Last month we asked you to write in to tell us your new year resolutions, and of course you replied in your thousands. Mystic Mark picked out a few of them and gazed into your future to see how successful you will be.
I have been in Japan for a year now, and I feel an increasing annoyance towards Japanese traits, in particular not being straightforward with others, being overly polite and speaking to me in English when I have spoken first in Japanese. This year my resolution is to be more tolerant towards my Japanese friends and co-workers.
Peter Hunterson, an American in Nakamura-ku
Peter, you are quite right to be annoyed. There is perhaps nothing worse than others being considerate of your situation. The fact is that in your 12 months in the country you have no doubt mastered the Japanese language, and they should recognise this success. As for being polite and not wanting to upset you? Fuck that! Do they not know where you are from? Abrasiveness and unilaterality is in your DNA, and although you are in their country they should respect that. I give your resolution seven weeks.
This year I have been going anywhere I can to meet foreigners. I find them so interesting, and I love ‘gaikoku’ culture. All of it! However, whenever I speak to random foreigners on the subway, when they are enjoying drinks with their friends, or as they are hurrying past me on their way to work, I can’t help but think that I am annoying them with my innocent questions about where they are from or how long they have been in Japan. This year I want to stop annoying people, but I don’t know how I can do it.
Shinji Yoshikawa, a Japanese from Nishi-ku
This is a tough one, Shinji. The thing is, those sorts of questions will never stop annoying foreigners. There is a broad spectrum of expats who will immediately think that you are just looking for free English lessons and will be riled you taking up their valuable time. But keep trying, there are good folks out there who will be happy to interact with you. It may take a while, but you will find them. You’ll break your resolution of not annoying people the first time you try. But don’t let that set you back.
As an ALT at a high school I have found myself increasingly drawn towards my female students over the last year. I realise that it is frowned upon and potentially a breach of my – um, Hippocratic oath? – but I can’t help it, they are so hot. But this year I want to eradicate these thoughts from my mind and become the teacher I should be.
Jason Timms, an Australian in Meito-ku
Come on Jason, who are you kidding? We all know what those girls are after, don’t we? An education? Perhaps. An introduction to foreign cultures? Possibly. But you know well that those 16-year-old girls – with their coquettish obsession with cartoon characters, suggestive uniforms imposed upon them by patriarchs and their squealing of ‘kawaii’ at you as you walk past then in the halls – really want your cock, don’t they? I give you three weeks to break your resolution. And a further two weeks before you end up in jail.