日本FLASHBACK: The Thought That Counts?

24.12.13 ShaSha LaPerf 2 Comments

Hey Hey folks! Man, I wanted to get a post out a little while ago. But I got a bright idea for one of my mom's Christmas gifts and have spent the last week scanning lots...and lots...and lots...of photos to put it together. I'm surprised my scanner didn't explode. :( Anyway since it's so close to Christmas, I've decided to write a Christmas themed post about some slight WTF-ness that happened my last year in Japan.

 During the first year, I worked on Christmas Day. At the time all my friends were out the country, so instead of sitting at home and wallowing in my loneliness I decided to go out clubbing by myself. Yay, fun times. During my second year, my friend Terri was in Japan. We didn't have to work since that year Christmas was on a Sunday, so we'd spent Christmas Eve clubbing (here's the full story of that wackiness), and going to see the group Skoop on Somebody perform. During my final year, I was alone again as Terri had gone back to the US and the other closer friend I had was too busy with her boyfriend to hang out with me while I had a crush on the other friend (and that story is here). So I decided to go back to the states to see my friends and family there.

So this story takes place right before I was leaving Japan for the trip home. Let me give you all a bit more of a back story. At the time I was working at a small eikaiwa that only had about ten teachers. And although there were two female staff members in the office (one of whom was the wife of the boss), I was the only female teacher. Although the AEON Amity school I worked at was all female while I was there (I had replaced a male teacher, and a male teacher replaced me), overall I got a sense that there was a decent mix of men and women when I went to events with other Amity schools. So I was bit taken aback that the new company only had male teachers. And apparently I had been their first female teacher in over a year.

The trouble with being the only female teacher is that at times my male coworkers seemed to forget that I had a vagina. Now I suppose I'm not the most feminine chick out there and Japan is loaded with hot chicks who like to wear cute little dresses and  high heels. However I'd say, my hairstyles, clothing choices, jewelry, and the amount of men that hit on me in Japan, I'd say I was pretty "chick-like." But this seemed to fly over the head of my coworkers. They would invite me out to have drinks with them, but the conversations would quickly delved into the amount of Japanese women they were banging. Okay, okay, I had 1 or 2 married male coworkers that didn't do this, so I can't say it was all of them. But those guys seemed to join in on the camaraderie of it all. Oh wait, I did get one or two comments about how sexy I was from coworkers, so I guess maybe there were times they remembered I had a vagina after all.

Then there were the costumes. On Halloween and Christmas we had to wear company provided costumes. And of course these outfits we for men. Now I'm a tall girl so the costume height wasn't the issue, but my boobs didn't really appreciate them. Except for the Santa Claus outfit I had to wear at Christmas, which basically swallowed me. The messed up thing though is that I actually had a Halloween costume I'd bought for my previous teaching job. LOL no it wasn't sexy kitten on anything like that. But it was against company policy for me to wear it. So my boss goes out and buys a costume for me...Robin Hood...a Men's Robin Hood costume.

So I'm telling you all this to get to this point. It's a few days before Christmas vacation starts at my job and I had a meeting with the office staff. This was a standard meeting, I just had to let them know who had been absent the previous week, who had been acting crazy, blah, blah, blah. So I'm waiting for the meeting to start when the head teacher Thomas comes over to me with a gift bag. I was actually a bit surprised. Although we did have a few staff outings, there was very little mentions of Christmas unless it related to teaching Christmas lessons. I just assumed this had something to do with the nature of Christmas in Japan, so I didn't think anything of it. Still the gift was a surprise.

So in my head I'm actually thinking it's something related to Starbucks. Thomas moonlighted at a Starbucks, so I figured it was just coffee or something.

It's socks.

Men's socks.

At this point I'm not sure if the company thinks I'm really not a woman or if they just decided to show me little fucks.

What bothered me wasn't just that he'd gotten men's socks, but that he'd gotten them from Uniqlo. For those of you that don't know, Uniqlo is a clothing store probably similar to The Gap or Old Navy. There are a few stores in the states, but they're pretty easy to find in Japan. I loved Uniqlo because it was one of the few stores there that actually offered various sizes; a lot of clothing stores in Japan for women are a one size fits all deal. In fact I have a reversible fleece jacket I got from Uniqlo in Tokyo that I still wear today.

So while I wouldn't have expected Thomas to get me a dress or jewelry, Uniqlo is the type of place to sell things like gloves, scarves, hats, and hats. And given that it was winter and chilly, those would've all worked fine for me. Shoot I would've taken the coffee from Starbucks, and I don't even drink fucking coffee!!! Random note but the first time I ever had Starbucks was in Japan.

Thomas must've noticed the look on my face since he said something like he got everyone the same gift, I guess meaning that he just grabbed them all without thinking too much? I suppose it was irrational and ungrateful, but I was pissed off at those socks. This was coming after months of dealing with some of the earlier stuff I'd mentioned. So yeah, I was pretty annoyed at getting men's socks.

However I didn't say anything about it to him. I felt like my comments would have been a "When Keepin' It Real Goes Wrong" Moment. I had some emergency funds in case I ever needed to get home, and finding a new job probably wouldn't have been that difficult. But at the time, I just thank him and take the socks. And In my head I'm counting down the number of months I had left with the company.

And when it came time for a contract renewal, I was quick to say "No thanks." Besides they weren't giving me any incentives to stay at the job and I was ready to return home anyway to go back to school.

By the way, the teacher that replace me was a guy.

So that's it. Since then I haven't gotten any more WTF gifts from coworkers. Actually have gotten some pretty cool stuff like a mug with dinosaurs that turns into fossils when the cup is hot. Hoping that streak of cool gifts keeps going!


  1. Lol at the socks! Coworker gifts are rarely a hit. I remember some white coworkers gave me a giant bulky sweater the precise color of my skin. Gee, thanks. Now I can play a bloated corpse for Halloween next year.

    Sounds like your coworkers were typical gaijin guys: treating Japan as a wonderland of endless easy sex. Since you were the only woman, and you weren't a Japanese woman, it was hard for them to know how to treat you.

    This kinda reminds me of a lunch I had a couple of weeks ago. 6 Japanese guys aged 19-26, and me. It didn't take long for two of the hornier guys to launch into lengthy and detailed sex talk. Sigh. For one thing, their comments revealed to me that neither of those guys actually knows how to fuck. They thought they sounded so masculine and such, but I was making mental notes to the contrary lol. For another thing, I didn't particularly care to hear that! Men suck sometimes.

    Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

  2. Same to you joyful!!!

    Even though I was annoyed he gave me those socks, I actually did wear them, LOL.

    I had known about the Charisma men types before I went to Japan, but I was actually surprised by their attitudes when I actually came in contact with them. One of the guys who seemed bent on being extremely obnoxious was eventually fired. But not every guy was this nuts, one of my male coworkers was a pretty cool dude who still lives in Japan and blogs about ramen shops across the country.

    LOL at those J-guys' conversation. I guess that is a plus, it's easier for you to see who the assholes and the clueless guys are! Just put a mental "X" stamp on there forehead!