Friday, September 2, 2011

Weird Questions.

Before I came to Japan, I heard some rumors that students here in Japan ask questions that would be considered rude or invasive in one's own native country.  After I got used to the "Do you have a Boyfriend?" question, I didn't have too many offensive questions.  Sure, I got weird questions like "Do you like Mr. (teacher's name here)?" or the occasional brave soul would ask "Will you marry me?" But in the end, nothing really stood out.  

My other friends here tell different stories.  Some males have been asked their "size." Others have been asked "When was your first kiss?" or "How many girl/boyfriends have you had?" or "Do you play sex?" just to name a few that I've been told of.  To be honest, students may have asked such questions in Japanese, and if they did so in the first six or so months of my arrival, there's no way for me to know. 

However, I went to night school the other night.  It's a high school for students who can't make it in any of the other schools in Kitami.  It's about as low-level as you can get.  It's the school where I saw a girl turn over desks while she fought with her boyfriend between classes. A teacher told me once that many students don't know how to multiply numbers at this school. It's the school where I recently found out that a student of my is the same age as me, though I would've believed her if she had said she was 15.  The thing is...I kind of like going to this school. There's no pressure to study for a test, though that also means there's no real pressure to study at all.  The students only want to have fun or be left alone, so for those who participate, we can have a fairly fun class.

Yet, it is this school where I got my first inappropriate and weird question.  A girl came to me, after I taught her class, while I was waiting in the teacher's room.  She came to me and kneeled down, getting close enough to whisper to me and make small gestures, she asked (in Japanese) what cup size I am.  Of course I said no and tried to look stern, but it's hard to recover from something like that.

After being here for a year, my sense of what is normal and what isn't seems to be more fluid.  I'm so used to being asked about my relationship status that it's almost a certainty to come up in any class or conversation. But, I vaguely remember it being weird when I first got here.  I wonder what sort of weird habits or traits I'll take back to the States with me.  

I think that, when I have a chance, I'd like to ask American high school teachers if this is a common occurrence.  Apparently it's quite normal to ask about relationship statuses, even among the student's Japanese teachers.  I'll get used to these types of inquiries, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing. 

Just thought I'd share a few thoughts on this. :)


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