Five Times The Pink Panther Accurately Summed Up What It’s Like Teaching English Abroad

And it looks like I’m staying for one final year in Japan. Two years was just the right amount of time to get my life sorted; unfortunately, I’m not quite ready to say good-bye just yet. It’s been a long road. It’s a longer one to come. The papers are signed, the decision made. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, JET 2016-2017.

A lot of my friends in the States have, at one point or another, expressed curiosity on what it’s like to teach English abroad. The myths and realities as expressed through the five times that The Pink Panther suddenly became too real for words…

1. WE DO NOT QUIT!!!

“Your life must be so glamorous, living abroad and teaching English to Japanese kids!” Glamorous is one word for it. And then there’s this…

…I do enjoy every minute of it even though I wouldn’t call it glamorous 😉

2. Why would they do something like that?

“I hear Japan is soooooo high tech! You must be going to all crazy-amazing robot conventions every weekend and never want to come back to the US, right?” The hard cold reality is…

…and not only that: my office is (somehow) still running on XP. Why would they do something like that?!

3. Why do you think they’re dressed like that? For fun?!

Doing anything for the kids on Halloween is basically along these lines. Also applies to generally trying to blend in with society when the clothes just look different on you than on the cute models (TTwTT)”

4. It is one of my specialties…

So, I can do things, I swear, I can! Sometimes, though, I can’t show them off perfectly because of cultural differences.

Can’t bake half the Viennese pastries I learned how to make because Japan and it’s non-baking culture. It’s still fun trying, though 😀

5. I thought you were ordering in Italian.

That moment when you suddenly become Vincenzo Roccara Squarcialupi Brancaleone at the local Starbucks… or anywhere, really.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Funny Kanji 02: Concave, Convex, and Unevenness

The previous installment of Funny Kanji dealt with the issue of kanji that when put together look nothing like their literal meaning…

funnykanji2…but sometimes separate kanji look exactly like what they’re describing. Take the character for ‘concave’. Is it hollow? Check. Is it curved? Ish. Good enough. Now look at the character for ‘convex’. Does it have a surface that is curved and rounded outward? Meh. But good enough to know what is meant.

But what happens when you put ‘convex’ and ‘concave’ together? Suddenly the combine meaning turns into ‘unevenness’. A surface that cannot clearly decide if it is one or the other. In other words, bumpy.

Of all the kanji I’ve studied, these two together are perhaps the most whimsical in my opinion. I affectionately call these two the Tetris of kanji and it brings me great joy to see them in a variety of sentences: from explaining the roughness of the moon’s surface to simply stating that the road is uneven. It’s also quite fun to say with a pronunciation like ‘DEKOBOKO’. Practically rolls off the tip of one’s lips. And if you say it fast enough it sounds like a tongue twister.

Hallway Inspiration 02: Live Long and Rainbow On!

Japanese hallways are the best. I feel that if I look hard enough, I could make this into a legit once a week article.

In the meantime, I bring to you the latest hallway inspiration, which I endearingly titled “Clean Water: Live Long and Rainbow On”. Japanese schools come in two neutral color schemes: beige or white. Or both. But this may just be the inaka experience (one of my schools is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary so it follows in the general tradition of We Are Rebuilding The School And This Is The Way The Walls Have Always Been Painted). For the most part, though, it doesn’t really matter what color the walls are because teachers like to plaster them with motivational posters like the one above or with announcements for upcoming museum exhibits, concerts, and other interesting educational events going around the prefecture. And then there’s this one… oh the spectra.

The colors are flawless, that is true, but the centerpiece obaachan is even more brilliantly rendered. Her pose suggests the grace of having aged marvelously well (arthritis, gout, and diabetes are clearly for the non-water drinkers of the world; sorry, Hemmingway) while still bringing forth that inner strength, that inner force of character which only the elderly can posses after two world wars and several market crashes. Above the fanfare, above the modernity, it is the final message that shines clearest and nearest to all of our hearts: drink clean water and you too can live a long, rainbow sparkly life. Otsukare~ 😉

 

Throw Back Thursday: Only in Japan

Only in Japan…

onlyinjapan3

 

…will tortilla chips be referred to as taco chips! ^-^

Really missed this segment? Time to get super nostalgic! Though the old blog was floundering and in need of massive revamping that would’ve taken me a week tops, in reality I am glad to have started this new one. Personal reasons factored into it as well (don’t they always?) and I doubt any of my current followers remember it but that’s why this post is called ‘Throwback Thursday’.

Classic Wasederp aside… this Kanji workshop really was quite helpful >.>”

I am so happy I found this stash and I’m looking forward to seeing what other quirky bits of gold I can unearth this far north!