How to Become a School Yard Idol
by Vaughn J Meldrum
As foreigners in Japan, we often face a series of misconceptions held by Japanese people. These can range from amusing to psychologically deteriorating. Yet, there is also power in this foreigner-ness. We have the ability to fool our students into thinking we are extraordinary or even cool, due to their lack of foreign exposure. If you can trick your students into thinking of you as an idol, they are much more likely to follow directions and be nice to you. Additionally, it will do wonders for your self-esteem. These following tips worked for me, and may work for you as well. After all, there is nothing better as a grown adult than winning the admiration of a group of children and teenagers right? … Right?
1. Look The Part
The most important thing about becoming an idol to your students is the look. Highlight the features that could be deemed the most foreign. Blond hair? Bleach it lighter. Blue eyes? Ditch the glasses and show those beauties off. Curly hair? Accentuate it with a perm. Essentially think of yourself as a walking caricature.
2. Be Your Country
Every country has a series of stereotypes attached to it for better or for worse. Identify the most positive ones and run with them! As an American I obviously love hamburgers, and play baseball in my spare time. Using these facts to my advantage, I was able to fool my students into thinking these things were actually true. I am the American Dream!
3. Establish a Fan Club
Find out which students are deemed the coolest and get them on your side through whatever means necessary. If you are in with them, you are in with everybody. Find out their interests and make them your own. Read their favorite manga and watch their favorite anime. Become them.
The key here is to look effortless. Even if you had your entire wardrobe tailored to your specific measurements, don’t let on that this is the case. Always be nonchalant, stride into the room with confidence as a throng of students giggling with glee trail behind you. You’re a rock star now!
5. Humility Is A Virtue
Even as your students shower you with praise, don’t forget to receive these compliments with humility. The trick is to deny them in a convincing way, but not too harshly as to stop them completely. It is a subtle art, and one that is best mastered as a line of elementary school students wait in excitement for your signature. It will be worth something someday.
6. Beat Them Into Submission
Show them your power and dominance by beating your students at every game and sport available. There is nothing more satisfying than winning an arm wrestling match against a crowd of elementary school children. We are the champions these children aspire to be! We are as Gods!
With these tips and tricks, you can establish an aura of awesomeness that will completely captivate your students. It is like they are seeing something in you that has always been there, but you didn’t know it. Just like “She’s All That”. You remember that movie don’t you? You are Rachel Lee Cook, and the students are Freddie Prinze, Jr. But be careful of this mindset, as it is a fantasyland.
7. The Setting Sun
When you inevitably head back to your home country, it will be time to leave your status as an idol behind. No longer will a flexing of your fleshy arm garner praise for you muscular physique. No longer will writing in hiragana establish you as a genius. The sun will set on this era of your life, and the night that follows will be cold.