Thursday, March 31, 2011

A park in Nagoya

Yesterday after work I decided to go for a walk to blow off the stress of training. We've been working every day for 6 hours in children's classrooms taking turns leading lessons and pretending to be students. The training includes another 6 hours of prep time (read: unpaid homework) that we have to do every night to get ready for the following day. Thankfully, what started as 6 hours I now have down to a nice and pleasant 3 hours, through sheer repetition and practice. However, for work we all have to show up 45 minutes early to get our teaching materials ready (i.e. flashcards, games, puppets, sing-a-long's), also unpaid. So basically I've been working 10 to 13 hours a day, every day, for the past 10 days. I'm a little tired. Did I mention that there are no breaks at work? If you have to eat, you have between 2 and 8 minutes to inhale some food before running back into the classroom.
Now, for my western lazy ass, this routine was a little difficult to get used to, but apparently this is totally normal here. You only get a real break at work if you are being paid for more than 8 hour days. My shifts don't qualify. The Japanese work ethic is a real thing, people. Everyone does it here. That's why they're so advanced, I guess :)

But here are some pictures of my walk;

I thought I had found a park to go walking in, and I said to myself "how lucky"! But it only lasted for about two blocks and then turned into a shanty town.

 So I moved on, but the sunset was so pretty that I kept taking over exposed pictures of it, since I'm not a photographer and I don't know what I'm doing. But I found a playground!

We have the exact same teeter-totter at home! So I guess some things are truly universal. I remember that thing sucking as a kid though.

And here's a picture of something creepy;
Apparently no one in Japan has a problem with 4 story high crazy-looking clowns. This is an ad for an arcade. I just can't imagine a kid looking at that and thinking this place would be totally safe to enter. But then again, I can't read Kanji. A good slogan under this clown would be "there are absolutely no clowns in this building" or "we cannot ensure your safety from 200 foot high raging clowns."

 On the left is either a traditional mail box or a traditional lantern of some kind. I can't tell the difference between them, but they're both pretty! On the right is a poster that I think is for a rally to support the current lotus blossom movement in China. There are attempts to speak out against the government there using lotus blossoms as rally points. Or it might be a poster for an origami group. I'm totally illiterate in this country still.

This might be difficult to see, but there's a spiral staircase on this apartment building that goes all the way to the top. No wonder Japanese people are so skinny. Can you imagine trying to get your couch up to the 20th floor on moving day? Nightmare.

And a $7 can of pringles! But here, it's pronounced 'plingue'. They don't pluralize words very often. Now that I think about it, it's probably because even the word 'pluralize' would be a huge hassle to say, since they flip their l's and r's all the time. Or it's because their language is thousands of years old and we are retards to even question their logic.

So tonight is my last night in Nagoya. I'm being shipped back to Tokyo to complete my training tomorrow morning. Don't know where I'll be staying yet, but it's probably near Shinjuku, not that anyone really cares. So my fellow trainees and I are heading out to an arcade, because we all need to play some mindless videogames and stare at some flashing lights to wipe our brains clean. There may or may not be alcohol involved in the brain wiping.


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