水曜日, 2月 02, 2005

Phat Jobs

    If I weren't planning to recontract for a third year, I could try for these lucrative but temporary jobs near Seattle.

I love job listings like this:
Do you speak Japanese? Do you like to play video games?

Yes, yes!

Then there are questions like these:
Want to build the best Japanese search engine on the planet? Want to work on the most exciting team at Microsoft?

No, and no...and it seems they want a native Japanese speaker, anyway.
    Ah, why do I even bother to drool over job listings, when the die is cast and everyone knows I'm fated to spend another year on JET. I'm addicted to Kobe. It's convenient, nice, friendly, comfortable, everything you could want in a city. Trying to support myself in Seattle on those 3-6 month type jobs would probably be rather stressful. I've been there, and I know what it's like. After much angst I turned in my recontracting form marked "yes". Who knows, they could decide not to recontract me, but the vice-principal told me the principal wants me to recontract, for what that's worth.
    My Japanese still isn't as good as it should be, and that's a reason for staying. After my kanken defeat, I developed the following tentative study plan:
    - I registered for two 10-month correspondence courses through "U-Can University" - 国語の常識 and 漢検 (levels 4-2). If you're not satisfied when you get the materials you can send them back at no charge, so I'll look at them first and possibly only continue with the best of the two, since they are a bit expensive. If they both look great though, I can afford to take both of them. The kanken one should provide me with a more systematic way of studying - I didn't really enjoy the yellow-cover books I bought to study for the test last time. You practice writing the kanji, if you have the energy you look up the compounds you don't know in the dictionary, you do the tricky, repetitive little exercises. Boring. I never felt like I was really mastering the material.
    - With the help of one or both of those courses, I want to get a good score on the 3-kyuu kanken in June and the 2-kyuu in January a year from now. If I take the J-test on top of that, I should certainly have enough Japanese qualifications for my resume.
    I bought two new board games recently: Lord of the Rings, the 2000 game by Reiner Knizia, Japanese version; and Lost Cities, also by Reiner Knizia, German version. We're planning to play the Lord of the Rings at my game group meeting on Sunday.
    I finished reading T.C. Boyle's "Riven Rock". Based on a true story, it chronicles the 20 years that Stanley McCormick, a schizophrenic, misogynist millionaire, spends isolated from all women, including his long-suffering wife Katherine. I liked the historical detail, but I was hoping that there would be a more meaningful ending to Eddie O'Kane's subplot, since the author devoted so much time to him, Stanley's male nurse, that he almost eclipsed Stanley as the main character. There also wasn't much closure for poor Katherine. It was so unfair.
    I watched the Korean movie "My Sassy Girl" (Japanese title: 猟奇的な彼女) the other night. What a dysfunctional relationship. Those who are, in any way, sensitive on the topic of male and female relationships should be warned to avoid it because of all the female violence against men. The main character is constantly being hit, threatened and knocked around by both his mother and his girlfriend, and that's not funny. His mother hits him with anything on hand, and his girlfriend is dangerous from the beginning. However, there were a few genuinely funny scenes in the film. My favorite was the excuse the crazy girlfriend gives to get the guy out of class. It was also cool how she told off people who were misbehaving in trains and restaurants. I almost liked her when she was yelling at a guy in a restaurant for underage prostitution. To remind you it's supposed to be a love story, there was a cheesy frame to it all involving burying a time capsule in the ground and meeting to unearth it two years later. Way over the top. The very end was nice, though.
    It's better viewed as a comedy than a love story. I couldn't see anything romantic about what happened between those two pathetic characters. One commentator on Amazon.co.jp said that the plot was like a manga. I guess the violent femme/hapless male combo is common in manga, not that I would know; I don't like that kind of manga. But I can see why the movie might be popular with manga fans in Japan. It was recommended to me by a guy in Taiwan during my trip there.


