December 10, 2007

Conflict resolution

I stopped fighting around my junior high years. More than anything, I think it was because deep down I found it silly to settle things that way.
But I almost got in a fight last night. I was coming out of karaoke with a couple of Japanese girls that I am just getting to know when I saw three people. Touching my car. And what the-- bending my antenna?
I threw out a fairly tough "ホイ!何をしているんだ!" (elementary kids give one a lot of opportunity to say this when they start poking digits where digits don't belong). The culprit was a typical ヤンキー, with long blond matted hair and a beer mug (not can) in his hand. He dumbly looked at me, an angry foreigner out of nowhere twice his size. I pushed him firmly but fairly unconfrontationally and said, "Go away."
"ゴアワイ?" he replied.
I said "行け", but he kept up the dumb act. After a few rounds of me telling him to leave, I said, "曲がったやろう? and pointed at my antennae. At this point his friend jumped in and apologized as he bent it back into place.
After he did that I had decided this is not something I wanted to fight over, so I opened the passenger side for the ladies. The repentant friend said,"Ladies first かっこいよ! ごめんね!"
I mumbled a gruff もう大丈夫," and got in.
The guy that I was truly angry at played dumb to the end. As I got in, he was saying "ゴアワイ?ゴアワイ?"
But the interesting thing to me is my adrenaline never really rushed during or after the whole thing, though I was prepared for that beer mug to come at me any time. I apologized to the girls, but they didn't seem fazed. Overall, an interesting three-someish impromptu date.
In other fights, I recently had a heated discussion with a teacher about my lack of keigo. I realized afterwards that really, deep down, she seems to hate me. So I wrote a "lets be friends" type letter and left it in her shoe-box. She won't even look at me today. Maybe she feels guilty. Maybe she is infuriated by letters, but hey, I am shy. And we've established I don't use keigo when speaking.