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The Disappointments and Pleasures of a New JET Arrival




Day 1 – 14:00


I was expecting a beautiful young woman in a maid costume. But my supervisor turned out to be a middle aged man with furry eyebrows. Major bummer! He didn’t drive a suped-up Civic with pounding bass either. But the passenger door opened at the push of a button. Okay, I can deal with that.




My predecessor wasn’t in a maid costume either. In fact, no one in the teacher’s room was in a maid costume. And I couldn’t see any school mascot, like some crazy cartoon cat thing jumping around. So third-world! Did the Shinkansen take me all the way to China?




Okay, so first thing I do at the apartment is jump in the toilet. Not literally, but like how many buttons does the toilet seat have, what choice of bidet do I get for washing up my genitals, will the whole thing vibrate and play Disney songs if I clap my hands right? And you know what? There’s isn’t a single bloody button on the whole thing. Nothing electric. Just a flush, 大 or 小. I complain vociferously to my supervisor. He suggests I just piss in it. Super major bummer!




Supervisor has left. I remember how jet-lagged I am after the flight here from Mars. Or, uh, Calgary or something. I look for the bed. I look again. I spend two fooking hours (yeah, we swear like that in, uh, Calgary!) searching the apartment for the bed. I throw open all the closets, look behind the stairs, pull out the fridge and the microwave to see what’s hiding behind them. No bed. Sooooooo tired at this point. And so hot. I open the fridge door and collapse on the floor of the kitchen.



Day 2 – 05:00


Yeah, I’m still on Cow Time, and whoever stole the bed from the apartment also stole the curtains, so the sun is so frickin’ bright. I get off the kitchen floor and go to wander the neighborhood. I can’t see any maid cafes. Like not a single one. There are lots of go-karts parked on the side of the roads though. I walk down to the sea. People are fishing. With, like, rods and bait and hooks and stuff. That is so last century! “Ni hao!!”  I call out. Nobody even looks at me. Maybe I need a maid costume to attract attention around here.





Wow, I now have a bank account, a gas connection, a work laptop, and an electricity bill. For 44 yen. ‘What happens if I don’t pay that?’ I wonder. My supervisor’s taken me to the local supermarket. He wants me to buy soap and detergent and light bulbs, but my eyes pop out when we walk past the sushi section. Like, literally. I buy the whole section. “What I save on electricity, I can eat on sushi!” I have never had a more delicious meal in my life. Maybe Japan isn’t so bad.




I still can’t find the bed. Mental note, ask my supervisor about that tomorrow. In my dream, a maid flies in through the missing curtains and starts trying to fish me with a rod. The hook just keeps missing my mouth, and then I realize I stink of raw tuna.



Day 5 – 13:00


I go down to the shop with my supervisor to buy a go-kart. I need one of these things to get around the island, apparently. It has less power than my lawnmower back in, uh, Calgary, but I figure I could fit at least 5 maids into the thing, if need be. “Sayonara,” I tell my supervisor, and off I go. But the roads keep turning into narrow footpaths. Do they lead to maid cafes? Nope, all roads lead to rice fields, at least on this island.


Day 9 – 20:30


A day I will never, ever forget, for as long as I live in Japan. My very first maid. I spend the morning driving my go-kart around in circles, until some woman comes out and starts screaming at me. So I just park it, and jump on the bus to Yashiro. The day is dull, and hot. Some English people going “blah, blah, blah”, then some Japanese people going, “blah, blah, blah”, then some English people going “blah, blah, blah.” You get the point. I’m lost in deep thought over my electricity bill, when someone says, “alcohol”. My ears perk up. Really? Evening finds me fumbling for a pen in front of the sign-out sheet, so I can go to Lawson’s and pick up something potable. Then suddenly, she is there. Black-and-white skirt, rosy cheeks, something funny in her hair. She must be a maid. I try out my best Japanese on her: “てにりりんらなもちすすんもい?”


She smiles at me. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Then she murmurs something. I’m so lost in the moment, I can’t hear. She has to repeat herself. “Hi there, I’m from New Zealand.”

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