I have a greasy past.
It all happened while on working holiday in Japan.
I tool a year off university to improve my spreken Japanese. Yet my first 5 jobs (concurrent) were teaching at English conversation schools. These are where people who have studied years of grammar at school go when they get the urge for a foreign lover, or something. That is an entire story in itself.
Every day I was speaking English. Schools either forbade me from using Japanese or even from letting students know I knew of the existence of their language.
It was in my contracts.
One of my schools gave the students English nicknames, so some daze even I imagined I was in America. One student was named ‘Bubbles’. I hope he didn’t user that nickname abroad.
After 6 months of being a 9-to-9 language gigolo, I called it quits.
I’d made friends with the 2nd in charge at a local Mister Donut. He was odd. He was Japanese but he preferred foreigners. One day, I struck up the courage to ask for a job at his store, in front of the station at Sagamihara, Kanagawa. (Incidentally, due to circumstances out of control, at this point I was living in Toda, Saitama.)
The manager was hesitant in hiring me, but soon enough I was decked out in a uniform I classify as ‘1950s American ice cream parlour’. A couple of times I got called ‘Mr. Donut’, so I guess I suited the uniform.
Staff were drilled in uber-polite Japanese language. Learning it in the university classroom is okay, but repeating phrases like ご注文はお決まりでしたら、お伺いさせていただきます dozens of times a day is far more effective.
We’d line up behind the counter calling customers to approach us with their orders, yet many were a fearful of me. Perhaps they’d been rejected when they hit upon their English conversation school teacher. Queues would grow in front of my colleagues while I’d stand, tongs at the ready, repeating my catch phrases robotically.
Those brave enough to try ordering with me would point to their desired greasenut and raise a trembling finger, ‘Uwan puriizu’.
I made a group of very cool, albeit smelly, friends. And although it ate all my savings from teaching work, I achieved my aim and romped it in the following year at uni.
The pay was… donuts. I acquired many more pounds than yen.