Posts Tagged ‘japanese

08
Nov
18

So you wanted a Japanese speaking job

So you wanted a Japanese speaking job? Not the kind of job that you currently have where you speak Japanese 20% of the time as a teacher, using all your bilingual skills to translate well known Japanese nursery rhyme songs into English with kids so they don’t have to think twice about the fact that they’re actually learning translations and code switching without thinking about it, no, no, you wanted a Japanese job where they treat you like the lowest cog on the totem pole of the hierarchical system that teaches them to bow in the face of shit being thrown in their faces. You wanted a Japanese job where you didn’t understand all the commands being told to you, where you had to move in one direction but you didn’t know which direction or where to put the things where and how but you couldn’t ask them to repeat what they said or speak slower because they would be even more upset than they were before you entered the kitchen. I feel like I just got adopted into some foster home, but I wanted this. A 100% Japanese speaking job which truly tested my fluency, and demanded that I work on my feet for 6 hours with no break after a 4 hours of teaching. “Learning a language takes time.” said one of my online students,”I’ve been in Sweden for 3 years and my English and Swedish are still not so great!” he smiled at me. “Yes. I know that!” I reflected back at him an equal smile and we held each other in our lack of language ability in the countries that we were living in. “I’ve been studying Japanese on and off since I was 12 and living in Japan for over 2 years.” Every hard situation in Japan seems to just get harder because i ask for it to get harder. I take the hard road in hopes that I will accelerate my improvement, but it always seems like I’m never going anywhere fast. Maybe, just maybe I have. It’s really hard to tell when you are in the dark flurry of slaying things in the lion’s den because you are just swinging your sword, hoping for the best, trying to keep up. I do remember 2 years ago when I went to the ATM trying to deposit the rent that was due for my apartments first and last security deposit that it was so hard to figure out how to read all the different names of the screens that weren’t waiting for my literacy to catch up as they were flashing kanji and buttons to press and timing out and making me start over from the beginning. I remember that day being one of the hardest days of my Japan life, and now that I’ve leaped over that hurdle at least 50 times by now, it has indeed become easy to withdraw, transfer and make deposits at the Japanese ATM. And, no, you can’t use the English menu for banking, and I don’t want to anyway.  English only speakers, I just don’t know how they even survive because the English menu is often totally different than the Japanese one and you can’t even do the same functions that you need to survive in Japanese Japan. So, I finally got a Japanese job in Tokyo and I was originally hired with a lot of promise and a recommendation but it didn’t take the staff long to get really mad at me for being at the level that I was at. I didn’t know where things went, and I forgot them when I was told once. I didn’t speak Japanese fluently and my semi fluency just wasn’t cutting it for them because they didn’t have the patience to teach me both where to put the pots and pans, wash dishes fast enough and learn new words. I’ve already learned a lot in 3 weeks that I could never have learned unless I got this job. I’ve learned menus, and polite hospitality speak, how to work the dishwasher and coffee maker, how to stack glasses and how to not stack certain glasses, and most importantly that Japanese workers greet each other with Ohayogozaimasu in the evening when they FIRST see each other regardless of whether it is morning or not. Valuable inside information. And yeah, its hard and I’ve woken up sore, but I haven’t cried yet, even though I have been 75% fired, meaning 3 of the 4 days per week that I was originally scheduled were dropped because I just can’t do what they need. And, that’s just fine. I was exhausted every day and night anyway. I felt like I was making license plates in jail and people on Facebook were worried about me because the way I was talking about it sounded like I was crying for rescue. But there are very few outlets aside from my Facebook in which I can express these things. Aside from this blog.

12
Jul
18

Wishing for a Superstar Cow Herder…

Tanabata_JapanSuiteThis is the traditional Japanese summer tale called Tanabata  that I first paid attention to my first summer in Japan 2016.  It’s age old, originally from China and adapted into Japanese tradition which can even be seen pictured in Hokusai’s Ukiyoe prints.  I remember making a slip of paper in a nearby shopping mall in Kyoto that July:

“I wish to manifest the future co-creator of the family I wish to build, my mirror nisei nihonjin (this is back when I thought I was nisei, I’m actually hafu not nisei), artist; Bushido Code: Honor, loyalty, courage, integrity, sincerity, politeness and self control.”

36786313_2065384913490019_6171921936256335872_oThe same wish to manifest the future co-creator of the family I wish to build has been a personal mantra that I have chanted for at least 3 years or more intermittently through sex magic and prayer.  It’s not happened yet. Not even close. 3 years ago my ex boyfriend told me,”I’m sure someday you’ll make a great mother.” and in his own way he was trying to be supportive with his words but they were in effect telling me that our relationship was probably soon to expire, definitely before anything like pregnancy between us ever occurred, and that he wasn’t going to be the father.  I remember those words making me cry at the time. It’s just not what your monogamish current girlfriend wants to hear from her twin flame. My twin flame was not meant to be with me for long, he was just meant to reflect all my weaknesses, be like a broken mirror that would turn into the glass shards to cut me so deep and wide that I’d bleed all over myself, and reform into a new being.  That’s what twin flames do, didn’t you know? It’s not meant to be soul mate love, it’s something like the dark knight of the soul in the form of a relationship. I’ve had many of those already though, so that’s why being single for 3 years is bad but it’s not the worst thing, being in a terrible nightmarish relationship is worse. I didn’t write the Bushido code of honor, I found those words on the internet, but the self control part seemed to ring a bell in me.  No addictions, no out of control tempers, no abusers. Been there, done that. This year, since my birthday one of my wishes has been to bring more art into my life, so I embarked on an art project to create a Tanabata Wishing Tree with an accompanying photoshoot. This is pretty ambitious for me since, in the last six months most of my time and energy goes to teaching English full time for my low income and making art and music have had less than a backseat role in my life of late.  I posted an ad on Facebook for a collaborating photographer and I found one. I shopped for things to make the tree and accessories to suit up as Orihime the Star Princess in my newest concept. The photographer backed out of our original Saturday date (July 7th, actual Tanabata observed) and I coaxed him back to do the shoot by nightfall Sunday. Wow. Thank Goddess. I needed this. Art and music are spiritual food for me and my reserves are pretty empty lately and I haven’t done an asianprincessartifacts project in possibly 2 years or more.  

_DSF1704My 短冊 tanzaku (written wishes for the tree) were very specific this year: A greeting kiss in front of the train station.  To sleep in the same bed until the morning, no not just the nanpa morning, every morning with my beloved. Every morning. These two things for 85% of Japanese already take me out of their potential partner list.  I’m not even kidding. 85% of Japanese people will not want to kiss you in public, and certainly not in front of the train station on a regular basis. Most of them also will not want to share a bed with you beyond sex and procreation, and will eventually move to their own room.  These are certainly things that I took for granted in the U.S, as well as the physical attractiveness factor that I held for the more than 50% of heterosexual men that looked at me. I have moved to a country where everything I knew has been turned upside down and/or needs to be thrown out. It’s very rare someone is going to ask you on a date in person or compliment you, carry your bag for you or hold open a door.  This is Japan for women. 

New rules with new players.  Or, old rules new players.   Nothing is as Universal as I thought, especially in the land of densely packed separation. But still i wish upon the star tree I made because miracles brought me here, helped me flourish here and this is how I know I will end up getting everything I want.

31
Aug
16

Donate to the Undocumented 💘 LOVEWORKER in TOKYO DREAM FUND!! 

DONATE TO THE UNDOCUMENTED 💘 LOVEWORKER IN TOKYO DREAM FUND! CLICK HERE! 

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