I gave my cool kids drawings on postcards with my contact info. Zombie Moldy Shokupan Man, FrankenMario, and Count Pikachu.
This is Uhn's version of Pikachu.
I didn't say anything about leaving, per Manager's stupid request, so I didn't get that many gifts.
But I reread part of my renewal of my contract, and I can't talk about the company for a full year! DAMNIT. Oh well. So long as I don't specifically name the horrible awful no good company I worked for, right? Maybe.
I will say that I don't think the company I worked for will be around for much longer. If their current business practices continue, max two years (then we might have a "new" company like there's a "new" Nova). There have been rumblings of trouble for quite some time and bad things are finally starting to happen. I'm glad that I got out when I did.
I'll miss a few of my kids, maybe about a dozen out of more than 60. My oldest, Mittens, did email me so I hope we'll stay in touch. I haven't heard from anyone else yet but I won't be holding my breath. I'm just glad to be done with this job and out of that miserable work environment.
I don't know what I'll do next, but for now I'm going to enjoy my last few days in Japan. When I get home I'll take a break and play a little before really looking for another job. I got a fairly good exit package so I'm not worried about money just yet.
Definitely more DRINKING before heading back into the work force.
COMBO! Things I'll Miss About Japan #12: Outstanding Customer Service Things I Won't Miss About Japan #12: Being That Gaijin No One Wants to Deal With
No one kisses my ass like they do in Japan. The staff at shops, bars, restaurants, train stations, almost everywhere are very polite and helpful. The standards for customer service are ridiculously high in Tokyo and I must give props to the men and women who serve everyone else.
I've worked my fair share of mall jobs and I would not be able to do it to the same extent they do on a daily basis. I know what it's like to be on your feet all day and have rude, demanding, entitled people in your face for upwards of 8 hours. I've worked on major holidays in retail and restaurant jobs. It sucks.
There have been times where I've gotten the staff member that does not deal with gaijin, period. The girl who totally doesn't care if she makes my sale or not, even if she didn't have to help me with anything other than getting something from the stock room. The waitress who looks away when I walk in a restaurant, assuming I couldn't possibly speak enough Japanese to make her look stupid (it was a kaiten zushi and I spoke to the chef behind the conveyor belt without any problems).
But I've also had a lot of people be extremely patient with me, knowing that I was a foreigner and didn't speak a whole lot of Japanese. I wish I could tip those servers or do something nice for the people who put up with me and still try to go the extra mile to take care of me. I was on the phone with some poor soul at the trash disposal office for like 20 minutes arranging for items to be picked up. I wish I could've spoken to his supervisor to tell him to give that man a raise.
We'd make customers fight tooth and nail for damage discounts at one store I worked at, and the one time I did get one here I didn't even ask for it. I was looking at a pair of shoes and asked for a pair that didn't have one super tiny little scuff, but it was the last pair the girl offered me 15% off. I would've bought them at full price, I honestly didn't care.
And I was reminded again tonight about how awesome they treat you here. I didn't change the sign on my door to have housekeeping clean the room. I don't really care if they come in or not, I don't need a fresh towel every day and I'm sure the maids don't mind having one less bed to make. When I came back to my room, however, I found this on the door.
A whole 'nother set of towels, a fresh yukata, and a bathroom set in a bag! THEY DON'T DO THIS IN AMERICA. I realize this is a nicer hotel and I don't get the chance to stay in nicer hotels all that often, but I've never had this happen at any hotel in Waikiki. Totally keeping the paper bag.
Japan is a nation of conformity and routine. There are strict rules for every social interaction one makes and things are they way they are because that's how they've been since the beginning of time. Or whatever.
In the endless list of rules that are rules only because they are rules, everyone gets paid two bonuses every year in June/July and December. I was told this might also be partially attributed to those pesky conniving yakuza*, but I am not Jake Adelstein so I really wouldn't know.
Since everyone gets a little extra in their paychecks around this time of year, EVERYTHING GOES ON SALE! EVERYWHERE! FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JULY! YAY!
7 Days Bargain at the original Shibuya 109 has since ended,
but the shops usually keep sales going even without official advertising.
One of the other 109s.