  • At 2:33 午後, Blogger Evelyn said…

    were you able to get your lost cell phone back? i think you are so disciplined ! after the jlpt test in december, i've done no japanese studying at all... i am waiting to get the results back in march to continue my study plan... =b
    i actually thought about applying to JET for the longest time, but have not done it... (i am afraid of big changes, and work in NJ is all right, i've been working for 3 years... turning 28 soon ... i want changes, but afraid of changes, how ironical)
    hope you will pass the kanken test next time =)

  • At 10:05 午後, Blogger Matt said…

    Aw, I thought that guy getting tormented by women was funny. But then, it was a kind of bitter laughter.. at myself ;) (I liked the part where he pretended to be the English-language phone message, too.)

    Did you hear that it was originally a blog-like internet phenomenon, allegedly based on a true story?

    I wish I'd read Riven Rock recently enough to comment sensibly about it. Damn.

    By the way, there's a new 四コマ漫画 on my Japanese page.

  • At 12:15 午前, Blogger Evelyn said…

    i didn't like the movie 'my sassy girl' either... one of my friends (malaysian chinese) liked it a lot. i dislike it for the same reasons you mentioned... but i wonder, seems like younger (teens and early-20s) people like the movie - so i wonder if it's b/c i am getting old =b

  • At 9:25 午前, Blogger EmailHosting.com said…

    Playing games would be a great job. Ha Ha!

  • At 5:31 午後, Anonymous 匿名 said…

    It seems you didn't feel the need to consult your mother about recontracting! I hope you're still planning to visit us in July...

  • At 2:46 午後, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Evelyn - No, it looks like my cell phone is gone for good, but that's okay. I decided I want one that has a better camera and can download games from the Internet. I went to the docomo shop on Wednesday and they showed me a great phone that can do that, beautiful, with Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest already on it! The only problem is, it doesn't work in all areas, so I need to wait a few days. They're going to lend me one I can try out to make sure I can use it where I live, before buying. It's inconvenient to live without a phone, but at least I can keep in touch with people by e-mail.

    Evelyn, you should definitely apply for JET! It is so worth it! Don't be afraid! Since you have worked at your current job for 3 years, a change might be just the thing you need. (I usually get tired of a job after the first year...) I was 28 when I started the JET program. There's nothing like living in Japan to improve your Japanese, and other things about JET are also really nice...of course there are the money and the benefits, but also people treat you well and it's easy to make friends. I am so glad I decided to do it. Can you go back to your current job after a year or more away?

    Anonymous - I did ask for everyone's advice on recontracting on this blog awhile back, so please don't feel "unconsulted". I know you've told me your opinion, I just made my own decision. A year flies by really quickly here, so I'll be faced with the decision of what to do after JET soon enough. Yes, I am still planning to visit this summer. Looking forward to it very much.

    You said last time that I should go home and write a book. But that made me think that if I want to get serious about writing, I could do a lot on another year of JET. I live alone, so there are few distractions, and I also have time at work to write. I don't have to worry about money, and I'm having interesting experiences that could become material for writing. If I tried to write all day at home in Olympia, it would be very stressful since I wouldn't be able to pay the bills or pay my student loan. There would also be more distractions living in a house with many people.

    If you want me to hurry up and finish the VH book, why don't you help me by doing some preliminary research before I come home this summer, make a time line of his life at least? I wasn't able to work on it for the past year and a half because you wouldn't let me take the journals with me, remember. Let's make a plan for finishing the book when I come home.

    Matt - I didn't hear about it as an Internet phenomenon, no! And I didn't totally dislike the movie...there were things I liked about it, and Riven Rock too. I thought of a few redeeming features of Riven Rock after I posted last time. For one thing, I liked the irony of the fact that Stanley hated women, yet his wife had control of his estate and wound up giving his fortune to feminist causes. I also liked how the historical events in the background (women's sufferage, the temperence movement, Prohibition) complemented the story in the foreground--the misogynist married to the feminist. Finally, I liked Boyle's sensitive treatment of character. The character I never completely understood, though, was Stanley. He was so naive about sex, I couldn't believe it. I'm thinking of the scene where he didn't know what a prostitute was, and also his excessive fears about masturbation. Is it possible for a grown man to be so naive, even back then?

    I'm glad I read it though, it was interesting. I've read about half of "Water Music", next in my T.C. Boyle readathon. I have a sneaking suspicion that "Drop City," the first one I read, will remain my favorite.



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