This one teacher, who I don't know so well but considered to be a decent-seeming guy, asks me about September 11th, since I'm from New York. You know - where was I and what was it like. He said he wanted to hear all about it, but I see now it was just a platform for an unexpected anti-American sneak attack.
I tell my story, and he says (clearly he was waiting for this) - "You want to know what I think? You're going to disagree with me..." Then why tell me? This has already gotten kind of heavy for a lunch-time conversation at a ramen shop. Then he tells me that he thinks the American government knew that the attack was coming and that they let it happen so that American could claim self-defense in "invading the Middle East." Sorry for the barrage of italics there, but it's still surprising to me to hear that. Bullshit all Japanese people are nonconfrontational. And there's a kicker. He veered away from this a moment later, but he threw in (and this is the most ridiculous but revealing part of his assertion) - just like at Pearl Harbor, where the US let itself be attacked so that it could attack Japan. WHAT? The two other teachers were silent, pretty much staring into their ramen the whole time. Then he asked me what I thought. I just smiled awkwardly and said "Well yeah, I do disagree, but you're entitled to your opinion." I then explained that Bush may make bad decisions, but he is not evil. The Pearl Harbor part I didn't even address.
When I talked to my predecessor about it, he said he would have probably brought up how Japan let itself get nuked so it could have an excuse to surrender. But I still have to work with these people for another few months, so I'm glad I didn't go that route.