Once Upon a Tanbo

She works hard for her money…

Posted on: October 31, 2007

I feel like talking a little about my work today

I used to be a teacher and now work in an office translating documents.

I think that one of the main problems I had as a teacher was my lack of
creativity. Some of the other particpants in my area always had such
good ideas and i was so jealous. In comparison my lessons seemed boring
and by the book, but try as I might I could never think of anything
original on my own. Another reason that I was not a fan of teaching
English was that I didn’t feel any motivation or progression in my
work.. My Japanese is hardly
fluent, and I hate to sound like I am bragging, but I am defintely
proficient enough to hold at least daily conversation as well as
understand what was going on around me.. However being told not to speak
Japanese at work was very hard, and although I did try to not to
eventually it just came out. The
students who I wasn’t supposed to speak my contraband(!) Japanese with
wanted to do it at all times.. Obviously in the classroom I wouldn’t let
them get away with it.. but outside of class I was interested to hear
about their personal experiences or questions that.. as 1st and 2nd year
junior high school students, they couldnt communicate yet through English.

Anyways, I had decided to end my contract after a year and move to Tokyo
to be with Ryohei when it came to my attention that the person who
previously this current position was leaving. So, just for the fun of it, I
decided to apply and see if I could take over the job although at that
time (last December..) my Japanese was not up to par for the
work required. I submitted my application for a transfer and didn’t hear
a peep for 2 months.. and the deadline for recontracting in February
was quickly approching so I assumed I didn’t even get an interview.
However! When I went in for my teachers meeting at the way end of
January I was informed I had an interview.. and in 4 days. So.. to say I
was alarmed would be an understatement. However Ryohei
helped me so much.. he was still living in Osaka at the
time, so the night before my interview he came down to my apartment
despite it being a weeknight to help me practice for my interview. He
mock interviewed me and wrote down a “speech” in Japanese of what I
should say and what they would be looking for. Of course I forgot it all
the next day but I was so happy for his kind gesture and help. He really
wanted me to be able to get the job and be in an enviornment where I
would continue to build my Japanese skills.

But I’ve digressed..

So anyways I had my interview on a cold February morning, about 4 days
before the recontracting deadline.. I met with my “future” tanto
(supervisor) and the head of the international division that I would be
working for.. however to my surprised much of the interview was
conducting informally.
But anyways since I didn’t have a level check and the fact that I
always get shy about speaking Japanese to new (higher up) people, I
didn’t think that I had passed. And I was very very surprised that I got
the job when I was informed 2 days later. And two days before the
deadline to resign my contract…

However with that excitement and surpise came sadness as I realized that
I would not be joining Ryohei in Tokyo that summer.. but in hindsight
that was really for the best.
My vocabulary and grammer have improved a lot, mostly thanks to my fanatic
study for the 1kyuu Japanese Proficiecy exam in December.. At this point I can only do J-E translation but someday I’d
like to be able to do English to Japanese as well although I think that
will take quite a few years.

My office is also a nice place because the people are so nice.. I’ve even made plans to
go with two of them to Kyoto for Maple Leaf viewing in two weeks. So
yes.. I do enjoy my job and I hope that I will be able to continue it.

About Ryohei and his work..

As I have stated before Ryohei wants to be a koumuin.. or civil servant
and pretty much work at a government office, pretty much like I am doing
now. However, due to “the man” there is an incredibly difficult exam
that is administered only once a year that has only about a 12-15%
acceptance rate. There are many different approches to studying..
self-study, going to a special cram school. blind luck. negligence..
(haha) so Ryohei has opted to attend a cram school which boldly states a
96% pass rate for its students.. I like to believe in the numbers.. but
we’ll see.

Anyways the exam that he wants to take.. for Niigata (Actually theres 3
places he wants to apply to.. the head of Niigata govt in Niigata city
and then the two smaller city halls near where his family lives..) is in
June so he is planning to try this year although.. since he’s only going
to start seriously studying in April.. the likelyhood of him passing is
pretty slim, but he wants the experience.. and he said if there is a
miracle and he passes it will be great. However.. after the June exam
which he will be studying crazily for he plans to get a parttime job..
most likely at the same building where I work and then work during the
day and study at night until the next years exam next June. (which is
the most likely scenerio.. although I really hope by some crazy miracle
that he would pass this year..)

Although working and studying will cause him to have the crazy 12 hour
days that he is having now.. the fact that we actually get to be
together is encouraging. Actually I know we have a really hard 2 or so
years ahead of us.. but I want to be strong and I think that actually
living in the same apartment will be a nice change. Its only been two
days since I came back from Tokyo but already I miss him and I am back
to counting down the days until we can see eachother again.. (currently
at 16 if you are interested)

Anyways once again I try to blog about something else (work) and it
turns to the usual thing (Ryohei) Having a long distance relationship
tends to override any normal thought I have.. I’m looking forward to
after March when I can actually write about different things..

And that concludes todays episode of the Sarah show..

Edited to remove some irrelevant information.


3 Responses to "She works hard for her money…"

Hey Sarah,

It is good to have someone in the same boat, isn’t it!! It makes me feel like, I’m not the only one going through this, and gives me the motivation to keep at it!!

And yes, I am coming back to Japan… in fact… I only have 18 more days till I fly out of Australia… yes, I am counting the days already!!

wow… you’re doing the Japanese 1 kyuu exam in December… I envy you!! I am only doing 3 kyuu… I have so much more study ahead of me!! LOL!

PS – thanks for visiting my web page – its a challange writing it in Japanese!!

red alert! red alert!
Just a word of warning… I know you mean well, but please reconsider blogging about your work. Especially if you’re also blogging AT work.

Not everyone in the blog world is nice, there are many bitter, unhappy people out there, and they like to see people fail. You don’t want one of those sending emails to gov’ment offices where you work about what you do. People lose jobs over smaller stuff than that. And especially if you’re a foreigner in JP.

Trust me on this.

montchan – yah i guess that would make sense..
i dont think i said anything to incriminating in this post.. but ill go through and edit it..

thanks for the tip i appreciate it.

i tend to be such an optomist.. and didn’t even think of that..

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