Curse of the Ninja

Was reminded of this childhood memory by Melanie, after my previous post regarding childhood lies!

When I was in primary school, like most kids my age – I used to love The Power Rangers. The kicking, the punching, the flipping, the monsters, and the explosions…I mean, the whole package appealed really. So it wasn’t a rare sight to see me, and a couple of friends acting out crazy fight scenes in our school break times! We’d be jumping out of trees, doing killer rolls…the whole works…basically just battling evil wherever we found it…

And we didn’t skimp on any of the realism…oh no…we’d be using elaborate formations, working together to beat these savage creatures which had every intention of taking over the world. We’d jump in, one by one; “HIIII-YAHH! HUHH! PAAAH! KAPOWWW!” 

Power Rangers Boss GIF

It often took a few hits, especially if our foe was one of the big bosses – but we always, always triumphed…I mean, we’re The Power Rangers, we’re only ever going to win – that’s kinda the whole deal.

But one of these bouts stands out…you see, one of them was very, very different…

Which is odd, because it started out very much the same; we fought over who gets to be who, and then fought again over who gets which stick…just the same as every other time – but after these usual formalities, we were able to continue with our normal crime-fighting ways as per! …but this truce wasn’t to last – and before we knew it we found ourselves  arguing over something else…something which hadn’t ever been an issue before…

“YOU JUST SAID A SWEAR WORD!!!” protested one of my so called Power Ranger colleagues – wagging an accusing finger in my general direction.

“No…no, I didn’t!” I argued, unsure of what he was referring to. I assumed he had misheard one of my amazingly realistic “SHIPOWWWW!” sound effects as something more menacing. So I pleaded my case, I was innocent GODDDAMITTT!

Power Rangers Oh No GIF

“NO. NO. NO. I’M TELLING.” He smirked out the side of his mouth…the grin sent my blood boiling – did he really think I had swore, or was he just trying to fuck with me? I wasn’t sure…but for once, I hadn’t actually done a thing! So I tried to grab him, I had to keep him from spreading his lies – his arm alluded my clutches, and I found myself pulling desperately on his empty jumper sleeve…but with one big yank, he was free – albeit with a stretched bit of material that was now twice the length…

“YOU FUCKING BACK-STABBING PIECE OF SHIT!” I screamed after him, as he ran towards the classroom. Well obviously I didn’t really say that; I was eight or nine – so it was more likely I said “GET LOST, YOU BUM HEAD!” Which roughly translates to the same thing.

I ran away in the opposite direction, hoping that this would somehow make all of my problems go away – or at the very least bide me some time. It didn’t work. Before long I found myself in front of my teacher Mrs. Mc.Dermott…she was usually so friendly; she always appreciated my artwork – even the ones using paint which I constantly messed up. But she wasn’t friendly now, after all he had whispered his bullshit into her ear – and she had believed him.

He was sent away, and the interrogation began. Why had I said it?! What had driven me to use such horrible language?! Where had I learned it?! I tried to explain, tried to sputter out my defense – but she wasn’t buying it. So it was a stalemate. I didn’t know what to do…and hunger pains began to pulse through my body…urgh, now I come to think of it – I was STARVING…

“LISTEN, JOHN! You either own up, and apologise – and then go for your lunch. Or we just sit here. Your choice.” 

 Well obviously I admitted to it. It was like the carrot, and stick – except it wasn’t a carrot on the end of it…it was a lovely chocolate doughnut, apple juice, and whatever other goodies I had waiting for me in my bag. I’d probably do the same thing now, food trumps just about anything…for me anyways! 

You see I needed my energy. I’d be playing Power Rangers again in the afternoon break – and there was a new enemy I’d need every bit of strength to take down…“HIIIIII-YAHHHH!”

Power Rangers Beat GIF

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Table Manners (DON’T MATTER?)

I need your help here my friends! You see naturally there are different table manners, and rules – when it comes to different countries…so what should I teach my Korean kids? The Western ways…or…do I try and get on board with the Korean etiquette? Help me out, please! 

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KID’S DRAWINGS SUCK! (RANT)

I had to get this off my chest – it’s an injustice that should be made history, immediately! Why we put up with it I just don’t know! 

I think I made my point…ish…kinda

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Korean Kung-Fu Fighting

Oh my goodness! Look what I just found! I’d forgotten there was video!

p.s. just a little side note – the reason I am moving so robotically, is that my boob piece thing was about to pop out, and my various weaponry was also threatening to fall out of my belt – so it was my little way of trying to minimize movement…urgh…the struggles of a performer, ey? 

p.p.s. Don’t mess with Korean kids, I think that much is clear! 

