18:02  Today we had what is called in Japanese “shinro gaidansu”, i.e. orientation for future employment or studies. In Japanese high schools, the third year teachers are in charge of FINDING JOBS (well, they organize interviews with companies) for their students before graduation. Either that, or find a university or a vocational college suitable to their students’ needs (click here if you’re interested in learning more about the Japanese educational system). Today, we had lecturers come to talk to our students. In the class I was assigned to, a man who came from Tokyo made an hour-long speech about the Japanese economy, and how it was becoming increasingly difficult to find a good job. After a ten-minute break, he had the students practice for interviews, like how they should enter and exit the interview room, at what angle they should bow, how they should stand, walk towards the chair, sit, and how loud they should speak.

It was long, but quite interesting. Anyway, we had no classes today because of that, and I’m home early! I don’t have any private lessons tonight either, so I’m gonna go to the public bath, shave my head, get into the sauna for a while, and then hit the books when I come back...


Last night I discovered that the BBS is accessible from cell phones. I’ve sent an email to a few people today and already traffic increased a bit.


Grrrreat news! Cherry trees started blooming in a second and third park in southern Miyagi. Sendai being situated slightly below the middle of the prefecture, we should see trees blooming pretty soon. According to the weather forecast, tomorrow will be warm (up to 18!!!), which is good for the sakura...












Started to bloom





70% bloomed


In full



Started to fall






This morning, I came across this article while reading the news. (Here’s the original link)


Japanese woman blasts music at neighbour for two years

Japanese police arrested a 58-year-old woman for triggering insomnia and headaches in her next door neighbour by blasting rock music at her almost continuously for over two years. Miyoko Kawahara was arrested on suspicion of inflicting injury on the 64-year-old woman by playing loud, fast-paced dance music almost 24 hours a day on a portable stereo she had pointed at her neighbor’s house 20 feet away. Police launched their investigation after doctors diagnosed the neighbor with insomnia and headaches they attributed to the noise, a local police spokesman said on condition of anonymity. The police said Kawahara started blasting the sounds in November 2002. The police haven’t pinpointed a motive for the alleged prolonged harassment, but the spokesman said the two women had spats over minor issues he declined to identify. Under Japanese law, those convicted of inflicting injury on another person face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $2,800.


Can you believe that crap? In Canada, the police would be on your doorstep in no time for playing loud music at night. Have they never heard of “disturbing the peace”!?!?!?!? “On condition of anonymity”: no shit, dude, you’re afraid to lose your job on account of procrastination, that’s what it is! Well, I guess the police would have done something before if they could have. Maybe the victim never complained due to an important cultural trait in Japan defined as “enryo”, which means ‘to be reserved’, ‘restraint’ or ‘holding back’. In Japanese society, one may be constrained to indirectness in situations of low social distance because of the necessity to interact with that person again. Some of my private students who took weeks before asking me to teach them did so because they were afraid it would bother me! Maybe the neighbors were too “reserved” to call the police, or even simply ask that crazy woman to put a sock in it! At any rate, I guess SHE had never heard about “enryo”! But no matter how much sociocultural influence might have been involved, TWO YEARS AND PHYSICAL DAMAGE! I can’t believe there was nothing the victim could do. There are limits to how much a human being can take. I mean, come on! Who’s really to blame here?