Sunday, April 10, 2005

Filling in forms

Classes start this week. In fact, tomorrow. Morning. My brain is right now clicking into gear and starting to worry about first impressions (which I have learned are so important for evaluations later). And I am busily revising my first class plans from last semester. (Well, I was, until I started writing this.)

Today I cleaned up my desk a little, and found three (THREE!) unopened envelopes from two schools. I opened them, and discovered paperwork that should have been sent back by March 3rd and March 31st. I filled them in myself and posted them. Usually I plead ignorance and ask The Man to do stuff like this for me (I hate filling in forms in Japanese, and pleading ignorance usually works) but I didn't dare ask him because then he'd find out that I hadn't even opened the envelopes. He is as messy a person as I am, but when it comes to getting stuff in on time he is fanatical. "DON'T GIVE THEM ANY EXCUSE TO TREAT YOU BADLY!" he says, and of course he is right. (Badaunt hangs head in shame.)

Speaking of filling in Japanese forms, though, The Man, when he does stuff like this for me, does something really, really irritating. I don't want to fill them in because it takes me so long and because my written Japanese is so awful. When I fill in a form in Japanese it looks like it was painstakingly filled in by a poorly educated child. So what does The Man do?

He fills the forms in using deliberately bad Japanese, written as if by a poorly educated child.

He takes great delight in doing this, too. I see him writing away slowly, clenching the pen awkwardly and looking evilly gleeful, and when I look over his shoulder I see the horrible Kanji and Kana and go apeshit. "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?" I shout. "THEY'LL THINK I'M AN IDIOT!"

"Doesn't it look like a gaijin wrote it?" he asks innocently. "They'll think you're making a real effort to use Japanese, and they'll be SO impressed!"

I am not impressed by this argument. It still beats having to fill in the forms myself (in which case I am the one clenching the pen and holding my tongue just so, and not on purpose). But it annoys me enormously that he finds it necessary (and funny) to fill them in badly. After all, the main reason for getting him to fill them in for me is so that nobody will notice how illiterate I am.

Well... perhaps not. I may as well be honest, since he never reads this. The main reason for getting him to fill in my forms is that I loathe filling in forms, in any language, and being bad at writing Japanese gives me a brilliant excuse not to.


Shona said...

Good luck for your first day back!

E.P. said...

I'm with you, GoodAunt: even in English, filling out forms is DREADFUL! But ROTFL The Man's impishness! You 2 are real characters! :)

Best for your return to the lectern,