Day 145 - Canada Day!

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Happy Canada Day!

It’s Friday, so this’ll be an easy day! Also, it’s the last Friday I’ll have to work before the break!

Work day for my classes: battleship, battleship, battleship, homework. I wasn’t sure how much they liked battleship, since a lot of the kids just sat back and didn’t get involved, but when I took a vote of hands on who liked it, most said they enjoyed this new game. Maybe they just like doing nothing and sometimes spelling words...?


During the break, Dexter and I sat with Joseph in the lounge. We talked about the book I’ve been reading, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: On The Decline of Violence.” My god, this book is amazing. It talks about how all forms of violences (and he is quite thorough) have declined, and how the current times are the most peaceable that the world has ever seen. If you doubt this, think about any form of violence and compare it with the times of the bible, the middle ages, or even pre-1900s. When else has there ever been a society where people of any age, gender, and race are seen as legal equals, and that the things we’re fighting for are in an effort to further equality. Probably never. Even terrorism is on the decline, according the extensive research and data they present, and contrary to popular depiction in the media.

Circulated Glasses
McDonald's Warfare

Dexter mentions the Mcdonald's rule, which is that no two countries that have Mcdonalds location have ever gone to war - ever. As Mcdonald's continues to expand, maybe they’ll help us usher in an era of peace! More likely, Mcdonald's just goes to countries that are have good trading relations and relatively stable economies, both of which correlate with peace.

EDIT: Apparently this is no longer true. Former Colleague Pool pointed out that Russia and Georgia went to war in 2008 broke the McDonald's theory. Tbilisi and Moscow both have McDonalds.

Wads of Cash

I stop at the office and am given my travel stipend in cash. I was expecting it to be deposited into my bank account, not have ¥3750 tossed into my hand. One fifty, and 37 hundo's. Either way, thanks! I was expecting the full ¥7500, but apparently they won’t give that until the end of the year for some reason.

Chinese China

I have been warned that speaking Chinese at school will get the school to treat you like a Chinese person. It’s sucky that being treated "like a Chinese person" - while in China - is seen as a bad thing. In either case, the Director told me that's not the case, and that it’s actually a good opportunity to practice the language with native speakers who also speak English.

First to eat 4 beavertails wins. So much dough!
He also described the tightening of the visa application process for foreigners, the raiding of black market tutoring centers, and the lessening of emphasis on English being taught in schools. All this adds together to make a foreigner in China all the more valuable, and raising English skills to an even higher premium. Seems like the perfect time to start an online tutoring business with foreign experts… The market is ripe! Ripe, I tells ya!


Over lunch, I jokingly bicker with Aurora and Helena, going back between us, calling each other liars (piànzi). I call Aurora “shī fù,” to which she responds for me to kneel before her. I tell her I mean the context where she’s a cab driver. It's a word that means "master" and apparently can be applied to any man between 30 and 50 years old. It also is used to refer to cab drivers. To clear up the ambiguity, I say "Shī fù, kāi chē!" [shur foo kei che-ah] (master, drive!)

In my grade one class, I accidentally called a kid the wrong name, to which he responds ”Brody is fly!" Verb or noun? It’s utter mayhem in this class, since the teacher doesn’t follow up on discipline, and the kids seem to have learned that her verbal threats are toothless. A “baby” comes into the class (about age 4) and runs around with a runaway train of grade 1s attached. I’m glad to be released from the onlooking gazes of the parents who are waiting to pick up their children.

Canada Day Celebrations

Skip forward some hours and you’ll find Bunny, Dexter, Shimou, and me in a cab to 4 corners. They’re have a special for Canadians! A free maple shot for all Canadians, and free beer until the keg runs out, starting at 9pm. They also have poutine and beavertails available for consumption (not real ones). Aurora arrives, and we all indulge on some poutine goodness (not bad, actually) and beaver tails.

Being a little tipsy at this point, we talk about how Aurora thinks it’s unfair that Canadians have free entry into Japan, while Chinese people have to pay a fee and apply for the visa. She refuses to believe that Japan would be immediately flooded with Chinese people if they had completely open borders with them. They’d all want to stay in China, like good patriots, of course!

Tuk Tuk Away
Somehow, the reputation of Chinese people comes up and I tell them the international reputation I’ve heard: noisy, pushy, aggressive, and don’t follow the rules. They don’t particularly like hearing this, and Aurora seems most surprised. They ask what the Canadian one is, and think I’m lying when I say that we are known to be “excessively polite, and apologizing for everything.” Confirmed by Dexter. Clearly, I am not living up to our reputation. Sorry, guys.

Dan shows up with a friend of his, Tommy, who is one of his friends from back home. Tommy is ex-Navy; current a historian. He's studying some relationship in military contracts between China and the US from the early 1900’s. We chatted for a while before he mentions these 4-character phrases that are like common metaphors that Chinese people will throw out occasionally. The only one I know is “People Mountain; People Sea” which indicates that there are just tons of people all over. So many that it looks like a mountain and sea of people. These phrases are called Hanyu.

We drink, and dance a little bit, but I'm much too full to get down. After the bar, Aurora, Shimou and I catch a cab, while Tommy, Dan, and Dexter hop in a tuk-tuk that whisked them off into the night. Bunny took a secret passage and disappeared.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
xiàn jīn
[she-ann jean]
kāi chē
[kai che-ah]

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