March 12 2001

Subject: The policeman smiled…

Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 4:50 AM

I looked at my watch and it was three o’clock in the morning, and it was time to go home and get some sleep. I stood, bade my good byes, and walked out into the cold Naha night. I was really glad for the t-shirt, longsleeve shirt, sweater, and leather jacket. Of course now they all stunk like cigar smoke.

But first…

The policeman smiled. It was a Thursday, and it was the last of “Chris’ Creative Conversation Class”. The five students who had stuck with me the whole semester were eating, as we were having a snack party. I had brought the soda and tea, and they had brought the snacks. All junk food. Surprising how much junk food tastes alike. I was having fun eating the li hing mui. They were amazed that I like them.

Four ladies and one rascal policeman. These were all adults taking English classes at the Okinawa Language Center. My students consisted of a bored housewife, a couple of older women, and some young girls that wanted to study English for what ever reason. And of course Inspector Rascal. When they were handing out rascal, he was at the head of the line. He amused us with his police stories, and he was the one that asked me if I liked women with big ones (he then pantomimed having a chest the size of a car). I think that was the class where the girls got me to blush (Me, blush??!?!? They hadn’t seen anyone blush before). I think that was also the class where the other male had asked what sort of pick up lines to use to make “friends” at Diamond Heads gay beach (the policeman had started the conversation by asking about nude beaches on O’ahu). Thou this was a separate class from the “mooning” class. Inspector Yamashiro was already familiar with that oh-so American of skills. Unfortunately, he had demonstrated this skill. The class had started with maybe 15 students, but it had gotten a lot smaller. Now it was more like friends sitting around talking story, then anything structured. We had some excellent discussions on serious as well as not so serious topics. It was enjoyable. I talked about my strange life in Hawaii and Okinawa and Arizona, and they told me about their lives as well.

Now, back to the final class.  While we were eating snacks, he was handing out a stack of business cards. All the girls were laughing as they looked at them, and from what I could see, they had scantily clad women on one side.

This I couldn’t figure out. Why were women looking at the business cards of scantily clad women and laughing?

I got the cards and started to thumb through them. Some of the women weren’t bad looking, but towards the end of the stack, they started to get real ugly. I mean, REAL UGLY. One of the pictures was a headshot, and the women was resting her head in her hand. The heel of her hand was below her chin, and she had her finger tips bent, but they were higher up on her face then her eyes.

“That’s a huge hand” I said.

“Oh shit!” I said. “Man hand!”

Everyone laughed, and the policeman explained. Seemed he and his policeman buddies went to a transvestite/transexual bar the previous night, and stayed till 0600.

Okama. I seem to remember that being the word for transvestite, but I could be wrong and my dictionary doesn’t have it in there. Seems to be more acceptable in Japanese society.

The next Friday night was the end of term party, so I was given a map to the all you can eat and drink place, and told to show up.

Friday night. Found the place. It was in the red light district of town. I’ve ridden thru this area at night, and you can tell it’s all about sin. Women stand out side of establishments and try to lure men in. It’s all guys that are milling about. Lots of men. Sort of like worker ants after a long day at the office, “hey, let’s go get drunk and have women rub our knees and buy them watery drinks”. Called snack bars here. I’ve never been to one, but I’ve heard all the rank stories (one JET saw one of his high school students working).

I felt very foreign till I met up with some of the girls from the class and we went up stairs to the….BEER DOME. I kid you not, the all you can eat/drink place was called the “Beer Dome”. I was expecting to see Homer Simpson hanging around, going “DOH!”, but he wasn’t.

$25 for all you can eat and drink. I, of course, partook in the all you can eat. Damned plates were salad plate sized, so after the tenth plate, people were starting to notice. “Chris sensei, are you hungry?”. I think one of my students was trying to match me, one beer to my one plate, but she stopped the beers after eight (I’m not talking little wussy beer mugs either). She stopped with the beers as she was moving on to the hard stuff.

It was fun. I ate and the students circulated amongst us teachers and talked. Sadly, I heard more about the transvestite bar, as the now extremely happily drunk policeman relayed that men, using the wonders of modern drugs, can achieve very natural and female like breasts. Waaay too much info.

I had fun.

I even went to Karaoke after (there’s never just “one” party). I actually found someone that sings worse then I do, but the suck thing was that she kept singing. And singing. My students were extremely happy by this time, and it was fun. There were a couple of other teachers there, and one was smoking a genuine Havana cigar. At least that’s as far as got into his cigar speech before my eyes glazed over (know what? Cuban cigars stink).

The policeman could actually sing, as could most of my students. Again, he provided the funniest bit. He spilled a drink into his lap, then proceeded to towel himself off with WAY too much vigor. Of course everyone was watching, as he was standing on the chair, swearing.

At three, some of the ladies started to get up, and seeing that as my cue, I left as well.

Now all I have to do is figure a way to get out of my conference this Friday that is concurrent with graduation and go see them. I’m really curious to meet the policeman’s wife. 🙂

There should be another tale of adventure and sin this week, as my personal Japanese tutor visited me two weekends ago and we visited more castles and ate Mexican food. And goya. If you don’t know goya, be glad. Be very, very glad.


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