Sunday, June 24, 2012

Things I Will/Won't Miss About Japan

Things have been rather dead around these parts. I apologize, I'm going through a big life transition and blogging isn't high on the list of priorities.

In packing and sorting through all my crap, I decided I'm going to try to do a new post EVERYDAY (lol let's see how long that lasts) cataloging the things I've loved and the things I've hated about life in Tokyo.

I'm not going to officially start this epic series until July, my last full month in Japan, but here's a sample~

Things I'll Miss About Japan #0: Ridiculous Men's Magazines

Whenever I'm feeling down or just want something pretty to look at, I indulge myself with a purchase of some crazy gyaru-o magazine.

My most purchased to date has been Men's Egg, but they're all about the same. I think in general the models for Men's KNUCKLE are better-looking, but I'm a dedicated Men's Egg fan. I really should have made a greater effort to see their taiko drum movie last summer.

Oh, look! Gyaru-o "gangs" or circles or something lol.


Even though I can get most big name Japanese magazines in Hawaii (Egg, Nuts, SCawaii, etc.) and every single JE magazine, no one carries men's magazines. I rarely bother reading the articles, but sometimes I do find gems like how to nampa over Mixi or other hilarious topics. Otherwise I'm sure it's a mix of misogynist crap and tutorials on how to get the best hair evarrrr.

Alas, the few I've purchased are now bundled up and waiting for recycle day. Thanks for the lulz, guys.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Here and There

The story of the last two weeks. Or week? I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE.

Last purikura with Marissa and Tracy!
Please note our matching HK lense-less frames.

Saw Marissa off at Narita.
She'll miss the big bottles of Kewpie mayo!

Skytree is one word.

Chef being coy.

Lucky me!
I managed to get three unsuspecting j-boys into an izakaya!


Russian? strawberry shake flavored Milky Way bars.


Hamburg steak place in Shinjuku.
This was the healthy summer set with vegetables.
LOL healthy with a slab of butter on it.

They have this bag out front LOL.

Look an old shinkansen.
I am naturally pigeon-toed, ask my mother
about the horrendous boots I wore as a baby.

He wouldn't get out of the picture!

The only lines worth riding, to be honest.


Monday, June 4, 2012

I Will

I will be ending my time as an English conversation school teacher in less than two months. Sweet Jesus, hallelujah.

Contract extension? PASS.

While I am no closer to deciding what I will do with my career following my exit from this company, I feel that I have learned a lot about people and about myself. I thank mostly my manager for these epiphanies. I originally was going to write about who I didn't want to be and complain, but I thought I'd at least half-ass an effort to sound positive. So, in no particular order, I give you a list of things I feel I must strive for in the future.

1. I will be dependable

I don't want to be the person no one can count on. I want people to trust that I will do what I say and follow through on what is expected of me. There have been a number of times where I've needed things from other people in my job and they all acted like they'd forgotten about it or I had to NAG NAG NAG for anything to be done. Yes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and you have to work for what you want and whatever, but I don't think that should be used as an excuse for being treated poorly or outright ignored. I want to be better than that.

2. I will express my gratitude

We recently had a sort of company veteran join our school. She's by the book and follows all the rules, but not obnoxiously so. She's always surprising me by how awesome she is at her job - with the kids and with her coworkers. She's never left me hanging and, going back to point 1, I can depend on her. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GRATEFUL I AM TO HAVE THIS WOMAN AT WORK.

I'm not saying THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU all the time to her (though she deserves it), but I try to show my gratitude through working with her and helping her where I can. If she asks for something, I try to do it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. If I can do some menial task for her when I'm free, I will. Matching words and actions - saying AND showing that I appreciate her being professional.

3. I will give constructive criticism as kindly as I can

I'm a very blunt person. I'm not cut out to work in Japan for the long haul, but I have learned a lot about avoiding unnecessary confrontation. Using a scalpel in surgery rather than a roaring chainsaw, so to say.

