,” explained a terse-faced Coughlan.  “They told students that it was largely, but not only, men who observed the custom.  They also said that the confessions were made at 60th birthday parties attended by family and friends, with each name being met with enthusiastic oohs and aahs from the revellers.  They peddled the idea that people generally applauded loudly after all ten names had been read out.  It was said that the advantage of revealing the lists at the age of 60 was that it would still be possible for the news to reach people like former Sunday School teachers, friends’ mothers, and local news readers while they were still alive.”

Coughlan went on to reveal that some students had actually adopted the custom and announced their own lists of wank fantasies at their own 60th birthday parties.  “One impressionable man revealed stuff that was beyond humiliating.  He talked about dedicating loads to his sister and one of his aunties.  He went as far as to include the scenarios and the clothes that they were wearing.  If I recall correctly, he always thought about his sister in a skirt and knee-high boots, and his auntie in her yoga pants.  God only knows what went through their minds when they heard all of this come out at his Confessionanism.   And, yes, I do feel just a little dirty having to use this word.  I’m only saying it because I have to.”

One of the conspiracists, who would only talk on the condition that he be allowed to use the pseudonym “Raj” (although readers should take care not assume his background on the basis of that pseudonym), stated that it was all a bit of harmless fun which developed beyond their control.  “I think we should look at this as a guide to how much our students’ comprehension skills improved during their courses,” said the 37 year old JAV enthusiast.  “It should also serve as a guide as to how to get students engaged in their language studies.   Just look at our results; we’ve seen half a dozen marriages ruined due to these Confessionanisms.  How about that guy who gave a shout out to all his art teachers from elementary school, junior high school, high school, high school, and college!  The entire time he was only doing art in order to satisfy his fetish!  What a madlad!

“We covered our bases by agreeing on the origins of the custom too.  When the question was asked, we told students that the custom harkened back to Victorian England, when promiscuity wasn’t so prevalent.  There were women spinsters who died as virgins which was really sad.  Anyway, we told everyone that to cheer the lonely librarians and nurses up, men would confess to having beaten their bishops while thinking about them in their younger days.  We told everyone that that’s how the custom started. We also told everyone not to go looking on the Internet as it was so deep and spiritual that nobody wrote about it.

“As for the limit of ten names, we explained to students that some Confessionanisms had included up to forty or fifty names. In some cases, we explained, almost every woman in the village was being named. Nasty! Therefore, it became expedient and much less creepy to introduce a limit. That’s what we told hundreds of our students, and lots of them ate it up. It was all in good fun, and not that much harm was done. The people who got divorced probably would have got divorced for some other reason at some point.”

None of this impressed the indefatigable Coughlan, however. “It is clear that this perverted little game has had far-reaching repercussions, and I feel that it is my duty to make sure that the teachers responsible are duly punished.  I would not lose any sleep if they are disproportionately punished, to be honest.  Their behaviour has been appalling, and it could even harm the integrity of the English language teaching industry in Japan.”  Keen to make her own position clear on the matter, Coughlan made a pre-emptive strike on malicious gossip that could possibly greet the outrageous news.  “May I just add that, before any nasty rumours spread, I’m not getting all high and mighty and ranting about all of this just because none of these students have included me in their Top 10.”

Just the thought of a non-Japanese person asking her one simple question takes old lady out of her comfort zone

“I don’t drink coffee I take green tea, my dear.

Despite the vocab being able to be learnt by anyone with a pulse in one minute, and the context being easily understood by anyone who has ever lived in the civilised world at anytime since the Victorian era, 74 year old Masako Shiwahada refuses to get it.

I was doing work experience, for an article, in a rural tofu shop when I encountered Shiwahada. After personally trying to teach her the line, “Does this bus go to Tokyo?” along with the yes or no answer, I asked her bluntly in Japanese what her problem was.  “I can’t speak English.  It’s difficult,” said Masako, before asking, “Do you understand?  You’re not Japanese, so you can’t understand what I’m saying.  Oh…  Why…?  What should I do…?”

Totoro or a foreigner coming here, which would be scarier?

After reassuring the pathetic old woman that my self-assessed Level 3 Japanese skills were more than adequate to converse with her, I set about interviewing other greying locals to see if the whole town was similarly blinkered.  I chatted to six of them who all enthusiastically engaged in my impromptu English lesson.  It was during our chats that I politely enquired about Shiwahada’s problem.  

“Oh… That goose!?” giggled 83 year old Moe Mukashi.  “She’s the type who still finds oversized tennis raquets to be cutting edge humour.”  91 year old Takashi Mukai added, “Get this – she actually believes that World War II ended in a draw!  She lapped up all that stuff about Japan choosing to formally accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, as though there were other rational options available.”

A bus whisking the traveller away to the metropolis.

Eager to give Shiwahada an opportunity to get her point across, we sat down with a person who I’d roped in as an interpreter, as Shiwahada still doubted that I could indeed understand her.  Dabbing her face constantly with a handkerchief she faced the interpreter and explained why five words of English were beyond her.  “To be honest, I’ve got no idea when to use ha, ga, de, or ni when I speak Japanese. I just throw them in randomly. So, what hope do I have with another language? 

“I just want to live in traditional Japan adding miso and mirin to everything that I cook. I can also do without any outsiders messing with my wa, yet I’m happy leading a comfortable life thanks to our generous trade deal with America that none of their allies ever got.  Oh… I would, however, still like the Vienna Boys Choir to come here every year, because I still have the right to get sexually aroused in the way I desire.”