Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The curious case of the vanishing vacation... button

In Japan, the school year ends today.
This being Japan, the next school year begins in 13 days. I had to sit through countless farewell ceremonies and speeches. Pretty interesting on a cultural point of view, but it was pretty boring actually...

Anyways, my predecessor and Daniel’s predecessor used to get these two weeks off... Vacation. Free time. Spring vacation. Haru yasumi. Do whatever you want. Don’t come to school, it’s useless. You would just sit around and be a waste of air and space. Go and live, discover Japan and get paid while you do it. Well we have just been royally screwed, because this vacation just vanished in front of our eyes. Apparently, they think we can be useful in some way. I don’t know what the deal is but it’s ridiculous. I should set up a webcam and show you. I have to fight not to fall asleep. My desk will be spotless. My computer is clean. My computer!! I don’t have internet so it’s stupid. I play Minesweper and Hearts and Solitaire. It’s aggravating because they know I have nothing to do, but because they are Japanese, they will never come up to me and tell me to go home because they are masters at pretending to look busy when they aren’t.

I think they want to force me to take paid leave but it’s like a challenge to me now. I want to keep as much as I can. I might need them:
I already know I need two days for my national holiday: 1 to get drunk, 1 to deal with the arrest and post bail.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

White day...

No it’s not a ‘Québec white day’, where students go and play in the snow all day. It’s actually a holiday.
Yeah, I know you’ve never heard of it. It is simply the biggest scam ever. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is on February 14th, and it’s a day where women buy something to all the men they care about. So men don’t have to buy anything and just receive. I was very happy when I heard that. I’ve never been the kind of guy who goes out and buys stuff for Valentine’s back home. In fact, my mom has been on the ball every year, buying me chocolate at every occasion. She even sent me some good Lindt choco-crack to Japan... I love my mom! But when I started seeing signs advertising White Day a week after Valentine’s, I was puzzled. ‘What is White Day?’ I wondered. ‘Maybe it’s a day where they can bash on white people, better stay at home on March 14th...’ And then I wondered: ‘March 14th...hmmm’.

You got it folks: White Day is the opposite of Valentine’s Day, where men are supposed to give back (x2) to the women who gave them presents. So let’s say a teacher gave me a box of chocolate containing 30 little hearts, she should get 60 from me. Some girl buys me a Porsche, I buy her a Lamborghini. A girl gives me a 10 inch pizza, a Golden Retreiver, a key chain, a 6-pack of Sapporo and tickets to the Icecapades, I give her the keys to my apartment. It’s just simple math really. HAHA

Man I hate White Day. It sounds so pure and pretty, when in fact, it’s so evil and nasty...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's a skill, just like juggling!

Look I’m not going to lie, sometimes, I don’t have much to do, but I’m paid on a yearly basis so I can’t just ask to go home, it ain’t my style yo! So I came up with this thing, it’s really great, check it out:

Of all the things I have learned in Japan, the skill we call ‘pretending to work’ is the one I have practiced the most so far. Especially at some of my schools, it is truly... an art. I see real experts here, just walking around, with paper in hand, grumbling at the copy machine or cutting and rolling pieces of paper. At first I couldn’t do it, I just stared at them and wondered what the hell they were busy doing, especially since I had absolutely nothing to do myself. But then I started feeling bad, so I started doing it too.

You should see me now; I get people telling me I work too hard. The first trick is (now listen carefully children): wherever you are walking, walk fast, but always with something in your hand. I use my agenda or anything written in French so that if they trap me, they won’t understand. The next trick is: if you are sitting at your desk, always look as if you have the biggest of headaches, with a pen in hand (or better yet a pen AND a highlighter!) and always have as many papers and books in front of you. Every 10 or 15 minutes, pretend you are looking for something for 5 to 7 minutes and breathe a sigh of relief when you find the ‘paper’ you had ‘lost for a second’. Now the two next steps involve computers. First, if you have Internet access (lucky you) the trick is to open a Word document or two, and to leave them open all day long, on top of other windows. Next, put your laptop screen as dark as possible, so that people can’t creep up on you and check out what you are doing from those nasty blind spots behind you. Make your Internet windows smaller and always have that Word document taking up the majority of the space. It sounds crazy but I’ve had MSN messenger webcam sessions because of that trick! If you don’t have Internet (like me right now at this school), start a blog and write some posts when you are dying of boredom... Also, write your e-mails in text so that when you get home, you only have to copy and paste them, which gives you more time to play online poker or watch Lost while eating ice cream (now you know what I’ve been doing during my winter weeknights!). Anyways, it sounds crazy but I’m actually applying all those things right now... it’s MAGIC!

I feel bad because I could have used this skill before. Instead of building castles of boxes at the Adidas store in order to block the camera view so I could just chill and sit for hours, I could have ‘pretended to work’. Instead of calling in radio shows and flirting with any girl with a pulse that worked with me at Urban Outfitters, I could have ‘pretended to work’...I’m telling you, it will save your life, and make your day go by faster! Thank me later