Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza

Friday 15 April 2005
Glorious Friday spring morning.22degrees.A light wind tickling the last of the cherry blossoms."Peachy" as some of my younger colleagues would utter.The blossom front is on the retreat up north to Sendai and Hokkaido.
Abandoned my apartment.It reverberates with drills,grinders,and heavy equipment.Ocassionally the sky darkens.Partial eclipse,no its just one of those elevator things complete with gawking peeping Tom workmen.I cheerily wave back at them.Nothing is going to destroy the good vibes engendered by todays weather.I'm currently sitting in a park under aforementioned fading flora.Brushing away the petals which stipple my pad as I chronicle the events of the last week.Shouldnt take too long.
I`m about halfway through 'Faithful' a book by 2 die-hard Boston Red Sox fans.Its a game by game account of their 2004 World Series season.One of the authors is Stephen "some people have accused me of having an overactive imagination" King and a fellow writer and friend.Both long term fans.Thus far its been highly readable and entertaining .I've put aside Don Quixote and a couple of other tasks as I reach the climax of the book.Yes I know that the Bosox finally erased the so-called Curse and not only beat their foes the Yankees but also won the World Series for the first time in 80 odd years in fairy tale like circumstances.
Think 'Fever Pitch'.Think rip off movie.Think Nick Hornby.Think Drew Barrymore.Think Farrelly Brothers.Think how unoriginal.
Im no baseball fan but im betting any one who has supported a bad luck team will find something in common with these two.The book records their thoughts through diary entries and emails about the team,baseball and related things such as pro sport,terrorism,society and steroids.Some of their superstitions are funny e.g hitting the mute button,turning round or wearing ones cap inside out,or even turning the tv off to provide more mojo.
An interesting feature is that all the Japanese players in the MLB who are mentioned even Matsui who plays for the "Evil Empire" get good wraps.I'll have more to write when i finish it.

Move It On Over
The other event was my place of employment moved .Yesterday.From its cockroach infested location to a more spacious spot across the hall.Decked out in fresh paint and Hello Kitty pink carpet.Its all very clean and smells of paint and carpet glue.We have an enlarged teachers room with its own sink.Luxury.There are however no windows.The existing ones have been covered with signage.The Voice Room where students can (but dont,wont,cant) freely converse and discuss the issues of the day in a friendly ,supportive environment (I jest not) is now a boring sterile space.There are also 2 new Kids rooms.My company seems to think of kids being a new revenue stream or cash cows .The powers that be seem to have forgotten that Japan has an ageing greying society with an almost negative birthrate and increasing marriage age and decreasing family size.Still Im no Thomas Malthus so who am I to question policy.

Speaking of policy.Our company made the paper again.Seems its been avoiding paying almost one billion yen in social and medical insurance to the government.Annually.The government report is due out May or early June or maybe will be swept under the carpet.It may result in multi-billion backpayments to the government.Im crying crocodile tears...

Apart from 'Faithful' i read an insignificant book called "Polite Fictions..Why Japanese and Americans seem rude to each Other".Written by 2 Japanese women who i presume have married Americans.Its a bit dated ..1982..and a little stereotypical.There are also the odd jarring JapEnglish errors e.g "more oftener".Putting these aside there are some interesting bits.
Seems Japanese regard conversation like a bowling lane.Each person takes a turn to bowl a topic.The topic may or may not have anything to do with what went before or even after.Theres a pause while the pins are reset and the next person bowls.Its slow, methodical.Very disconnected and deferential.Unlike"American" conversation which is portrayed as a tennis game if only 2 people participate or a volleyball game if there are more than 2.In the tennis example the server hits a topic which the receiver must return.Conversation is related and linked.If its a team conversation anyone can contribute.No turn taking no deferring.More spontaneous.
In practice its difficult no well nigh impossible to get a natural "American " conversation.Its learned habitual and difficult to change.Usually its one student dominanting .The other students sit silently.Mutely.Meekly.Silence is seen as being polite.Hell of a way to spend 40 minutes in a Voice class .No sense of continuity.No expansion.No initation....
Bugger its my day off and im ranting about work...off for a coffee and a read....

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