Sunday, April 06, 2008

Time to Work Again

For the past few months I have been searching, applying, and interviewing for a job. I finally found a couple that I like, so now I am going to trainings. It is boring, hilarious, tedious, annoying, colorful, pompous, and interesting. Teacher training is everything!

私 は 三間月 に 仕事 を 捜しました。 仕事 を 二つ 好き です。 今 訓練 あります。 これ は つまらなくて、 愉快で、 退屈で、 迷惑で、 面白いです。 先生 の 訓練 は 全てもの!

I came to Tokyo with the notion of just finding something, anything, hopefully something that would let me maintain my savings. If I were to burn through a year and a half of savings on beer and Hello Kitty Theme Parks, I might feel bad.

I made my choices, and starting in a couple weeks I will have two part time jobs. The main one is as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). I'll go to a few different Junior High Schools and assist the normal English teachers. Similar to JET I guess, but about a tenth of the pay. Since it is only a few days a week, I will also work for a well known one on one English conversation school. And, like the other job, about a tenth of the pay. To say that English Teachers are taken advantage of in Tokyo would be an understatement. Likewise, to say that I am an English Teacher would be an understatement.

Yesterday was my first day of training for my ALT position. It was held in Yorii, Saitama. I checked the train route, and it was on the same line as Kawagoe... but about an hour farther. Now THAT is the cuts. I footed the bill for the journey, and attended the free, mandatory training.

What follows are my notes from the day. We spent the day pretty much going over policy. My notes aren't about any of that. They are about the funny things I observed. Here you go.

  • 10:00 - A little late, I walked in to a room of 80 people, mostly men, listening to a speech. The speaker said, "Ok guys, here is the enemy!" Then he brought out a men's weekly (manga magazine) and opened to an idol picture in a school girl dress. He regaled us with stories about high fives gone wrong, teacher touching fan clubs, jail time, and upskirt panty games.
  • 10:30 - Being a bad teacher is ok, but being late is not.
  • 10:35 - I can hear gospel music coming from downstairs. Were talking choir music here people.
  • 10:45 - One of the trainers looks like the guy from No Country for Old Men. "Repeat after me, ABCDEFG... freindo..."
  • 10:50 - Were just taught how to write our letters and numbers. I have 10 mistakes. So does the girl next to me.
  • 11:00 - Just noticed that the form in front of me says "non-mandatory" training. Outside I can see a blossoming cherry tree on top of a mountain. I could be climbing that tree right now.
  • 11:20 - The guy next to me has been snacking all day. Fig newtons and what not. Whatever, I don't mind. But at exactly 11:20, homeboy whips out a fucking bottle of salsa! And chips. This dude is dipping away like it's UCLA against North Carolina in the final game. This was seriously some funny shit. I'm talking about a conference room with 80 people dressed in suits and he just pulls this out of his bag. Where do you even GET salsa in Japan?
  • 11:21 - This next manager looks like the jerky nerd from Real Genius. Anyone?
  • 11:30 - We played a game of telephone. You know, the game where you whisper the message and relay it on? Only they called it Chinese Whispers. What the fuck kind of name is that? I guess thats what they called this game in Australia. I don't know how it's racist, but it is.
  • 11:40 - I just had a 10 minute long daydream. Something about being on a beach in California.
  • 12:50 - The Japanese staff introduce themselves. The first guy is the high up manager. Very serious Japanese business man. After he gives a speech in Japanese with a translator to help, one of the trainers asks if anyone used to work for NOVA. About half raise their hands. Then he says that this guy used to be a high level manager at NOVA. That's like introducing someone as, "Hey, remember the guy that stole about $6000 from you and kicked you out onto the street? Remember him? He's your new boss." It wa awckward to say the least.
  • 1:20 - We just talked about the shoe mechanics of Japanese public schools for 20 minutes. Apparently I need to buy like 3 more pairs of shoes.
  • 1:45 - At least 2 hours of the training has been spent fielding the most obscure, personalized issues people can think of. You can't get proper health care because you lived in japan once 10 yeas ago, then left without turning in your foreign registration card, and now you have problems? Let's discuss this please.
  • 2:00 - One of the trainers talked about an interesting way to teach comparatives. Longer and shorter can be taught with a lively game of drawing straws. Fair enough. Then he pulls out a box with pre-cut strings for everyone, so we can all play draw straws ourselves. A couple night ago someone went out, bought string, cut said string, made sure the long pile and short pile were separate, and here we are. That's over 200 pieces of cut string.
  • 3:30 - A trainer comes out in a horse head mask.
And that was how it all went down.


Aaron said...

Awesome post. Glad to hear you are back in the game.

That's quite the mix of personalities: The Jerky Nerd from Real Genius (my favorite movie) and the psycho from No Country.

Anonymous said...

It's called Chinese Whispers in th UK