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An 8 Year Old’s America

A student of mine handed me this today – announcing; “This is why I don’t like America.” 

America

We had been discussing holidays, and dream destinations – so this wasn’t exactly part of the lesson plan…but I couldn’t exactly fault him, as he was so well informed for an eight year old…particularly as he is Korean, and consequently English is not his first language.

I had him explain his illustrations; gun possession, terrorist attacks, assassinations, drones, gangs, police brutality, and obesity. That is the image foreign parts have of America, a country I know first hand to be a lovely place, filled with positives.

Perhaps more needs to be done to highlight the good, not just the bad – I did what I could with him, but he said he had watched it on the news, and called me a liar. Therein lies the problem, I feel…what do you think?

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The Close Shave

I was reading an amusing post from my main man Geraint Isitt, and it reminded me of an old childhood memory. Funny how that can happen! Just one little detail can swerve your brain into a strange direction, causing all kinds of things to come back into context, right to the forefront of your thoughts! Hmm, weird! Anyway here’s the story I was reminded of…

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It is only in the past couple of years that I have been able to grow any real facial hair. Phew….I feel better now that is out there! But therein is the issue! Now that I’m able to possess it (should I want to look like a lumberjack), I hate it! The shaving process itself is just horrific…if I don’t shave I look homeless, and not like your happy go lucky tramp, who plays his banjo and rides the rails ~ no-no-no, I have the misfortune of possessing the scary/vaguely psychotic look. So shaving it is, done deal! Ahh, no you see – because when I do my skin flares up in a very unflattering way…in fact a slice of corned beef has a more healthy looking complexion.

Witches GIF

Strange then, that before all of that I wanted nothing more than to shave…perhaps I thought it was a manly occupation – I felt dis-empowered that some grandmothers had ten times more facial hair than I did. What was wrong with me? Well nothing…but I felt this way even when I was a young child. I remember staring up at my Father’s razor…its solid steel handle, its sharp layered blades – and the embossed writing on the side that always had words with loads of extra Xs…just to make it even more cool. Wowif only…if only…one day…one day…

Well it was a blessed day when I spotted some hair – right above my lip, it wasn’t much – (you had to press close up to the mirror just to spot it) but it was there. I raced to show my Mother, who pretended she couldn’t see it, she claimed it was all in my head…I was eight I wasn’t blind or stupid – IT WAS THERE, I WAS NOW A MAN – NOTHING COULD STOP ME!

That afternoon I had nothing but that razor on my mind…it was taunting me, daring me to give it a go – it took no time at all for me to find myself in the bathroom, right there at the sink – steel blade in hand. I wasn’t really sure what to do, in this light the hair was invisible – maybe I had imagined it? Not good to think that way, negative thinking – so I went ahead and squirted some whipped cream stuff on my hand, squirted too much…smells weird, tastes weird, eww…like minty chemicals…okay, so then I began to cover my face in it, till I looked like some kind of French fancy dessert.

I then jabbed randomly, and sporadically with the razor…YOWWWWW!!!!

Shave Home Alone GIF

That hurt. I had just sliced a rather huge gash in the side of my face, blood was now gushing out, it was mixing with the shaving cream to make a pinky coloured sludge that clumped to my face, and slopped down to the bathroom floor. This was a mess, this was a nightmare.

“TEA TIME! TEA’S READY!” That was my  Mother calling – I heard the usual Jumanji styled rush of bodies piling down the stairs, “I’M COMING…I JUST…I”M COMING!” I managed to squawk out weakly…

I splashed frenetically at my face, used a lot of toilet paper for the clean up – that way I could flush away all of the evidence…but it was using too much, they would suspect me, they would know somehow! So I looked around for a dark towel, there wasn’t one…ahhh…errr…“JOHN, TEA!” that was my Father this time…I shouted back that I knew, I was just on the toilet – no answer, that’s always a good one, they can’t say anything if you are having a poo – it’s just not allowed.

I continued to scrub all the surfaces, and mop up all of the mess, but my face was still oozing with blood, and new drips were being formed every second – I almost cried, but held it together…after it had stopped, I gave one last wipe over, before tossing the used and blooded towel straight in the washing basket. Done, what a relief.

