Not martial arts, but…

I got so angry teaching at an elementary school today.

After the class I was eating some food with the staff. One lady had spent some time living in England. Naturally, this made her an authority on every aspect of the country, from the weather to the television to the tea-drinking habits.

Any questions about England from other staff members were directed at her, despite the fact that they had a living, breathing, tea-drinking Englishman sitting right in front of them.

I was tired after a few hours of teaching rowdy 10 year olds, and couldn’t be bothered to contend any of the crap she was spouting, but according to her, England is a very strange place:

  • In the summer, the sun rises at 2 or 3 in the morning, and sets at about 11 at night.
  • In winter, the sun rises at about 9 or 10 a.m. and sets by 4 p.m.
  • In winter, it is -10 degrees every single day.
  • There isn’t really a summer in England.
  • Winter is much longer in England than in any other country.
  • All English gardens have delicious apple trees in them.
  • We all eat microwave food every night for dinner.
  • Every English child dreams of going to Harrow or Eaton.
  • It rains every single day without fail.
  • London isn’t nice because of all the Arabs and Indians.

I mean, what the fuck was she talking about? Sunrise at 2 a.m.? She made up some crazy scenario where she couldn’t sleep because of the sun waking her up at 2 in the morning! Is she delusional or what? She even went on to say that’s why all English people have extra-thick curtains (all English people)… to keep out that 2 a.m. sunrise in the summer.

Jeebus H Kristos.

If I ever catch myself generalising about a country so broadly and so innacurately, I’m going to castrate myself with a mechanical whisk as punishment.

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5 Responses

  1. I think we must teach at the same schools! The people over here have got a pretty fucked up view of the world that’s for sure!
    One question though; How do you find training in Japan re; the language issues and how do the instructors/students take to having a gaijin in the class?
    I trained a lot back in London, and am soon to (hopefully) start back up over here. Bit worried that it might be a ‘no gaijin here’ style reception though..

  2. I’ve found training here to be excellent. Most people are very welcoming to gaijin and in fact you’ll end up just wanting to be considered normal like everyone else. That’s what I’ve found, anyway.

    The language barrier can sometimes be a problem but it’s a good motivation to widen your vocabulary.

    I’m training BJJ, which is an imported martial art anyway, so it would be kind of ridiculous to have a no gaijin policy when most of the idols of the art are Brazilian. As for a super traditional art, who knows, you might get the odd old fashioned, racist dickhead… heaven knows they exist. The judo class I attend is a side project of a BJJ guy here, and I was invited, so no problems there.

    I agree with you that some of the people here have a messed up world… but so that we aren’t generalising ourselves, let’s agree to say “SOME of the people over here have got a pretty fucked up view of the world!”

  3. I enjoyed that Matt. 🙂

    Being an dandy Englishman, I found her comments highly ammusing especially the sun rising at 2am!

    Keep us posted on any more in the future.

    All the best,
    Adam Adshead – ConceptualBJJ.wordpress.com

  4. I agree with Matt on people being very welcoming. And you will also find that the more you try to adapt to their way of doing things, make language learning efforts etc the more accepted you will be.
    To make a generalization, in Japan I find that the more humble you are, the more respect you will get.

    “There isn’t really a summer in England. ” I find that true for most of Northern Europe.

    “Winter is much longer in England than in any other country.” She hasn’t been to Sweden i suppose. England is tropical in comparison 🙂

    Did you start your BJJ training in Japan, mate? And how long did it take you to blue belt?

  5. I started in Australia, and trained on and off for about three years before I got my blue. Pretty slow going, hey. It wasn’t until I got to Japan, and people were smaller than me, that I started winning matches! 😉

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