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The past and the curious; Tokyo drift...

24 June 2009.

sunny 27 °C

I thought it was about time I wrote another blog, mainly because im bored and have some time on my hands. However I didnt wanna just fire a blog out if i didnt think it was ready! A blog is like a baby, my blog ideas are like the foetus in the womb and if it comes out prematurely its probably not going to be as good! (Im proof of this haha).

My time iv had in Japan so far has without a doubt whizzed by, which on the whole is a good thing! Its very much true that if your keeping busy and always have something to do, time most definetely flies! I've experienced times in life where, things have been pretty dead, quiet and boring and theres really not anything taking up my time in any sense of the word. During these times, time draggged, almost to the point where you look at a clock and see the minute hand skip back a second. What im trying to say is that time is relative, and having nothing to do always feels better when you've had a long stint of being busy!

Im finding it more difficult to muse on interesting and strange cultural things in Japan because I think i've become accustomed to life here now. However theres still always something amusing to discover!
First thing id like to talk about is Chopsticks. Now chopsticks date back centuries and are part of Oriental tradition!....fair enough. On the other hand Japan for example are supposed to be at the forefront of technology and as technology moves on you'd think they would wake up and drop the sticks! Surely technology is the attempt to make life for everyone easier, in any way we can and constantly improve the world!? Im not trying to shit on their ways, dont get me wrong, I love the sticks!...but to me, using the Chopsticks when you know the knife and fork are out there...is like still riding around by Horse and Cart when you know the car is out there. Now like i said before I love the sticks, its like a game eating with them...like playing Operation! But when your expected to eat Meiso soup with sticks, you gotta be outta your mind!

Ok, the next few things on my rant of curious musings is...Jaywalking. I spose Jaywalking is frowned upon everywhere, but i think in Japan people tend to really play by the rules with this. Im not sure iv actually seen a Japanese person Jaywalk! I cross the road whenever and wherever I can, if i think its safe to cross I'll cross! I know what your thinking...what a rebel! this is true, and this is what the onlooking Japanese people are thinking times 100, as some of the time they'll look at me like i've just stabbed someone in the neck, or pissed in someones eyes, when im only crossing the road when the red man is on! no biggie!

Next is the white-guy nod. This is probably a bigger thing in more remote places where white people are few and far between. However, even in the outskirts of Tokyo, seeing white people is not as common as you'd think. If first happened in my first few weeks, there was a white guy walked past me in a crowd of Japanese people, he grinned looked at me and just nodded. I thought this was weird, but now whenever i see a white person, sometimes they nod and its quite a nice recognition of another ''gaijin'' (foriegner) in Japan!

Next is Phones. Now you might think theres nothing to say about phones. Well your right theres not really! All i will say is that....you cannot send a text message to someone unless they're on the same network as you. If there not you have to find out their ''phone email address'' and send them an email! Its not that big of a quibble but pretty stupid if I may say so! Also...Japanese people like to hang things from their phone, phone accessories. Its almost like a subtle competition as the shit they hang from they're phones seems to be getting bigger and bigger and more and more! It'll get to the point where holding the phone is like a lead-weight due to the mass amounts of crap hanging down, and wont fit in their bags let alone their pockets!

Something i find particularly interesting/amusing is when I frequently see people with English writing on their clothing. Might not sound amusing, but its more than likely going to be written badly and not make much sense! I've not been able to take photo evidence of this, cause id look crazy. Im afraid i only have one example. Its a student, who wears a baseball cap, which reads ''Heavy working in young age makes for quiet rest in old age'' maybe thats a proverb he lives by I dont know...but I found it funny!

Now drinking in the streets and public places to me, when allowed is frowned upon back home. Typically you might keep your distance from someone with a can of beer in the street or on the train, probably because theres a chance they could be a maniac! Over here however you can drink in public no problem. Its not something i make a habit of, but when you feel good in the knowledge you dont have to finish your drink before you leave your apartment, and taking your can to the streets is one of the things you wont be looked at badly for doing! Just like smoking...while im on the subject of Vices! In Britain, smoking inside in public, a big NO NO...NOW, smoking anywhere outside go for it! In Japan, smoking inside is encouraged, and smoking outside Woah woah, only in designated areas! Twilight zone!

Ok, teaching. Where do I start well its still going smoothly. I suppose with any job you have good days and bad days. With this its not so much a bad day, just that you have less patience with students that usual! However 90% of the time I can put myself in their shoes and realise this English business, is harder than it looks! which helps me explain various things!
I've had parents observations and my boss observed me in an adult class. Parents are allowed to observe for 2weeks annually in June. I thought it was a bit out of order I was thrown into this Parents Obs ordeal since Id barely been teaching a month when it kicked off. Still...I get it my best and came out a winner, most parents seemed to like how I was doing things, which was a surprise, as they sit at the back making notes with confused looks on their faces!
My boss, has to observe me for one adult lesson and one kids lesson. The adult lesson has been observed...it turned out ok, but again my boss was sat at the back with a worried look on his face, which made me think im doing something wrong! However I was later told this was his ''Observing face'' similar to a ''Poker face'' meant as to not give anything away, however it didnt have the desired effect! haha!

Even though I dont watch TV very often as I have no clue whats going on! The times I do decide to browse through the channels, lead me to the conclusion that Japanese tv is made up solely of one of 3 things; 1) Sadistic gameshows 2)Cooking and lots of it! or 3) Selling, anything products of all sorts, they always seem to be selling! It does sometimes make for interesting viewing! Im always confused and this just adds to the confusion. You sit there thinking, whys he doing that or wearing that!? whys she shouting?! whys he throwing things, whys are they half naked and crawling on the floor!?

The weather you might think is better than home, sadly not the case. Scotland seems to be shining nicely since I've left, and Japans ''5th season'' as they call it, Monsoon season, shows no mercy!
Theres a scheme called ''cool-biz'' which is enforced in summer months so your not as hot and sweaty. All is means is you dont have to wear a tie! Fair enough you still have to have a shirt and trousers to look professional, but C'MON! Oooooh I dont have to wear a tie!! not exactly gonna cool me down when it'll be 35 degrees and 80% humid!

Ok, im gonna round up this blog, and just say I should have more interesting worthwhile things to write in the near future! and not just ridiculous ramblings about nothing in particular to waste your time....well you knew what you were in for to be honest!
I have a mate whos teaching with another company in Osaka, he's coming up here for a week before he leaves Japan, and we'll be taking 2 days to conquer Mount Fuji which im looking forward to! Im always out and about socialising when I can, and im trying to pick up various words and phrases to impress the locals!

Posted by RMS8 07:16 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo japan travel strange job english asia teaching

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