近海る (Kin Kairu)

JET, Japan, Journalism and other J words

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

One Week Down

I peer around the office, analyzing the calm environment. One teacher, at the far end of a long row of desks, looks at a variety of vases on Amazon, for purposes I could not assume. The head teacher, or Kyoto-senei, decides to head to the staff break room, where shortly afterwards a soft, audible snore can be heard. My first year English teacher, waves to me and sneaks out around 11 a.m., in which she had just come two hours prior.

Such was the characteristics of my first week of work.

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Review: 風立ちぬ “The Wind Rises”

I have been in a rough spot with Ghibli movies for the last couple of releases. Particularly those Hayao Miyazaki has directed and written himself, with the last major release being Ponyo, which I found a little too childish. I also had really mixed feelings about Howl’s Moving Castle, back in its initial release as well. I originally entered the Ghibli ring with Spirited Away and grew to love all the older works afterwards. With a man like Miyazaki, it’s easy to try and see how each film bounces from one to another, from the heavy social commentaries of Princess Mononoke and Nausicca of the Vally of the Wind, to the more fantastic Castle in the Sky or Kiki’s Delivery Service. Going into “The Wind Rises,” I really did not know what to expect: with a director that I’ve cherished, but increasingly became concerned of, how would this fare? By the end of the film, he could not have won me back any more.

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キャラキャラEverywhere

Japan likes cute. I mean, really likes cute, and nowhere else is this more apparent than Japanese mascots. Sure, people know Pikachu, Astro Boy and anything related to the more media side of things, but this obsession with cute characters and mascots has led to a nationwide battle. Prefectures, cities, towns and smaller municipalities all have their own characters that go head to head every year to see who is the most popular.

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Time Management (and the expectation of content)

It’s already a bit hard to imagine I’ve already been in Japan for a solid three weeks and my real job is going to start within the next two. Since I’ve been back, there’s been a lot to do: get the apartment set up for all of my needs, meeting future coworkers/other JETs on the island and seeing as many old friends as I can before the real employment begins. To say the least, I’m glad I got to do a lot of the previous, but every action takes away time that could be utilized somewhere else, for better or for worse. For example, writing a personal blog.

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The Banana Incident(s)

(Editorial Note: Internet has been acquired! We’re back!)

Like any “good person,” I researched quite a bit before starting my new life in Japan. While I had previously experienced some minor ins-and-outs of Japanese culture and etiquette, living by myself was going to be a whole new venture. The first time, I was simply a guest; this time I was a guest with a longer period of stay on my visa. One of the multiple things I prepared myself for was the tradition of “Omiyage,” or the giving of gifts when one enters a new place of employment, comes back from a vacation or moves into a new home. While there were some older JETs that said to not worry about this custom, I thought it surely wouldn’t hurt to try to at least give something.

This would be a lot more confusing than anticipated.

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