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02 September 2009 @ 10:01 pm
Lack of understanding...  
I'm never sure what my students are going to understand. Today, for example.

Me: "Okay, we'll finish a little early."
Them: *blank stare*
Me: (I know they know finish...) "You know finish? End?"
Them: *blank stare*
Me: "Stop?"
Them: *blank stare*
Me: "ちょっと早く終わります。"
Them: Oooooooh.
Me: *facepalm*

The reason I'm facepalming is they know what finish means--I ask them if they're done with a worksheet or a dialogue in English and they can answer just fine. Maybe "early" shut their brains down.


I recently ran though a game of Hikikomori, a free solo RPG where you play...well, a hikikomori ("shut in," basically). You pick or roll for a variety of misfit behaviors, which are balanced against your hope score, and then the RP comes when you interpret the results and write up the days.

I made up Saburou Tanigawa (谷川三郎), who has been living in an apartment paid for by his parents in a nameless city. I started with the following traits:
Hope: 3
Suicidal Thoughts: 3
Real Friend: 2
Delusion (Illogical): 2 (Sunlight is unhealthy)

And here's his diary:

Day One
I woke up late again. The curtains were drawn, so the room was still very dark, but the clock told me the sun was still up. There was no point in doing anything until it went down, so I just lay there and waited for the sun to set. As I did, I started thinking that it might be better if I just stayed here. I hadn't been outside in over two weeks. No one would miss me anyway. I'd just get one of those articles in the paper--"man found dead in apartment after neighbors complain about smell."

At about 6 p.m., the phone rang. I almost let it go--what's the point in answering it anyway--but after six rings I finally reached out, picked it up, and waited for someone to speak. It was Kitaguchi, the one person from high school I still talked to. He hasn't had a job in almost a year, but his parents still give him room and board and a small allowance while he tells them he's looking. He asked me to come out to the conbini with him. At first I was going to say no, but then I remembered that I only had one cup noodle in the apartment and agreed. I wouldn't be out in the sun long.

I threw on the thickest clothes I had to protect me from the sun, and then went outside to meet him. I thought I'd only be outside for a bit, but he ended up keeping me out for hours. I finally managed to get away with a bagfull of food and get back to my apartment. I tossed it in the corner next to the fridge and lay back down on my bed. It was the longest I'd been outside in months. I was worried that I'd have panicked, or fainted, or something, but nothing like that had happened. Maybe the sun wasn't so bad...

Still, I had to be sure. I lay back down on my futon and stared at the wall for a while. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Day Two
I was woken up by a knock on the door. I wasn't sure I could face anyone at the moment, so I just pulled the pillow over my head and waited. They knocked twice more before I heard them move on down the hall. I pulled out a manga next to the bed and read it for a while until I fell back asleep.

I woke up later with another phone call from Kitaguchi. It seemed that his parents were finally threatening to kick him out if he didn't find a job quickly. He asked me if I knew anything he could do. I was about to tell him no and hang up when I remembered that my father had mentioned something about expanding his store in the last unanswered letter he sent. I told Kitaguchi about it, and he agreed it would be a great idea and hung up. I don't think he's really going to talk to my father, but maybe it will keep his parents off his back.

When the sun was about to go down, I thought it might be good to go outside again, at least for a little bit. Just down to the conbini again. I thought about going farther, but when I actually got outside my hands started shaking. I made it to the store and bought some fried rice, but when I got outside and started to go to the music store, my feet wouldn't move. When I noticed the cashier giving me a strange look, I hit myself on the forehead like I forgot something and ran back to my apartment.

Once inside, I went and took a bath. I thought about just sinking down into the water and letting myself drown, but then I remembered Kitaguchi. I had managed to help him today--without me, he might be out on the street now. I guess I'm good for something, even if it is helping someone else lie to their parents.

Day Three
The next day I got woken up by another phone call from Kitaguchi. This time he asked me to write a letter to my father asking him to show Kitaguchi favor. I was amazed that he was actually going to go through with the job search, and I agreed. Before I hung up, I asked him if I had helped. He told me I was being really helpful, and he was glad that he knew me, then said that his father was coming and had to go. I stared at the phone in shock for a few moments before I put it down. It had been a long time since anyone had told me anything like that.

