Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Intellectual Intercourse or failure thereof
"Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three (Which was rather late for me) between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles' first LP."
- Philip Larkin

Will the insanity never end? It is pouring down relentlessly today and the constant noise of dripping water combined with the frustrating incidents of yesterday are causing me to feel a sort of restless impatience that only people stuck unwillingly in the middle of nothingness* for twelve months will understand.

And so to yesterday...

A certain school are constantly outdoing themselves in their race to be the most unreasonable, stubborn and stupid workplace in Iwate. This (and other situations like it) is why ALTs in Japan need a union. It would be ridiculous of me to get into the nitty gritty details here and bore you into (at the very least) a coma but hopefully several well placed paragraphs will be enough.

A teacher at stubborn school organised our flight after lying to us and saying we weren't allowed to do it ourselves. This teacher then passed on the information to my school. However, the information Alan recieves from this teacher is always different from the information my school recieves. These differences are sufficient to cause complications for us resulting in the possibility that we don't get the same flight home. However, when Alan questions the teacher about this she is stubborn, evasive and changes the subject (usually round to a rather baffling and incoherent attempt to criticise him about something unrelated).

The same teacher last week told Alan that a male English teacher would be coming to look at the flat on Monday. Alan naturally assumed this meant some sort of check that all was in order and there was no permanent damage or any big jobs to be done to the place before we leave. When the male teacher showed up (a day late, and this is Japan!) he said he didn't need to look around the place all he wanted was a list of stuff that is in the apartment so he knows what he needs to transport to the rubbish dump (or into a warehouse where Stubborn School keeps all the Ikea-style riches it plunders from unwitting JETs).

Two problems emerge from this request. The first is that Alan has recieved no reply from his successor so has no idea what objects she will desire and which need to be disposed of. The second is that all these objects belong to Alan and he is (hopefully) selling them to his successor and this in no way is any business of the Stubborn School whatsoever. When Alan asked exactly why the Stubborn School were treating him in this way when other ALTs have not received the same invasion of privacy the male teacher replied that it was because Alan's desk is "sometimes untidy" at school so "we cannot trust that you will leave the apartment clear". Lets take this statement in two parts...

1. The apartment isn't meant to be clear! The furniture is traditionally bought by the current ALTs successor and until Alan's successor emails him and requests otherwise it is reasonable to assume that this will be the case.

2. Every teacher's desk in every school I have ever encountered (anal clean freaks and those with OCD aside) in schools in Japan is untidy. It is what you get when you have bundles of marking to do, textbooks to keep a hold of, worksheets to prepare etc. In fact it is the natural order of things for a teacher! And if you want to start delving into more complicated reasons for about the fact that teachers here aren't given a classroom as their own (which would likely have storage space, shelves, cupboards etc) instead they all share a crowded, and 90% of the time dirty, office). The tidiness level of your desk can't sanely be suggested to reflect your level of respect for your successor!

When these opinions were expressed to the male teacher and the unreasonableness of Stubborn School's request made clear to him he revealed what I believe to be the key reason for the visit. This reason is the result of a mixture of institutionalised racism, ingrained sexism, cultural backwardness and a severe and desperate superiority complex that Stubborn School exhibits strongly in every area of its existence. And the reason?


In otherwords...Stubborn School don't even want to give Alan's successor the choice of buying our double bed from us because in their opinion it will encourage her to lead an open, lurid, outrageous, sex-filled existence bringing shame upon the school.

There was no sexual revolution in Japan and it shows.

*I acknowledge this is a slight exaggeration...there have been many ESCAPE FROM IWATE experiences that have made this year worthwhile as well as a considerable amount of nice day-to-day stuff in Iwate itself. However, the overwhelming feeling is one of being stuck nowhere with nothing to do but eat cheeseballs.


Log in

No account? Create an account