Wednesday, April 25, 2007

meant to write about this a while ago. but what with the old laptop/new laptop transition and believe it or not, being very busy at school, only just sat down to write it.
what i wanted to mention was a curious thing that happened a few times while my mom was here and that was confirmed somewhat during the first monday morning teacher meeting a couple of weeks ago.
having mom here made me look at my life through an outsider's perspective. but not just where i live and the customs and culture i'm surrounded by, but my own actions and perceptions and how they've been modified by living here. mom thought it was odd that i would cover my mouth sometimes when chewing and attempting to talk, but even though i'm conscious of when it happens i can't always help bringing my hand to my mouth to cover it after putting something bigger than a niblet in my mouth. the women do it a lot and i guess i've picked it up. mom also noted that whenever i can, i hand things over to people with both hands.
she didn't mention it but i noticed how odd it was to have my mom extend her hand everytime she was introduced instead of bowing. something about her forwardness was uncomfortable for me, and it could only be because i've already been accultured to certain ways of interaction here that anything out of the ordinary really sticks out to me, even though it's a part of my primary culture.
Craig mentioned in a comment that i must be becoming Japanese if i'm starting to talk about appreciating simple and natural things. that's very possible. i guess after the period of culture shock comes the period of acculturation.
and here's a perfect example. during the spring break, the teachers' desks got shifted around, as they usually do during this time of transition from one staff to another, from old school year to new. so my desk got moved closer to the computer, but it's now also closer to the head teacher's desk and vice principal desk and farther from the office lady's desk where it was the last two arrangements.
at the monday morning meetings teachers sit in the spots that somewhat directly coordinate to their desk location. so i used to sit at the very end next to the office lady and the accountant. and it seemed like a reasonable position. i sit in that spot for lunch as well. my position in the school is very clearly defined. i think i've mentioned the hierarchy system that exists within the school and not just mine. so. at the very first meeting of the new school year i go to my usual spot and the office lady motions for me to go sit next to the head teacher, at the head of the table. it would certainly make sense according to the system of how everyone else is seated but i felt extremely out of place there. i was all of a sudden sitting across from one of the senior teachers, diagonally from the principal, next to the head teacher and the vice principal.
and i honestly thought that it had to be wrong, and i shouldn't be there. a part of me knows that thinking that way is a bit screwed up, but a part of me still believes i should be at the other end of the table. and there ya have it. i'm turning Japanese.

and it has been extremely busy at school for me. but a lot of fun as well. several changes to how we teach have been implemented since the start of the year and they're working out smoothly so far and i'm happy, but also busy. and the story contest practice started and the two students are putting in serious effort in already, which makes the job so much easier.

but Golden Week is coming up and we'll all be taking a bit of a break thanx to the great Japanese system of forced vacation through public holidays. this weekend will be a camping trip, and then work tuesday and wednesday, and then nothing planned for the other 4 day weekend.
looking forward to it.

oh. and the macbook rocks!
and i've just uploaded the photos to the April Fotki folder. they're from a trip to Iheya from a week and a half ago.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

careful, or some american software engineer will show up and attempt to marry you. japanese girls are very popular in that crowd.