Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Crazy Nut on the Phone

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.

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