Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Oh Fac!

I owe emails to half the people I know. My 'to do' list is becoming epic. My bedtime is now swinging around 3.30am most nights and I'm a tad stressed because I'm gagging to book a flight to Thailand for Xmas BUT have to wait and find out whether my lovely company will allow me to take a couple of extra days leave allowing me to get a flight that is drastically cheaper than otherwise. Plus, two of the airlines that fly there are totally booked out on the cheap day. And TESOL.... stress, stress, stress!

Still, my 8,000+ word document is finished and I spent this evening designing town maps for tomorrow's teaching practice. It was fun actually!


Sadly, it looks like summer is over. Apart from the sweatiness, I liked it. I much prefer the heat to the cold, although air-con drives me nuts. It's also quite odd actually having a summer. In England 'summer' normally consists of an odd few scattered days and is totally unpredictable. In Japan, I know if I leave the house with no cardigan to put on later - that it'll be okay. This week has been a bit grim though, so maybe it's over.


Let me share a little teaching tip with you that I picked up today: when you are playing a phonics game with seven year olds that you are desperately trying to teach to read English, and when you are making three letter combinations that the kids can win and will get over-excited about, be VERY VERY careful what vowel you insert between 'F' and 'C', as the little loves can make 'fac' sound very much like a full volume chorus screaming out 'FUCK' very loudly.


There was a crowded reception too, but hopefully nobody heard!


So, I mentioned the weather has been a bit grim recently? Well, at least when it's raining it's obvious why Japanese people have umbrellas up - ie to keep dry. Other days, when there is blazing sunshine and umbrellas are up, it's also obvious why - to keep the sun and UV rays away (many people have UV umbrellas).

What really confuses me though, is when you see people with umbrellas up when it is neither raining nor sunny. It leaves me clueless!

Japanese also have a very different opinion of rain than Gaijin do. The SLIGHTEST speckle of rain, and Japanese will put their umbrellas up; I need to risk getting seriously wet before I'll even consider it. It's just one of those little things that amuses us here.


Another difference in cultures is in attitudes to doctors. I think Tokyoites must have ridiculously low immune systems, as every time they get a slight cold [often] they go running to the doctor for medication. Every time. Some of my students go a ridiculous amount.

One of my students bewildered me the other day: she told me she banged her leg on a table and it hurt so she went to the hospital. Containing my desire to say what I thought / to burst out laughing, I asked her what the doctor said, and she said he'd told her it was nothing. FFS!

Here the majority of people don't go to anything resembling a GP's surgery. They go and see a doctor in hospital instead. This concept is still something I find it a bit odd to get my head around.

I've heard so many bad / odd stories about doctors in Japan that I have no intention of going and seeing one - unless I'm dying....


Equality between the sexes in Japan is something I'm yet to see - in ANY shape or form; and this seems especially so in attitudes to marriage and equality in relationships, and so on. Some of the things I hear make my toes curl.

One example from this week, was a very intelligent Japanese lady who told me: 'sometimes I disagree with my husband but I can't say anything'.

[insert own comment].

Another Japanese friend told me, 'my boyfriend is boring but I must change my way of thinking'.



Blogger Andrew said...

I suspect if some of your japanese female friends were to read the discussions on my relationship advice site, then THEIR toes might curl :o) I'm like you, I have a hard time wrapping my head around cultures that propogate gender inequality.

To Love, Honor and Dismay

2:43 am

Blogger Jo said...

Hi Andrew!

I guess it just comes down to cultural differences and just because it's different doesn't mean it's wrong. Does it?



11:15 pm


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