So about a week ago, I theoretically received my first full paycheck from ECC. The paycheck is theoretical because it's a direct deposit into my bank account... and I don't yet have a bank card. All my fellow teachers have gotten them already in the mail, but the post office has apparently forgotten about me. I'm waiting one more day, and then I'm going to have to go to the bank myself and reorder the card in person. In Japanese. Should be fun. You don't realize how complicated some things truly are in life until you have to do them without the gift of fluency. And unlike Tokyo, my city does not have a resident English speaker at every major company.
Learning Japanese is a steep uphill war, with many little battles along the way. And I do not believe I am ready for the Battle of the Bank Card yet. Oh boy.
But as I predicted, within two days of being back at work, I was sick again. It's never anything serious; just a minor cold/cough with the occasional stuffy nose. I've started back on my diet of oranges and vitamin C supplements, but as my mother used to say, it's "Like a fart in a wind-storm." Not going to be very effective. I have several hundred little germ-riddled students, breathing the same air as me everyday. I can only hope that with time, my immune system will become so strong that it'll withstand these cooties. Heck, draw some blood from me in a year, and you might find the anti-bodies to kill cancer/tuberculosis/male-pattern baldness/herpAIDS. I will be invincible, but I digress.
Something they don't tell you when you move to Japan is the mailing system is totally different than any other country in the world. I know this because I've done a considerable amount of research recently on international mailing systems for my own personal amusement. When the post office is holding your paycheck hostage, they suddenly become VERY interesting.
When you move into an apartment in Japan, you will obviously get a mailbox. On your first day in your apartment, you'll open your mailbox to find several week's worth of junk mail, which seems to be an international standard. However, hidden in this pile of trash is a tiny 3 by 4 inch piece of recycled paper with your name and address on it. This piece of paper will not stand out in any way, and will actually look like someone else's garbage. With no instructions given to you, you must immediately know through a National Telepathy Brain Wave that you have to take this piece of trash to the post office ASAP. I can only assume that telepathy is used, since everyone just assumes I should know what to do. I'm clearly the delinquent foreigner who has yet to figure out the f*cking postal system.
Once you have found where the post office is, you must present yourself to them to prove that you are indeed, the person picking up the mail. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU WILL NOT GET ANY MAIL. But of course, you'll know this because you have telepathy superpowers. Obviously. Once you've given your wallet sized piece of garbage to the mail room lady, she will spew Japanese words at you, and you might catch "ashita," the word for 'tomorrow.' That means they won't give you the mail they're holding for you right behind the counter while your standing there. Like any bureaucratic system, they must take the longest possible route to the solution. Even if you can see your mail 3 feet away behind the counter, you still must wait until a postman delivers it to your house.
But the Post Office's version of Ashita is not 24 hours. It's apparently whenever they damn well feel like it. Because I still haven't gotten my f*cking bank card.
I'm not bitter. Just a little disappointed in you, Mr. Post Office. You are an integral part of the Japanese system, which for all intensive purposes, has been labeled one of the most efficient in the world. But you're not, Mr. Post Office. You're seriously lacking in the efficiency department. I respectfully request that you hurry the f*ck up and give me my money. Because back in my country, we have a saying about the words "going postal." And I am seriously close to showing you just what that means.
On an unrelated note, here are some pictures;
And here's a blurry picture of some impromptu break-dancing that happens outside of the train station late at night. You gotta love these people;
And finally, here is a friend of mine *cough* eating garlic bread;