Friday, July 22, 2011

Emergency All-School Meeting

Today there was an emergency meeting. I was working quietly at my desk when I noticed that the staff room was filling up after 2nd period and the principal was in the room.  To be clear, the principal only comes to the teacher’s room when there is a meeting. 

Being that it was at a strange time – the 10 minute period between classes – and unplanned, I asked around and was told that it was an emergency meeting.  The meeting started soon afterwards and I listened intently, trying to figure out the emergency. 

I was proud of myself for catching most of the nouns, but I had a hard time piecing together the meaning.  The fastest talking teacher was announcing something about the incident, and the story that I caught went something like this:

This morning…7:40…junior high school…junior high school student…bicycle…high school students…two people…bicycle…Hokuto High School and Hakuyo High School…hospital...please notify the students. 

In my imagination, here’s how I filled in the blanks:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One Year Reflection

I’ve been in Japan for almost one year now.  At this time last year, I had finished packing but I wasn’t ready to go.  In fact, I would’ve taken almost any other job if something had come up.  However, as fate would have it, no job offer magically appeared and I was on a plane to Tokyo within a few days.

Since living in Japan I’ve hit really high highs, and lows lower than anything I could have ever imagined.  I felt a whole range of emotions in the extreme – homesickness, longing, heartbreak, contentment, isolation, discontent, optimism, betrayal – and I continue to discover a new intensity to old emotions that I thought I knew, such as happiness and sadness.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nonsensical Emails

What is up with the emails of people here in Japan? To be clear, most people don't text, they use phone emails to correspond with others in place of texting to someone's phone number.  That means that if you want to correspond any other way besides calling, you have to get their phone number AND phone email.  In fact, you can't text from phone number to phone number unless you're on the same carrier.  And maybe that's why it seems like my students don't have computer-based emails, only phone ones. So I don't know many Japanese people's computer emails, and when I've asked students to email me a file or ask a teacher for their email to correspond about work or to send them a file,  95% of the time I get a phone email.  It always seems to take forever to share an email address because there are so many numbers and letters and they always seem to be arranged so haphazardly that it't tough to get right.  Of course, this is added onto the already present differences in native language.  

It shocks me, though, that there aren't more sensible email addresses.  Not unlike at home, when you make an email you can't control what comes after the @ sign, but you always get to choose what comes before the @ sign.  You do this when you sign up for a phone in Japan.  Here are some examples of what I mean (they have been changed somewhat for privacy purposes but retain their original weirdness):

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flashing Season

Apparently it's that time of year.

With the changing of spring into summer, the rainy season is over, the chance of frost is over, the days are (relatively) long, and the sun is out.  It's the perfect time for a run outside on a warm and sunny Saturday.  It's a time when you don't have to wear a jacket at night.  It's also prime weather for creepy perverts to flash their little man parts at unsuspecting women. 

Within a matter of three days, I have had two experiences with this.  Let me give you a little background:

Case 1: The Adulterated Saturday Run