Patrick Britney GIF

URGHHH! The reflection in the mirror was a shock – I hadn’t realised just how ginormous the slash in my face was. “JOHN, GET DOWN HERE NOW – THIS IS RIDICULOUS, IT’S CLAY COLD NOW!” That was the last straw, I knew that – when that phrase is dropped you are out of lives. So I plodded down the stairs…trying to scan what was left in my tired, overworked brain for a valid excuse. Nothing.

I sat myself down in silence, and began to eat my food with my head down. Someone asked what was on my face…how had I scratched it so deeply, what had happened? I paused, quivering with fear…my hands shook, and tears were filling up in my eyes…

“I…I…tripped…I tripped and hit my face on…the sink…”

There was a pause…a long one…this was it….grounded for forever, no pocket money for the rest of time…

“Awww…you should be more careful – now eat your dinner.” replied my Mother, barely glancing –

And that was it. Everyone else was more interested in their ice cream. I was lucky – usually there would be a deep and unrelenting inquiry – but not this day…not on ice cream day.

Still…I think to this day, it’s probably the most exhilarating shave I have ever had – weird, I haven’t ever seen that experience documented on a Gillette advertisement…

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“All Grown Up.”

I hate the expression “grown-up.”  There’s just something about it that is so depressingly final. I don’t mean to say that I want to live a completely infantalized  life*, I am merely trying to suggest that the idea of being a “grown up” is a lazy slump…in fact it is more than that, I would suggest it is a totally flawed concept altogether.

(Please note: I lied there…I would love to be a child forever, unfortunately it just isn’t biologically possible – as soon as such a procedure is available I will set up a Kickstarter campaign, and I expect your full support.)

Billy Maddison Shake GIF

Continue reading ““All Grown Up.””

Chinese Burn

What is a Chinese burn? Maybe you know, maybe you don’t…well, let me refresh your memory – a Chinese burn, is a childhood game/trick/prank thing, which is achieved by putting two hands on a victim’s forearm, and then twisting in opposing directions. It fucking hurts – and leaves a red mark…a “Chinese burn” as it is known.  

Zac Crying GIF

After those early school years it features very little in your everyday life. It’s juvenile I suppose, and is probably at least a little bit politically incorrect, or even racist perhaps. Well, whatever it is – I had well and truly forgotten about it by the time I actually visited China many years later…

 Never in a million years, did I think this mythical childhood creature would actually be a reality.

Despite a long day at the Beijing summer school, and an early start the next day – a couple of us decided it would be a great idea to head further into the city, and out of the dusty suburbs…I can’t really remember much of what we did there, drink probably? Hmmm…not sure, all I really remember is the taxi ride back. Three of us fell into a car, and spent ages trying to get the pronunciation correct when we told him where we wanted to go…

“Shoonyee?” Nothing…blank stares – so someone else tagged in –

“Shun-ee?” Nothing again, possibly a shake of the head – someone else’s go –

“SHOONYEE, SHOONYEE?!” Nothing again.

“Come on…please…shoon-yee, SHOON-YEE!”

Ice Cube GIF

(After many attempts) “Ahhhh! SHUNYEE!”

(Everyone on in chorus together) “SHUNYEE!! SHUNYEE!!”

“Yes, yes! I know! SHUNYEE!” he said with a smirk of accomplishment, as the population of his car began in a huge high-five-fest. And why wouldn’t we? At last we were off! That’s always a great feeling, especially when in a foreign land – that moment that you know you don’t have to worry anymore, as you will be brought to the door of wherever you want to be…you can say goodbye to any hassle (and hello to overpaying on the fare, but hey-ho!)

After a little while, it began to become clear that we were going a different way than the one we came…it was dark, so quite a challenge to see things, especially in our condition – but there certainly wasn’t a motorway on the way out, or was there? Maybe we hadn’t paid attention? Hmm…

We drove for a long time, we should have been back by now – but we were still not seeing anything that looked even vaguely familiar, we began to enunciate “SHUNYEE – SHUNYEE!” once more….“DWAY! DWAY! SHUNYEE!” He said he knew the way, but it was quite clear he didn’t – in a strange and non-nonsensical turn of events we began to give him directions…on what basis I don’t know. This served to only annoy the driver (not surprising) and get us even more lost in this dark unknown wilderness. Where would we even end up…maybe he was going to lead us out into the bleak wasteland, and just shoot us in the back of the head one by one…it happens…in movies…but still…IT HAPPENS!