All of a sudden, my room seemed too dark and confining. I got up and went outside, this time making it past the conbini and a couple streets over to the main shopping area. There weren't too many people out, so I just wandered for a while, trying to avoid eye contact. I ended up in an arcade and played a few games of Tekken with some spare change before eating at a ramen stand and then going home. I was surprised and how easy it seemed. My palms were sweaty and my heart was beating fast by the time I got back in, but I had done it. I had managed to go out into the city on my own. I went to bed, and for once didn't think that it might be easier if I didn't wake up the next morning.

Day Four
Kitaguchi called me again today with news. He thanked me for writing him the letter but said it wasn't necessary--one of the job applications his father had sent out for him came back, and he was going in for an interview immediately. It was in Nagoya, so he'd be gone for a while, and if he got the job he'd be moving there permanently. He thanked me for all my help and promised to keep in touch, and then hung up.

I didn't bother going outside today. I just waited inside and stared at the wall until I fell back asleep.

Day Five
I didn't do anything at all today. I spent all try trying to get up the courage to go outside, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Whenever I remembered the nice time I had the day before yesterday, I thought about Kitaguchi moving away and wondered what I'd be going outside to do. I fell asleep at 3 a.m. after watching the light from the streetlight outside spin through the fan.

Day Six:
After yesterday, I was a bit worried about trying to go outside. I wasn't worried about the sun anymore, but large groups of people still set me on edge, so I waited until around 9 p.m. and then decided to go to the arcade again. I spent a couple hours there playing Gundam vs. Gundam before I started to wonder what I was doing. There wasn't any point in going out--Kitaguchi had moved away, and I didn't know anyone else in town. I left and went back to my room and read manga for a few hours until I fell asleep.

I was going to go downtown again, but I couldn't do it. I stopped into the conbini to buy a bento and I heard the cashiers talking about me when they thought I was far enough away. I bought my bento and went straight home. After I ate it, I counted the cracks in the wall for a few hours until I fell asleep.

Final Result:
I should be happy for Kitaguchi. I really should. But mostly, I'm just...sad. Sad that he left, or sad that he left and I didn't? I'm not sure. Maybe sometime I can follow in his footsteps, but for now I'm just a hikikomori. And now I'm alone.


Bad End. T_T

Well, not too bad. Suicidal Thoughts could have gotten out of control quickly, but Real Friend acted to counterbalance it and got rid of it by the second day. Delusion was gone in the first day due to a really good roll (hence the total absence of any sun thoughts later on). Saburou was doing really good, but when Kitaguchi left (I rolled a 27 on a Real Friend trait test, where 26+ means they stop being a misfit and move on with their lives, whether that means a job, a girlfriend, or whatever) the only trait left was Hope, and it's very difficult for that to improve on its own, hence Saburou's stagnation towards the end.

It actually made me kind of sad when it was done. He was doing so well in the beginning, but his friend moving away ruined his chances for a big recovery. I'm thinking about trying it again, but it's a lot of rolling. Maybe this weekend. At the least, it's good writing practice.
 
 
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Current Music: Crickets chirping
 
 
 
Michaelping816 on September 2nd, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
I played that game, it was weird
dorchadas: Broken Dreamdorchadas on September 2nd, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
Did you get a Good End, or a Bad End?
Michaelping816 on September 2nd, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
Didn't finish it :-p
Ashley <3: Sephiroth Bullshitashiri_chan on September 2nd, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
Speaking of RP, I'm playing a post-by-post LJ game now, and the icon you used for this entry is the artwork they use for the villain in the game. It freaked me out. XD
dorchadas: That is not dead...dorchadas on September 2nd, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
I grabbed it from somewhere because it reminded me of Ligier. ^^;;
q99q99 on September 3rd, 2009 07:06 am (UTC)
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The reason I'm facepalming is they know what finish means--I ask them if they're done with a worksheet or a dialogue in English and they can answer just fine. Maybe "early" shut their brains down.
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It's all about context :)