2010年4月19日月曜日

position vacant: token foreigner

Position Vacant

Necessary qualifications:

*Foreign born. Preferably visibly so.
*Able to speak Japanese. Or at least smile and nod and say ehhh? nnnn? and ahhh... in all the right places.

Duties:

(To be shared with current position holder)
*Answer many and varied questions on a multitude of aspects of life/ culture/ politics in all foreign countries. eg. 'what is a hanging chad? Why are the people in red t-shirts demonstrating? Do American's really all have guns? Does it always rain in Vancouver? When is Christmas in Australia?'
*Provide one-stop instant translation service for locals, their families, acquaintances and associates. Wide ranging translation knowledge necessary to cover topics such as: apple varieties, Buddhist deities, dinosaurs and letters to long-lost pen friends.
*Perform culturally enlightening tasks for the benefit of the local population. Eg. use chopsticks, make a packed lunch, squash rice into a triangle and call it a rice ball, run in village sports' day etc.
*Saviour and lifesaver for the neighbourhood's entire school aged generation. Ie. teach them English.

Remuneration:
*A wealth of community spirit, a great country lifestyle and much gratitude from the current position holder.

*****************

I am pretty used to being the one and only go to person for all things non-Japanese around here and mostly I really don't mind but at the moment it's getting a little overwhelming. At the moment I am in possession of a pile of mailing slips that I have carefully transcribed in the addresses of people one of my students' husband went on a ski trip with. He wants to send them some photos (all 12 of them) and has the addresses but doesn't know how to fill in the mailing slips so of course that came my way.

I have also picked up two tutoring jobs for kids in my immediate neighbourhood who aren't doing well at English. A Year 9 girl and a Year 8 boy.

"Please, please, please help him. He's failing English. Hopeless. 17% on his last test. He'll never get into High School at this rate. Please? Any day is fine. Any time. Well except Monday, Wednesday and Friday as he has clubs. And Tuesday and Saturday is cram school. But Thursday? He can come Thursday. Please?"

I almost hope one of my girls isn't very good at Japanese or maths. I have a nice long list of local mums I am going to hit up with my desperate pleas for immediate tutoring assistance...

But the job I was asked to do today beats the lot for 'give me a break, please!' My neighbour's colleague's adult daughter has signed up for a homestay/ English school trip to Australia. My job? To talk to her about Australian life? Help fill in the forms? Nope. My job is to talk to the mother. The horrified and terrified mother who is convinced Australia is a cesspool of depravity and violence. My neighbour wants me to reassure her that her adult daughter will be ok living there. I have a few problems with this for a whole range of reasons (let the kid grow up for freaks sake!) but mostly because I don't want to be held personally responsible for the safety of someone else in a country I'm not even living in.

So, anyone else want to move in and share the load? It's a bit of an urgent situation as the neighbour's colleague is coming over tomorrow evening- just before the JHS kids arrive.

2 件のコメント:

achan さんのコメント...

I'll share your load. I volunteer to take your neighbours daughter to Australia and personally hold her hand everyday until she chooses to returen to Japan just so I can get out of here (please make sure she doesn't want to return because I don't either)

That will be one problem solved :)

Nay さんのコメント...

I feel your pain!! I'm sure it must get annoying after a while...

My foreignness (is that even a word!?) has yet to cause me any strife. I guess the people around here are used to it all because of the huge brazilian population...