Sunday, April 3, 2011

Celebrate good times come on! seriously come on!

March is a time of great change in Japan; not only the changing of the seasons, but for the students and teachers as well. Students graduate and some teachers get transfered to another school. I was invited to my high school's graduation since it was on a Saturday. Not really sure what I was expecting, but what I experienced really wasn't what I had in mind for a high school graduation.

First of all, the only people allowed to the graduation is immediate family, teachers, and students of the school. Yes, it is mandatory to see your sempai off (that would kinda suck in my book to HAVE to go to my senior's grad). Students just wear their school uniform (and pretty much look how they would like a normal school day) while teachers/parents wear the awesome celebratory color black. Everyone filed in like it was a military drill: teachers and the lower years were first, then the graduating class, then the teachers from colleges/middle school to show support which I thought was kind of cool. Oddly enough the presentation of the certificates is the FIRST thing; then are the speeches from the officials and student reps. I kept getting antsy in my seat because I couldn't really move: apparently I wasn't allowed to even cross my legs. I was wearing pants too!! Weird. During the speeches the silence was broken by the sniffles of classmates and parents. Mean of me, but I was kind of amused by this. I guess it was because it was so *quiet* that the sniffles were so obvious and *loud*...

It was the most somber graduation I have ever been to. I think I prefer the gaudy loud graduations back home.

That was Saturday. March 3rd was Hina Matsuri so I really wanted to go someplace that displayed a lot of the dolls. Sadly I couldn't go to Katsuyama due to the lameness of the train schedules, but me, Rachel and Jessica decided to see the Bikan district in Kurashiki instead. Totally worth it, despite the rain. I definitely want to see the district on a sunny day and when the flowers are blooming.

The Bikan district is a historical preservation district of what used to be the merchant quarters in that area. Now it has a whole bunch of restaurants and unique boutiques of course, but the architecture really takes you back in time.

Personally it was a Hina Matsuri well spent. Now off to read my Sailor Moon manga.

Also, tried the last burger of the America 2 series in McDonalds, the Manhattan Burger. I really think it's my favorite, next to the Idaho. Burger Challenge complete!

Friday, April 1, 2011

♪I need a change~♪

Argh, apologize in advance on how out of order this blog is. I'll (eventually) blog about my spring vacation, but for now I just wanted to talk about the 'changing of the guards' so to speak that's been happening all over the Japanese workforce. It's called 人事異動 (jin-ji-i-dou) and it's pretty much when new employees come in and the regulars are rotated to a different position, department, or in a teacher's case, a different school altogether. Apparently they do it to keep the employees "on their toes" and gives people to go up the ladder. Or down. >_> For example, the principal from my middle school is now head of the Education department in City Hall.

I knew about this for a while now, but for the past couple of days it was really evident: employees in the education division were cleaning their desks, and today I was bowing to a whole bunch of new people, including a new supervisor (which sucks because I REALLY liked my previous one, she was SO sweet). It felt like the first day all over again when I was greeting and giving self-intros left and right.

Pretty interesting, since well America definitely doesn't do that. The only transfer you do is A) when you specifically request it or B) you're getting transfered home because you're getting FIRED. Man, Japanese employees must be the most well-rounded workers ever. Then again, if they suck in that position then they're kinda stuck there for the next couple of years.

Yay for Japanese work culture shock!

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