Thursday, October 23, 2008

「I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike」 and being Number One in Japan

Yesterday, I went around town on my bike :) It was really my first look at the Nishio that is not within a 10 minute bike ride from my apartment. It was great. And I found a little music shop where I finally got new guitar strings! I popped one the first time I tried tuning it after getting it out of its case for the first time here. So I've been able to commune with my guitar again! It's wonderful.

I wish I could upload pictures, but it seems I have the wrong cable with me.. I hope Rachel didn't take mine with her!! She and Marley may be back some time this week or next.. I hope so!

So, Tuesday in my class at a company called Otics (which has a branch in Indiana and some of the students may actually be transferring there! cool, huh??) we got into a dicsussion about Japanese culture versus American culture. As you may know, they are pretty community-minded here, and it's not part of the culture to bring a lot of attention to the individual...

So the lesson was about personalities... learning some vocab and stuff... and then one of the activities was reading a conversation (from the text) between two people about what kind of girls they like... lol. Person A asked, Do you like girls that are smart and clever or do you like girls that are average? or something like that. And one of the guys in the class said, that the last part, being average or the same as everyone else, is pretty much the Japanese ideal. And You don't really want to be number one, you don't want to stick out.

Once we got that communicated, I asked why? And one guy said, well, we have a Japanese proverb, so he drew it on the whiteboard. Basically, it's, The nail that sticks out gets hammered. So I aksed, But isn't it good to be number on in school? and on a test? and at work? and to be the greatest rock star and stuff? and well, they said yes... So I asked when is it not good to be number one? and they basically said, well, it's case by case. And I asked if they agreed with this philosophy, and again, they just said case by case. I asked our school manager on the way back to school from Otics, and she couldn't give me any circumstances when it wouldn't be good to be number one either.

I've heard of this proverb before, but never really understood how it works in life... I thought maybe I'd get it once I'd lived here. So now I wonder if it is maybe an ideal that all Japanese people sort of hold to, but maybe it's never really applied in real life... maybe similar to our, Hard work pays off, or brings success ideal in America... we all know it, and sort of believe it, but we all know it doesn't work out that way in real life all the time. Maybe similar?

I told them how in America, we would say that the nail that sticks out gets chosen for something good. Isn't that what we follow? Make sure you are in leadership roles and do lots of interesting community service in high school so you stick out in college applications. Make sure your resume looks good so stick out in interviews... have your own style, be your own person.... but it seems to me they think the same way... that's why English is so important... so they can get good test scores and get into good universities...

So anyway, interesting class. Sometimes we have really interesting discussions in class. It's such an awesome way to get to know people! and Japan!

The pic is a manhole cover in the historical area of nishio. Cool, huh? I love how thier covers are like pieces of art here.. it's awesome...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The past three weeks...

Hello hello!

I know it's terrible it's been so long since I've posted! So much has happened there's no way I can catch up either! Well, I'm between classes right now... this is my last class before my weekend starts. I have off Sunday and Monday. Classes are going pretty well... I'm getting the hang of things for the most part... I was in Osaka--about 4 hours away by train from here--last weekend for a training seminar for the program we use for the elementary school-age kids called Pacific Learning System (PLS). It was alright, I met some cool people, other English teachers.. but I was so happy when I was finally back in Nishio.

I like Japan so far! Food is super great, and the people are great. My students are fun, for the most part, and people in the stores are nice, even though I can't speak Japanese. My Japanese is not improving very fast, but as soon as I get on the ball it will. My vocab has definitely multiplied since I've been here though.

Some things are a little annoying.. like we must sort our trash between burnables, plastics, recyclables, and cans and glass. SO annoying. And they barely have a cereal selection. Frosted flakes is about it, and it's these puny bags that serve like one and a half people. But it's ok i'm adjusting.

The pic above is Rache and I eating okonomiyaki at a place in Nishio with two our our students, Mika and Chie. Wonderful ladies. :) It was so good. mm mm.
K! Hope everyone back home is great!

free hit counter
can you count?
get hit counter html code
a new way to say i like origami fish japan is pretty great i'm glad you like to read. and choose this blog to read.