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2005-02-17 6:52 p.m.

sincerely sarcastic

Two entries in as many days. Whoo. Feel my enthusiasm.


I taught the seventh grade boys how to play bloody knuckles today. I'm starting to think that was a mistake.

Classes at the middle school today consisted of returning and going over the test. (Which I had nothing to do with, but whatever. I show up.) Matchan gave the kids a lecture beforehand. In it she addressed the idea that people might not want to study English because it's boring/not relevant/hard/whatever. Her pep talk went something like this: "Well, you were born Japanese, and in Japan you have to study English. English shows up on the entrance exams for high school and college, so you better work hard at it." And... that was pretty much it.

Wow. I bet THAT will turn those kids around! And I'm sure they'll always remember her as the teacher who lit their fires and turned them on to the true joy and value of learning a foreign language. Because, as people around the world have found, that joy and value is found in... taking tests!

Wait. What?

(Oh, by the way. That Japanese Language Proficiency Test? Turns out I passed. Guess I got me some joy and value.)

Matchan may be younger than me, but she is hardcore Japanese old school, man. I'd find it amusing if I wasn't one of its victims. Actually I've come to find it amusing, anyway, so I guess it's all good.


It is occasionally brought to my attention that I am... "sarcastic."


To which I typically respond, "I'm sarcastic?" just like Ken in Freaks and Geeks. (I love Ken. I identify with him the most, I think. Runner-up would have to go to Sam, though.)

Seriously, though, most of the time I don't even notice that I'm doing it. Sometimes people I've just met will comment on it, and I won't have realized I even said anything like that. I think what it comes down to is that it's a coping mechanism. Sarcasm and even cynicism is the only way I can deal with the rampant hypocrisy, insincerity, selfishness, propaganda, bullshit, and spin that surrounds me, which I am all too aware of, and really, all too sensitive to. Sarcasm keeps me from going crazy.

I think it may be even worse in Japan, since Japanese culture provides endless, easily combustible fuel for the sarcastically inclined mind. And since sarcasm usually sails right over the heads of most Japanese people, it's all the more tempting.

i know it's not your thing to care
i know it's cool to be so bored
sucks me in when you're aloof
sucks me in, it sucks it works
i guess it's cool to be alone

Sometimes I think that's how a lot of people think of me. Part of that, though, is that I'm really a pretty laid back and tolerant guy. I also have (what I feel to be) an amazing ability to see both sides of an issue and thus often don't have a clearly defined stance on things, even though I may have spent a lot of time thinking seriously and deeply about them. (Everything is one big "grey area" to me, you see.) I can definitely appear "aloof," as well (though I swear to God it's not a deliberate policy to create a certain image (though sometimes the "image" makes me giggle); that's really just HOW I AM). That can make it seem like I just don't care, I guess. But somewhere in there is the simple, straightforward sincerity that is really the engine of everything else I do.

i know it seems that i don't care
but something in me does, i swear

"Those who direct the maximum force of their desires toward the center, toward true being, toward perfection, seem quieter than the passionate souls because the flame of their fervor cannot always be seen. In argument, for example, they will not shout and wave their arms. But I assure you, they are nevertheless burning with subdued fires." -Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

I like to think that I'm that type of person.

I feel an urge to watch Casablanca tonight.

i'd rather be a hammer than a nail, and i'd rather be a sparrow than a snail,