Of course, the one thing I bought for myself today wasn't on sale but I did get a Christmas present taken care of at 50% off! THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT.
Things I Won't Miss About Japan #11: Not Finding Pants in My Size
I was not given the petite little hips that so many Japanese women have. I have wide child-bearing hips and a large bottom, which means I will never find shorts or pants that fit me in this country.
I'm not even that big! I'm a size six in American brands, but that's like XXL in Japanese brands. The only bottoms I've bought here were skirts or very loose shorts, like my super awesome ice cream cone ones from LDS that I totally cannot get away with back home.
Bought the sweater after it got cold. My outfit was cute until then!
I'll be perfectly honest that I'd give up being able to find nice shorts if it meant Shibuya 109 could still be a 45 minute train ride away from me in three weeks. UGH.
*According to a salaryman friend of mine, 30-40 years ago the yaks were really into corporate racketeering. The Japanese fiscal calendar runs from April until March and many companies have shareholder meetings in June. Yaks would show up, disrupt the meetings or threaten people, and demand some sort of payment to go away. Companies started holding these meetings all on the exact same day in June to make the yaks spread themselves thin and cut down on the costs for everyone.
No one gets paid bonuses until after the companies crunch all their numbers from the previous fiscal year and present their profits or losses at these meetings. Though the yaks no longer engage in such tactics (they're probably running the meetings anyway), it's something that's still done in Japanese business. According to my salaryman friend who, again, is not an expert on this in any way.
Things I'll Miss About Japan #10: Arashi and EXILE on TV
I don't watch a whole lot of TV in Japan, but I do try to watch Himitsu no Arashi-chan, Arashi ni Shiyagare, and EXILE Tamashii. Pretty Japanese men who sing and dance and are rather entertaining! On my TV! And I don't have to download it off some streaming site or anything super mendokusai! Why would I ever say no?
EXILE is especially wonderful in all their matching suits~
I tried joining a community on LJ dedicated to providing subbed versions of Arashi shows. They opened membership for a little while and you had to write some long dribbling fangirl essay on why you love Arashi. If they didn't like your essay they didn't let you join. So dumb.
The forums also make you jump through a billion hoops just to watch subbed programs. "Sign up and earn points for each posts! Once you earn a billion points fangirling on stuff you don't care about then you can watch the 30 subbed clips!" Really? Sorry for just being a casual fan and not dedicating every waking moment to thinking about a group of five guys I'll never meet or even see in person.
I suppose now I don't really *need* subs and could download raw files. I can follow along ok, especially since Japanese TV shows provide funny Japanese subs when the guests say something interesting.
Things I Won't Miss About Japan #10: My Apartment
I'm not even going to post a freaking picture of the place. I did a before and after a few days ago, you can scroll to find that.
Manager has been such a bitch about telling me what to do and what's happening in regards to me leaving that I'm thankful just to be out of the apartment.
I'll miss the independence and freedom that came with living on my own, but screw that place. It was small, lacked any storage space, and the utilities were insane. I paid more than 6000 yen for three weeks' worth of gas and another 6,000 yen between electricity and water.
It helps that my hotel is SUPER swanky and I can't believe my company is paying for it.
This past week was my last with the kids on my own. I thought I'd do something a little special for my two oldest girls, namely spending 100 yen on a stupid candy and make it with them in class.
I thought I'd have to do a repeat of a previous candy, but I lucked out at the supermarket with this super kakko ii looking Nazo Nazo Neru Neru! You get two flavors and mix it to create a third one. Added sprinkle bonus for teh lulz.
I like that he's saying YOISHO!
We had fun for like 10 minutes and they ate it all. Uhn, on the right, said, "I DON'T LIKE BANANA OR MELON SODA," but she still ate all of it.
I'll miss these two. Not in a OMG CRYING SO SAD way, but they're funny and well-adjusted young ladies that I know won't fail at life. I hope my replacement will have fun with them.
It's been a while since I've had one of these posted, eh? Early in the term, I concluded that my kids this year are TOTALLY lame. Last year I had at least one class a day I could look forward to, and now I'm lucky if I manage to crack a genuine smile in class.
