Because the chance of finding and running across any one particular site is so slim, I find it sort of amazing that I recently had a second chance at a blog I actually stumbled across once before but overlooked and just found again. It used to be called Gaijin Smash and has since been renamed Gaijin Chronicles. It's a blog which started 8 years ago by an African American man calling himself Azrael who documents his life in Japan as an English teacher. From what I've seen so far, it's absolutely hilarious and just dumbfounding in general due to the complete and utter culture clash. It's like the classic fish out of water story but with disturbing undertones.
I actually remember running across one of his entries before during a web search. At the time, I was sort of baffled by the concept of 'Kancho', which I had run across in some anime. It seemed pretty deranged to me that people would run around trying to shove their fingers up your ass and I was looking for some context. I figured this was perhaps something only very young kids engaged in, like say 5 or 6, and was the American equivalent of saying a girl had cooties. Here is Azrael's take on his experience with Kancho upon arriving at the middle school he was teaching at.
Let me introduce you to a game Japanese kids like to play called “Kancho.” It’s not as much a ‘game’ as it is kids clasping their hands together, sticking out their first fingers, and shoving them up your butt. I’m really not joking.
Just about any kid can be a Kancho Assassin. Even the sweetest little girl is liable to jam her fingers up your ass the second you turn around. This happened to one of my friends, which just goes to show – don’t trust anyone. I’d say the little girls are the most dangerous because they have natural ways of lowering your defenses.
During JET orientation they told me a lot of ultimately useless stuff: what kind of computer to bring, if my DVD’s would work, clothing sizes, that kind of nonsense. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in the 3-4 months of training did anyone ever mention that at some point, a Japanese kid may try to stick his fingers up my butt. That’s something I would have liked to know, personally.
It's just weird to think of the Japanese, which I think most of us think of as being staid, and reserved, and unassuming running around trying to jam their fingers up the asses of their new teachers. And these are kids 12-15 years old rather than 1st graders to boot. I can't even imagine what sort of reaction this would get if it all of a sudden became a trend in US schools. The chaos would be sorta hilarious though.
In the same entry he mentions something else he runs into a lot as a Black man in Japan where I imagine is as common as seeing a mime walking down the street.
You know what’s kind of funny though? Some kids can’t yet say “Good morning” but damn near all of them can ask if I have a big dick. Or “bigu dikku” in Engrish.
...OK. The whole “black men have big dicks” stereotype stretches far and wide, even to the nation’s 12-year-olds. Part of why I’m here is not just to kind-of-sort-of help teach English, but to “broaden cultural perceptions.” Break stereotypes, challenge preconceived notions, all that jazz. That’s fine, but this is one stereotype I think I’m gonna let slide.
Still, I am asked “bigu dikku?” a lot. Every 2-3 days in fact, which is amazing considering I was asked this about 2-3 times in my entire life in America, locker room jokes aside. How do you answer that anyway? To a 12 to 15-year-old? I wave them off and say, “No, no, no.” Then they say, “Oh, sumaru dikku?” (trans: small dick) and of course that’s wrong so I have to correct them. It’s just a no-win situation.
On the days I’m not avoiding that question, I’m avoiding them actually trying to grab it. I kid you not, I have to play Dodgedick with Japanese Jr. High kids on a weekly basis. Age, gender, doesn’t matter, they all want a stab at it. The boys are more persistent though. I had one boy grab for it, and when I said, “No!” he put his hands together and said, in English, “Please!” Oh hell no. Another 12-year-old boy kept grabbing at it, and when I told him, “No!” he politely asked, “Why not?” I began to wonder if there wasn’t some cultural more I didn’t understand. So I said clearly, “Age 10 years and become female since birth, then we’ll talk.” His solution was to ask the girl sitting next to him to trade seats, grab my dick, and tell him about it.
I don't even know what to say about this. The cultural train wreck in my head right now defies explanation. I get the impression I'm going to spend a lot of time wondering if all of this can really be true. Maybe I should look up some other blogs and see if maybe this particular school just happens to house an unnatural number of sexual deviants. Maybe this is what too much fanservice in anime gets you? I would love to see a PSA on this. If you let your kids watch cartoon boobs and panties, they'll turn into perverts.
After some further research, it's confirmed that this is apparently common. Here's another teacher's article on what she's experienced. Kancho Survival Guide. After reading this, I just have to say that teachers in the US have it easy by comparison. Well, at least until the kids are a bit older and knives and guns start appearing. It may all be good natured but it must be disconcerting as hell when you don't grow up with it culturally.