Parting Ways

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A lot of people from my initial training group are going back to their respective countries this weekend, including the first friend I made here in Japan. A year has come and gone, so now their contracts are up and it’s time to go home. However, I and a very small few are staying here to continue our lives in Japan, though many of them are moving to either Tokyo or Osaka. That means saying goodbye for now and that makes me a little sad.

The Not-Sorry Sorry

 

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For many years I worked various retails job and I thing I noticed was the avoidance of the word sorry. I don’t mean that it was never said, but it always seemed so carefully phrased to brush off any blame on the company’s part. At a few jobs, we were actively discouraged or outright told never to apologize to a customer, as it was seen as the company acknowledging a mistake. The only phrase that I clearly remember being solidly okay to say was something along the lines of, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but…”

That isn’t to say I never apologized to people, but I did get chewed out more than once for doing so. However, here in Japan, it is the total opposite. We are expected to say sorry a lot, actually.

What made me think of this is something a coworker said. She said that I spoke in a round about way, but hardly ever said the word “sorry”. She said I tended to say, “ok” instead. For example, if I was reprimanded for having done something incorrectly or not quickly enough, my answer would be “Ok, I’m on it,” or “Ok, I’ll do that next time,” when most people would expect me to say sorry.

I don’t think she meant it in a negative way, to be honest. I think she’s worried about my relationships with my coworkers, since these new coworkers I have may be the ones who decide what becomes of me in another three months.

So it got me thinking. I used to say sorry a ton to my friends and family, but it seems like in the business world, it has fallen out of my vocabulary. That said, I’m working on it.

Has anyone else noticed this trend in US corporate culture, especially in the retail segment? Maybe I just lucked out and worked for some black companies or something?

Winds of Change

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Big changes are coming in June. I will be moving again as well as starting a new work contract. This time, however, it will be at a branch school. As a kids’ teacher.

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It all happened so quickly. One moment I was trying to figure out where I was going to live this summer and how I was going to make the money in my bank account stretch, but now I’m trying to shove all my crap into boxes and clean up the place for the next person.

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I’m excited for my next big adventure.

Candy Stripes

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These flowers have been popping up all over the place recently. I’m not entirely sure what sort it is (maybe a carnation or some sort?), but they’re pretty. I could use some pretty right now.

This week has been a bit difficult. I’m in the middle of a rather tiring assignment, where I am splitting my time between two schools and the office. The majority of my classes have been in Mie Prefecture, in a city called Tsu. It is a bit over an hour, by train, from where I live. In the mornings, the company has agreed to pay for the express train (just under one hour), but I need to take the local home via the Kintetsu Line (just over an hour). I do this three times a week.

Goodbye Anjo

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Today is my last day at Anjo. In some ways it’s a good thing, but in many more it’s a bad one. It’s the last time my group of friends will be in one sport for a while. April is the time for change here in Japan. Rchan is being transferred. KT is leaving the company and moving to Tokyo. KR finishes her contract in a couple of months and will return to the States. I’m going to miss these days.

Office Ikebana

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Throughout November and half of December, I spent a lot of time warming my desk in the regional office. Since I’m and Emergency Teacher, I am actually considered an employee of the Education department of my company.

Since the new year, I’ve been out in the field much more. However I do still work in the office three or four times a month. Because of that, I wad able to see the new flower arrangements scattered throughout the building.