Freaking Out GIF

Some time passed, and whoever was in the front passenger seat was the only one still trying to converse – the rest of us had given up. We took a sharp-ish right which shook us out of our drunken backseat snooze – before we knew it we were outside of a building. “Shunyee.” the taxi driver pointed, whilst also avoiding all eye contact. 

We looked out of the window in unison. It was a huge flashy hotel, nothing like the one we were staying in. And around it…errr…well, nothing…at all, just a lot of grass…roads…and more grass, possibly some more road…then grass. Short version: this was the middle of nowhere. We tried to tell him that this was not Shunyi…but he insisted…we were drunk sure, but we weren’t that drunk! After some heated words we decided to cut our losses, handed over the money that it read on the taxi-meter and started to head into the hotel…maybe at the reception we could order another taxi, or get directions or something.

“ARRRRGHHH – GERRROFFFIZMAN!”

I spun around, there was my friend battling with the taxi driver, trying to pull away from his grasp – he had two hands clasped around his forearm and wouldn’t relinquish his hold…anytime my friend would try to prize him off he would hold on even tighter…anytime he tried to move, he would just follow right along with him…there was one weird moment where they walked along as if part of a wedding procession – would have been romantic in the right setting I am sure, but in this one it was down-right terrifying!

“COME IN THE HOTEL!” my other friend screamed,  “JUST GET HIM OFF, AND COME IN THE HOTEL!”

“I CAN’T…HE WON’T GET OFF MAN! HE’S HOLDING ME!?”

“GET TO THE HOTEL!” I started to imitate the suggestion loudly, despite being only a few feet away from him – I was scared that if I got too close he would somehow grab my forearm, and have us both!

“HE CAN’T GO IN THE HOTEL – JUST GET TO THE HOTEL, AND HE ISN’T ABLE TO ENTER! IT’S A LAW! 

My friend seemed pretty certain of this, I had no idea why a taxi driver would be banned from entering a building…but at the time it made sense to me. So I repeated these words, over and over – finally he managed to break free…and we all ran the last couple of steps – desperately pushed through the revolving doors and fell into the hotel reception, panting hard. We all stared out at him on the other side of the glass, as he stared right back at us…we were safe…it seems my friend was right…oh…wait…NO, NO, NO! WHAT?! WHAT IS HE DOING?!

Popcorn Fright GIF

He started advancing, and began pushing the revolving doors, edging closer and closer – what was he doing…how? HOW?!

“I THOUGHT YOU SAID HE COULDN’T GET IN?!”

“HE…HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO!!!”

“WHAT?! HE’S NOT ABLE TO PUSH A DOOR OPEN…WHY WOULD THAT BE A THING?!”

No one waited for an answer to that ridiculous question, we simply picked ourselves up, and sprinted to the reception…he was still following, not running – but following, at a weird horror movie killer pace…you know, where they don’t seem to go fast but are always around the corner? Yeah, that! We had limited time we knew that – so we explained the situation as fast as possible – but alas, the lady at the desk didn’t speak any English, and soon our nightmarish friend was back with us – grasping arms, and twisting hard.

Another guy was called over, who managed to speak to the irate taxi driver – he translated that the man was upset, because we had ran off without paying…even though the money we had handed over was still in his pocket – once we pointed this out, he changed tactic and said that it hadn’t been enough – when quizzed about his meter and how that could be so – he gave up, and went off in a huff. Phew, as you can imagine we already LOVED the translator guy – he was our hero, our savior. Our new best friend, for life.

He went even further than the call of duty, and called us a taxi with a trustworthy company, he even looked up where we were staying – and gave the exact address to the driver once he arrived, as well as making sure we paid FIRST, to avoid the same issue happening again…people’s arms were sore, we couldn’t cope with more of those shenanigans!

On the ride back home we were absolutely exhausted…the friend who had got the worst of the wrestling hold was complaining about how much it hurt, I thought he was just joking, or perhaps even over-exaggerating…but when I looked it was bright red – “wait…that’s a bit like a…Chinese burn, remember those?” My friend nodded solemnly. “So that’s a real thing…haha…hmph…well there you go! You learn something new everyday!”

Right Okay GIF

We slept soundly that night, I can tell you that for sure. Too much drama, and excitement for one night.

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Playroom Craziness

Dammit! Always so full of energy on Monday morning…I guess they’re pretty excitable too!

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