While Japan is one of the most conforming countries I’ve been in, there are exceptions. You run across the occasional oddball. More often than not, they brighten your day. I had just finished teaching a few classes and was returning to the teacher’s staff room for a well deserved late morning break. I poured myself a cup of tea and settled into my desk. I noticed something was very wrong.
Because I’m not good at observing details, I couldn’t place it, until everyone stopped talking. At that point I noticed the phone ringing incessantly. There are typically only 1 or 2 phones in the teacher’s staff room. The Kyoto Sensei (vice principal) or his adjacent chief/accomplice the Kyoumu Sensei typically field incoming calls. But he wasn’t answering, and I noticed everyone looking at Kyoto sensei, wondering what he was going to do.
After some incessant ringing, I went up and asked what was going on. He explained about a “weird person” calling the school with ridiculous crank calls or something to that effect, so they were waiting him out. After about 5 minutes, (as far as I can estimate) the ringing stopped. Thirty seconds later, it started again. After about a minute, one teacher suggested that I answer the phone in English, which might throw him off. Several teachers grinned, and I asked the Kyoto Sensei for permission to answer. “Go ahead.” he replied, and kind of grinned himself. Here is the conversation that followed.
Tyler Beal: Hello?
Weird Person: だれであるか? 副校長どこにある?(Huh? Who’s this? Where is the vice principal?)
Tyler Beal: Uhhh… Sorry… I don’t understand Japanese. What did you say?
Weird Person: 副校長!! 副校長はどこにある?? (The vice principal !!! Where is the vice principal?!?!?!?)
Tyler Beal: Kyeoohh-toohh? You mean the city? What about it?
Weird Person: 愚かがあることを停止しなさい! 副校長があるどこに私に言いなさい! (Stop acting stupid!! Where’s the vice principal?)
Tyler Beal: I’m really sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re saying!
At this point the weird person abruptly hangs up. As I try to explain things to everyone, the ringing starts again, so I pick up.
Tyler Beal: Hello?
Weird Person: さようなら! (Goodbye!)
This was the last we heard from the crazy person.