Sunday, November 22, 2009


In Shizuoka for a work-related conference. Wandering around, clusters of gaijin, each doing their dutiful best to ignore the other.

When you register for one of these things they always give you a bag. Kind of like soccer players getting a cap for their international matches. I've been "bagged" several times, but I don't know if this one counts because it's in Japan. The bag usually contains a bunch of promo crap from text book companies and such. I give the pens, notepads, and other useful stuff to my daughter. She seems to like collecting my name tags, as well. (Recently I found one of my conference tags in which she'd crossed out my name and wrote her own above it. This little girl is worth more to me than the entire world.)

I guess I should be careful what I say. Not everyone is as carefree and irreverent about the theoretical underpinnings of their profession as I am. I'm a skeptic, and I'd be a piss-poor one if I didn't put what I do under the same scrutiny as I'd apply to right-wingnuttery, religion, UFO's, ghosts, and my own beliefs about anything, your beliefs about anything, and generally anything at all (well, except the primacy of the Stones).

Some ideas are better than others, but there are a shitload of bad ideas out there.

You might think that someone whose job lets him support his family and drink beer in so many cool places should probably whine about it a lot less. You'd probably be right.

I'm struggling to reconcile the notion of a restaurant/bar with hundreds of beers from around the world with Pinnochio playing on the wide screen. And Tokyo Ska Paradise playing through the speakers.

I once met a guy in a bar who happened also to be an "English teacher." He'd recently got his PhD in EFL or something. It was amusing to hear him tell me how I was "enculturing" my daughter by speaking to her in English (i.e. the idea being that language=culture; I can't honestly imagine a more ridiculous piece of shit masquerading as "theory"). I'd been telling him how I was teaching my daughter to use chopsticks...


  1. Dude, you don't believe in UFO's? And to think I thought you had it on the ball ...

  2. And another thing, is it racist to find the image of you teaching your daughter to use chopsticks inherently funny? Just for the record, I still cannot get them to work for me. I always end up using my fingers. I guess that's why they give you those nice warm, wet towels?

  3. Glenn,

    Well, I do believe that some flying objects are not identified, but I don't believe that they are spaceships, etc. I mean, really, surely any alien species that might be out there has got better things to do than come all they way here just to give random humans an anal probe. Of course it could be possible that they have a highly evolved sense of humor...

    I wouldn't call that racist at all, Glenn. Somewhat ironic, maybe. She's pretty good with a fork and spoon...

    It actually takes a couple of weeks of constant practice to get really good with chopsticks. After 11+ years I manage fairly well. Cleaning your hands is only one of many uses for the wet towel. They're also good for wiping sweat of your face and cleaning up spilled drinks (usually in that order...).

  4. Whoa. Anal probes are no joke ... You want to get to know somebody first. Maybe start off with dinner and a movie.

  5. I've read a lot of bloviation about educational theory over the years having been illustrating editorials for Education Week. Some people have more to say than others - I don't know if you ever look at Mike Rose's Blog, which is on my blog roll. He is one of the good (down to earth) guys.

  6. Susan,
    I'll check out that blog, thanks. We need more down-to-earthness!

    Well, they're aliens, unfamiliar with typical human mating rituals...