I'm assigned to three different Japanese middle schools. The grade levels are ichinensei,
ninensei, and sannensei. These translate to "1st years," "2nd years," and "3rd years," and are
equivalent to American 7-9th grades. So the kids are about 12-15 years old. The ichinensei are
just beginning to learn English. So this means they know nothing. Well, they know "Good
Morning" and "I go to school by bike" but that's about it. Some of them don't even know that.
You know what's kind of funny though? Some kids can't yet say "Good morning" but damn near all
of them can ask if I have a big dick
. Or "bigu dikku" in Engrish
(now Gaijin Chronicles
) is the story of Jeffrey "Azrael" Windham, an African-American who moved to Japan as part of the JET teacher exchange program. It originally started as a blog called I Am a Japanese Schoolteacher
, about his experiences teaching English at two middle schools in a Japanese town, but has since moved to its own domain and going further into his experiences as a foreigner in the Land of the Rising Sun, even after he moved on from that job.
The term Gaijin Smash is about the "ability" foreigners — especially large
foreigners — in Japan seem to have that allows them to often ignore certain customs (and at one point, jump a train turnstile without paying) through sheer force of will and/or Refuge in Audacity
(doubly so for Az, given that he's seen as a Scary Black Man
In June 2010, the blog switched names to the "Gaijin Chronicles". It has been going through Schedule Slip
as the most recent post occurred in January 2012.
Gaijin Smash provides examples of the following tropes:
- Arch-Enemy: "Watson". Kid spends three years of his junior high school life pretty much constantly attacking Az's butt/penis whenever possible; when Az questions him on this, he responds "Honestly, does it even matter at this point?"
- Arson Murder and Jaywalking: After a girls' dodgeball game Az was watching unexpectedly turned from timid to violent, he said if he was in a house and had the choice of facing "a group of Japanese girls in K-Groove Jack Bauer berserker mode" downstairs or "Freddy Krueger, Jason, the masked guy from the Scream movies, Predators, Aliens, and Céline Dion singing the Titanic song" upstairs, he’d go upstairs and take his chances, because he’d actually have a remote chance of coming out of it alive.
- Ass Shove: Kancho.
- Butt Monkey: Az's opinion of himself. "I am officially God’s court jester or something."
- Comic Sutra: The Octopus.
- Compensated Dating: As Azreal notes, it's not unusual to see a teenaged girl walking down the street with an older man on one arm and a handbag she clearly can't afford by herself on the other.
- Cool vs. Awesome: One English class where Az asks his students to roleplay ends up with "Barack Obama" meeting "Jack Bauer". All parties agree this is something that needs to happen in Real Life.
- Cuteness Proximity
- Dirty Old Woman
- Funny Foreigner: As of November 2009, Az has done some sketch comedies on Japanese programs that require one of these.
- Groin Attack: It's bad enough that Az's kids have heard of the "black guys/big penises" stereotype. At least a couple of the more adventurous ones try to grab his trouser snake.
- Hospital Hottie: Hot Nurse.
- I Have to Wash My Hair: Discussed.
- I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Az jokes that one of his students is so adorable he'd want to kidnap her. Fortunately his fellow teachers don't take it too seriously, he even comments that if he did, the police would just find them having a tea party and nothing else.
- It Makes Sense in Context: "You are a 12-year-old Japanese boy being held off the ground by a large black man who is bound and determined to penetrate your ass."
- Kawaiiko: Ultimate Sweetness. Az claims it's something like penguin-suit Chiyo-chan, times ten.
- Likes Older Women: Azrael
- Marshmallow Hell: Az gets one of these from behind from one of his 15-year-old students. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of turning his head to see what's pressed up against it.
- Meganekko: Ms. Americanized is a subversion. She looks like a Meganekko, but she's pretty much the opposite of a Shrinking Violet, having gained her nickname in part from being outspoken and vulgar even by American standards.
- Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Azarel discusses this trope once. He believes that part of the perception of this is that Japanese in general approach foreigners with fewer of the cultural constraints that come between them, and aggressively compared to how foreigners approach each other.
- Never Mess with Granny: Many, many examples. According to Az, they are the most powerful force in Japan. Especially if that Mount Fuji story is anything to go by.
- Nice Guy: Well...
- The Nicknamer: Az himself. See Only Known by Their Nickname. His real first name is known (it's Jeff), but almost never used.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: You could almost make a drinking game out of it, though usually reserved for "Japan's weird did you know that?" entries.
- Not What It Looks Like: The pic in this article, taken with the same girl from the Marshmallow Hell incident above.
- Occidental Otaku: Subverted; Azrael had/has some otaku-ish interests, but he either grew out of them or has to be discreet about them. At one point (after getting married), he mentions that he has to sneak out of the house to see the Rebuild of Evangelion movies.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: With the exception of Moeko, pretty much everybody, for anonymity's sake.
- Overprotective Dad: Ever since finding out he will be having a daughter, Az has been figuring out how to smuggle rocket launchers into Japan just in case.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Ultimate Sweetness and her best friend.
- Take Our Word for It: "The Octopus."
- Title Drop: "Gaijin Smash" refers to a foreigner flagrantly going against the rules (cutting in line, jumping a turnstile...) and getting away with it thanks to the Japanese fear of confrontation, yelling "Gaijin SMASH!" optional.
- Scary Black Man: How quite a few Japanese people react to Azrael (especially kids). He occasionally uses it to his advantage.
As I’ve stated numerous times, I’m a big black guy. 6’3 (190 cm or so), 200 pounds. The Japanese take one look at me and see a man who can break them in half. …I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is a Japanese thing, a lot of cultures will think twice before picking a fight with a black dude twice their size.
- Schedule Slip: As mentioned in the intro, the blog has been suffering through a bad case of this recently. This is due to him not having much time to write, what with his job and family, as well as him admitting to not be as bewildered by Japanese culture anymore.
- Shipping: Apparently every mention of Mrs. Americanized results in readers encouraging Az to hook up with her, which exasperates him.
- Very Special Episode: Bullying Chapter.
- Worthy Opponent: Watson, when he finally graduated. Good luck, kid.