Saturday, February 11, 2006

Setsubon Holiday

I guess I spelled that right, but today is a holiday in Japan. Unfortunately, it falls on Saturday this year, so it doesn't give me an extra day off.

As I remember, it is basically a children's holiday, where they throw beans at devils. I forget the details, because it is a holiday that I have never been really involved in. I don't see any children throwing beans at devils either, except on TV.

It is a beautiful, warm (15 centigrade) day here. It feels nice because it has been unusually cold in Tokyo this year. I was so cold during my bike ride yesterday, I cut it 18 miles short of my original plan of 50 miles. (It only made it up to 8 degrees yesterday).

I still cannot believe how much more I enjoy life after leaving Berlitz. That still qualifies as the worst place that I have ever worked, both from an employee point of view and the moral and ethical point of view of a teacher (well, as much as I can be here). I still get nauseated when I think of the way that some of the directors and ISs will cheat their employees out of money---basically steal from them---and the way that Berlitz takes a more or less hands off approach to dealing with that if one complains to them. (Berlitz HQ visits this blog occasionally too. Bet they take no action, but blame it all on a "disgruntled employee.") That is not even mentioning the poor quality of their classes and materials by professional standards. But, then again, there is no point of classes and materials up to professional standards in Japan. Most students don't really care about that. Certainly, the idea that they are responsible for making an effort and most responsible for their success or failure is something they don't want to hear.

Anyway, it is a beautiful day, and it makes me more determined to become more involved in hobbies I enjoyed in the States. This will be a challenge, because except for cycling and photography, it will require me spending a lot of time in remote areas in the woods and mountains. I'll have to hook up with locals----not an easy thing in a closed society where I will be viewed as a novelty by most. No problem, because I probably will be. It will also require continued improvement in my Japanese ability. Right no I am working on reading as well as the other 3 skills. This ain't easy with all the Kanji. Over 2000 are used, and different combinations have different meanings. The good thing is, that if you recognize the kanji, you can know or guess at the meaning without really knowing the word (or sound) it represents in Japanese.

Anyway, it is a beautiful day in my second favorite big city in the world. (New York City is my favorite, but probably because I spent only 3 1/2 months there. Had I spent more time, perhaps I would have liked it less. Or, perhaps more.)

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