Who’s in Charge Here?

by

This morning a teacher came into the Board of Education and queried loudly, “Who’s in charge here?” He had missed his bus to get to a school in the countryside. He moved up the column of desks aggressively and was rising close to the director’s desk when I redirected him to the number two.

He has been working in Japan for about ten years, so I was a little shocked by his presentation. Normally, when we enter an office that is not our own, we would first apologize for interrupting and then wait for someone to address us. Generally an assistant would listen to our request and introduce us to the correct party. I think his fear of being late was overriding his understanding of protocol.

Fortunately, I was there and offered to drive him to the school. This relieved the staff from interrupting their schedule and earned me a little more fresh air on a beautiful Spring day. Chatting on the way out, it seemed that the other teacher is feeling the strain of many of the details of “The Way”, it will be interesting to see if he makes it another year.

I can empathize, since there have definitely been periods where I felt like I would be heading stateside again. Even though there are so many great things about Japan, there are still stresses to living outside ones native culture.

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2 Responses to “Who’s in Charge Here?”

  1. Keven Says:

    Interesting. But that subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle strain can build up after a while. It seems like a lot of people have a moderately easy time of fitting in in the US, but it is much more difficult in other cultures.

  2. びっくり Says:

    After spending time in a couple dozen countries, I think I can safely say that America is the most convenient and easy country to live in. Some may say that my opinion is tainted by my being white and male. While I would agree that even in today’s America, I have advantage in many situations; I would have to insist that my experiences in other countries show me that women and minorities generally have more limitations overseas than in America.

    You are definitely correct that the ongoing strains can accumulate over time. I have dealt with some of them, by accepting them and adjusting myself accordingly, but others are tougher.

    I always appreciate your comments. Thanks.

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