One of the few classes I like this term is my Saturday afternoon class with two middle school girls. They became friends very quickly and I can usually understand the things they blabber about in Japanese. I should be harder on them when it comes to speaking English, but they're my second to the last class every week and I'm running on fumes by then.
For whatever reason, we were talking about famous old white people in the textbook. There was one very interesting person in there we had to cover:
Less offensive than the real thing!
Me: OK, who was Adolf Hitler?
Girls: *Blank stares*
Me: OMG really? World War 2? He killed all the Jews? WHAT DO THEY TEACH YOU IN SCHOOL THESE DAYS???
Uhn: (so nicknamed for her favorite one-word response) AH I know! I know! He was very bad man!
Me: Yes, I suppose that is the absolute nicest way to put it.
Uhn: *explaining in Japanese to classmate* He killed all the Jewish people. They believe in God or something. Wasn't he French?
Me: NO HE WAS NOT FRENCH.
Another sometimes funny class is a group of elementary schoolers. We were playing Hangman and they had to spell "diaper." Each person gets a turn to guess a letter and the letters up on the board were I, A, and E.
Crayon Shinchan: (only because he looks like Shinosuke) *looking confused and uncertain*
Bad Comedian: (he thinks he's funny) T. T!!!
Shinchan: T? *looks at BC*
BC: Yes! T!
Shinchan: T? *looks at classmates* T?
Everyone else: *giving knowing smiles and giggles*
Everyone else and BC: BWAHAHAHAHAHA.
A week and a half left at the job! I can't say I'll miss more than a handful of them, in part because manager gave away all my favorites this term because she is an awful person. Yay!
Things I'll Miss About Japan #9: Wearing Whatever the Hell I Want and NEVER Looking Like a Weirdo
I have commented before about fashion and appearance standards for young females. When I was at Jouchi I felt like I had to "dress up" for school. I always had to have my nails painted, make-up done just right, hair curled, cute outfit, the whole nine yards -- and that was only for class. When I got back to Omaha I was shocked to see how girls would roll out of bed and go out into the world* because no girl in their right mind would have done that at Sophia.
I still think the standards are set high in a city like Tokyo, maybe a little bit higher for girls than guys. I have expanded my views, however, to include the fact that you can wear anything you want as long as it looks like you put some effort into it.
Seriously, you can dress however you want and no one will look at you twice. Even in Saitama, I see girls dressed to the nines in lolita gear and it's perfectly normal. If you ride the Yamanote on a regular basis you become accustomed to the goth and visual kei people. On the train ride from the airport, I was standing next to a girl that was dressed in super Kyary Pamyu Pamyu style and my parents were like, "Do people always dress like that?" Yeah, they do! I didn't even really notice her.
*When I went to college, girls tended to dress like this: 1) North Face jacket or university sweatshirt, 2) Victoria's Secret PINK line sweat pants in some disgusting neon color, 3) Ugg boots, 4) Vera Bradley purse (the first time I saw them on a bunch of sorority girls I thought someone's mom made them cuz that shit is HIDEOUS), 5) sport backpack with a thermos hanging off a clip, 6) hair in the Britney Spears top of the head messy 5-second ponytail with headband. Bonus points for orange skin from tanning booths and/or chunky blonde highlights.
Things I Won't Miss About Japan #9: Being Totally Screwed When Not Dressed Appropriately
I hate regretting what I wore for the day. I don't live really far from Tokyo, but once I'm on the train that's it. Whatever clothes I have on are all I've got to protect me from the elements. Unless I want to spend money on new clothes, which I actually don't always want to do, I'm screwed.
It happens more often when the seasons are changing and the weather can't decide what it wants to be. I'll leave the house thinking, "Oh, I don't need a scarf! Oh, I don't need another layer!" and then FREEZE later on. Last fall I spent the night at my boyfriend's house thinking it'd be cold all weekend, and come Sunday morning it was summer weather. I only had my big hot leather boots to wear. Ew.
I got lucky this past weekend when I went to a barbecue. The weather forecast said 80% chance of rain and I took a chance thinking it might get sunny and hot. I was a little cold in the morning but the weather cleared up and I even got a nice sunburn!
It was so hot, Funny D had ice cubes put in his pants!