Mirrored with permission from Outpost Nine and Azrael

Japanese Kids Say the Darndest Things

These are things that kids have hit me with at some point in the classroom. Most are in English, or at least their best attempt. I swear I'm not making any of this up.

During a quiz game, I asked "What's the name of the famous bridge in San Francisco?" They always guess "Rainbow Bridge" because that's the name of the famous bridge in Tokyo. Um, no. Not quite.

One boy completely surprised me though. He slowly and timidly approached me, looked up, and hit me with his guess - "Gay Bridge."

There's no way he could've said that.

I lean in closer and ask him to repeat it. Sure enough - "Gay Bridge."

There have been very few times in my life when I laughed so hard I couldn't stand. But this was one of them. My Japanese teacher asked me what was wrong, and when I finally managed to spit it out he joined me on the floor. He explained it to the students later and they were floored. Then he told it to the teachers room, and they were KO'd by it too.

If you think about it though, he wasn't too wrong.


I was playing a Thanksgiving quiz game (we play a lot of quiz game). So I asked "What did the Pilgrims eat for the first Thanksgiving?" One boy enthusiastically raised his hand and said "Oh, I know, I know! Indians."

The pilgrims may have screwed the Indians out of their land but I'd like to think at least we didn't eat them.


One day after class, a ninensei girl walked up to me, and out of nowhere proudly exclaimed "Spread your legs!" Perhaps mistaking the look of shocked bewilderment on my face for misunderstanding, she stuck her chest out and repeated it even louder - "Spread your legs!"

She then produced a book of colloquial English expressions. Apparently. She'd taken the phrase from the police section...you know, "Get out of the car! Against the wall! Spread your legs!" She had just randomly selected "Spread your legs!" and decided to hit me with it one day.

But imagine one day a 14-yr old Japanese girl walks up to you and just shouts out "Spread your legs!" I had no idea how to react to that. If she'd whipped out a gun or a a samurai sword or even a small woodland animal I could have dealt with that, but "Spread your legs!" left me completely incapacitated.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the teacher leaned over and asked "Oh, is it correct?" I somehow pull myself back together and say no, it's not. Well, technically I suppose it is, but...just no. So then she asks "Why?" Oh Lord.

This was not in the job description.

I don't remember what excuse I made, but it was at least Oscar-worthy. I did make sure to tell that girl to *never* use that in America should she ever go.

Imagine what you'd do if you were walking down the street on any ordinary day and suddenly some tourist Japanese teenage girl walks up to you and exclaims "Spread your legs!"

My nickname for this girl now is "Spread Your Legs."

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