Saturday, April 30, 2005

I Think The Resume Part Is A Good Idea

I need to get up early tomorrow to drive to the Hiroshima Airport and go to my next TDY destination. One cool thing is that I missed the local sakura (cherry blossom) season because of the computer install, but I'm headed to northern Japan and their sakura season just started about two days ago. I'm looking forward to catching it this time. Plus, one more grizzly install to go and in two weeks I'll be done. That's great news. I'm excited to meet this new team of employees and lead them through the transition. This will be a bigger group than what I usually manage so I'm looking forward to the challenge. It will be an incredibly full couple of weeks. Let's all have a group zen moment on my behalf in hopes that my billeting is bearable. It's always a very sketchy proposition.

Today I went to the dry cleaner to pick up a few skirts for my trip. The very second I walked in the door, the attendant went to a long, long line of hanging clothes and picked out mine. Could it be that I don't really blend in with her other clients? I have visions of the dry cleaning employees running to the back room and trying on my clothes every time I drop something off. An American friend (who is normal-sized) is occasionally told that he can't shop in some Japanese clothing store because, "You need king size." When he can sneak in and shop unnoticed, the clothes fit.

My preference is to post more on specific topics and not ramble quite as much, but I've been so...(insert less-annoying synonym for "busy")...that it's all I can do to run some general updates.

I don't think I've covered this: I have a good friend who is 34 and her parents have started the process of arranging a marriage for her. I believe that official estimates are around 40% for the number of marriages that are still arranged in Japan, but I'm certain it's much higher. So far it's like this: busybody Japanese women who have no work outside of the home and no young children start looking for a man with a semi-respectable job (which is the only real qualification, from what I can tell) for their late 20s/early 30s daughters. When they find someone (usually a friend of a friend of a friend), they get pictures and resumes from every member of the man's family and present those to the daughter. The mom then sets up a meeting between the potential couple, which happens with most of the family in tow (and is not a bit awkward, I'm certain.) My friend is on her second meeting (meaning, second man) and has made it clear to her parents that she doesn't want any more for a while. The pressure is tremendous and she can't take it right now. I don't blame her. When she was telling me about meeting #2 I asked (get ready for a very American question), "Do you ever feel like you want to just go to the grocery store and see a stranger in the bakery section and start talking to him and then fall in love?" She was quiet for a few seconds and then said, regretfully, that she wished she could do that but "...that is how Americans do it."

I think that is the most Japanese-y thing that has happened in a while. After 2 1/2 years, everything is so normal to me, I really have to look to see the differences. Today I was speaking with my sister on the phone and she was talking about this trip that a bunch of women took together. It was a cruise, and I found myself thinking, "That would be so fun because everyone would be speaking English." Meaning, it's so fun and such a relief when you can understand people and communicate with them. That's what "fun" is to me now.

I think it's about time to come Home.

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