Friday, 1 February 2008

The last few months

So I figure it’s about time I wrote something down. Er…

So a lot has changed over the past few months, not least the fact that I have changed jobs. If you may remember I was working for an English school, the fools having been foolish enough to make me Principal in 2006. this was fine while it lasted but I discovered that the higher up the tree you go, the more shite it gets – might only be true for that particular company but more likely it is a truism all over the world. Anyway I wrote in spring/summer last year that I was trying to make myself more marketable, I don’t know if I managed to do this or not, but I think it put me in the right mindset.

Over the summer I had a number of interviews for hr/recruitment related jobs for banks in Tokyo – this was something of an eye opener, as you might expect, not least for the fact that I had to spend about a week in the library trying to find out what it is exactly that banks do to make money. Actually that’s not true, I spent a week in the library trying to get to a point where I could sound like I knew a little bit about how banks make their money. Luckily I have now forgotten everything I read because these none of these banks were that interested in me (nor me them, really, except the wad I might have expected had I joined one of them, they do seem to pay well).

But what I did see was a position as hr manager for another school in Tokyo, this time not an English school but an International School that happened to be quite British in its outlook, curriculum, teachers etc. So after some to-ing and, but of course, no little amount of fro-ing as well, I landed the gig. Even for these guys it took three interviews including one that lasted most of a day! I started here at the back end of November but as part of my lengthy and extended escape period from the last lot I had to return there 4 times in December to ‘finish things off’ – which meant I went to Nishi Kasai and sat there doing not very much at all, but it did mean that I got paid to the end of the December by those guys and the new guys – double salary action, nice…

Being the new guy meant that I got to work for most of Christmas as well, so whilst for the last 10 years or so I’ve had around 10 days off over crimbo and the new year this time around it was Christmas day and new year’s day only (though boxing day was the last day to return to last lot, so it was something of a bittersweet working day). Therefore exciting stories of Christmas adventure are somewhat thin on the ground this year as, basically, I worked. We did go to the brand spanking new train museum in Omiya (in fact the youngster has dragged me there twice), which was good in a lots-of-trains-can-only-keep-me-interested-so-far kind of way, which, I hardly need to add, isn’t nearly as far as they can keep a 2¾ year old boy interested.

Christmas day was full of the usual presents-and-food shenanigans, this year I even got some presents myself, which was most pleasant after last year’s rather dismal showing. The youngster got lots of car/train action, which, well, I was going to say kept him quiet for hours but in reality they kept him interested and loud for hours. The Guru also received presents aplenty, though I’ll be buggered if I can remember what she got, now that it is February after all.

On the Japan front things have been quiet as well. Quiet is the operative word for the new PM, Somethingsomething Fukuda (sorry, can’t remember his first name…might be Yasuro…). Anyway you might remember that I nothing but ambivalence for Silent Shinzo because, as far as I could see, he didn’t do or say anything of note, or anything at all. Well, Fukuda makes him look like Outrageous Abe (I wanted that to be alliterative, and it kind of is when you say it, but it doesn’t work when you read it, if anyone can suggest a synonym for loquacious that starts with ‘a’ then I’d be happy to edit). I digress, so, Fukuda, even more quiet and crap than the last extremely quiet and crap bloke. Goodness how we all hanker for the excitement of the Kid. Along with much of the rest of the world the people of Japan are worried about recession – no, the media are telling everyone that they are worried about recession, making it a truth even if it isn’t.

Lots of other things have happened, none of which I wrote down (though at the time saying ‘I must write that down and write about it in the blog’) and now, of course, can’t remember. As you might expect the usual white collar crimes have continued unabated, the usual frauds, embezzlements and backhanders that keep Japan Inc ticking over nicely, whilst erstwhile parents have continued to show their credentials by murdering their offspring (and vice versa to be fair).

One story I did like from a few months ago was about a bloke who got legless, literally. Chap was riding along a motorway in the countryside somewhere in Japan with some friends and strayed a little too close to the central reservation barrier. Apparently he felt the bike twitch a little so thought he had clipped a stone or something so he slowed down a little and moved in a little and then carried on regardless. It was only when he stopped at a junction a little later that he realised that his right leg below the knee was missing – that and his mate coming to stop beside him and then handing over his newly liberated limb. Apparently the bike twitch he felt was his leg catching on the barrier and then being ripped off – without him noticing a thing! You have to wonder, all mad these bikers (or extremely hard)