I can't say I'm the master of this, but having watched other people successfully deal with problems with just a little bit of patience is mind-blowing to me. I have no patience whatsoever. I'm learning how to develop the skills of counting to 10, gritting my teeth, and nicely puting into words how much I want to punch someone in the face WITHOUT 1) actually punching them or 2) admitting that I'd like to punch them.

It is difficult.

4. I will learn

I make terrible mistakes sometimes, and as awful as they can be I try my best to learn from them rather than dwell on how terrible the experience was. I also try to learn from the mistakes others make, while being grateful (hey, point 2!) that I was not the one who screwed up. If I do something wrong, I'll own up to it and be responsible for fixing it.

5. I will do my best

I will not pass off my responsibilities to someone else. I will not hide my mistakes or attribute them to others. I will work hard and try to help others when I can.


And now that the mushy positive feel-good stuff is out of the way, I'll tell you, dear reader, about the one incident that ticked me off enough to write this.

This past week, one of our former teachers came to visit. Not red face Brohei-sensei, but our other buddy Sugar Cow sensei. Two of his students came up with that; they were making fun of his first name and I've remembered it since.

He texted me early one morning this past week to ask when he'd be able to see the two who gave him the Sugar Cow moniker. We had a little chat over texts and he mentioned that he had tried to get in touch with my manager, but she must have been busy because she never replied to his mail.

I don't understand how this woman's brain works. This guy saved her incompetent neck from so much, he dealt with me when she didn't feel like it, and he was at her beck and call for a full year. He did his job and a good third of hers, and she couldn't even be bothered to respond to a mail about him wanting to come visit the school. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and let it slide. Maybe she'd mention something at work or be different when he showed up.

I started getting anxious around the time Sugar Cow said he'd show up and was so glad when he finally walked through the door. He looked his age for once (24 if I remember correctly), had put some weight on his skinny frame, and seemed overall much happier now that he wasn't working for our company. I came out and greeted him, gave him a hug, got some updates on his life and all that. The other teachers made a good effort to chat him up and the two kids he came to see were happy to have him around for a little while.

Manager didn't even get up from her chair. She gave him a faint, "Otsukaresama desu," accepted the omiyage he handed to her, and went back to work. It's been a few days and I still can't believe she had the gall to act like that; to be so ungrateful to this guy who did so much for her out of professional duty and wanting to be a good person.

I do not want to be anything like manager.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Rainy Tuesday at DisneySea

I saw Marissa off at the airport today. SAD PANDAS. But I remembered I hadn't written about our last trip to DisneySea!

We went on a Tuesday to avoid the crowds, and then it rained so we avoided even MORE crowds! Yay! But we also got our hair and make-up all messed up. Not yay.

This was trip #3 of 10.


Indy was hanging out around trip #4.

Mailed my mom a sweet postcard!

Some poor soul had to spend 5 minutes
making a Duffy bear head out of the tree crap on the ground.

Indiana Jones ride #10!!!

One of the highlights of the day was running into a rather dashing Prince Eric near Ariel's Grotto. I love that he stayed in character and was talking about Ariel and whatever even though no one around him could understand a word of what he said. He was quite charming and seemed glad to be able to talk to some English-speakers.

I think the dog was also an English-speaker because he understood Eric but WHO KNOWS?

Friday, June 1, 2012


I've been terribly busy since GW ended! I've been doing all sorts of fun things with friends, but I'm also preparing to leave Japan in a few months.

 It feels like it was just yesterday that I landed in Osaka...

I have been seriously considering doing a series on working for an English conversation school. I've been writing an extensive manual for the teacher that will replace me and I could easily turn it into a bunch of blog posts. I knew nothing about the business or what sort of things I'd be doing on a day-to-day basis when I got this job, and I might have considered other options had I known what I know now. It has been an extremely uncomfortable and stressful job at some points.

My face when manager speaks.

Otherwise, I'll do my best to get back to blogging about food and j-boys and unnecessary things.