in the trees on Flickr.
The shrines of Japan… they lurk in the forests and parks. Shot with a Mamiya C220f. Scan of a print.
It’s Monday. Hopefully one of my few remaining Mondays where the schedule is “Play MMOs until my eyes hurt.” There seems to be some movement on that front but I don’t want to say too much about it yet in case it falls through. Never take anything for granted as an expat. Not even the ill will of others.
This leads me to a story of Korea. (Come the Japan, stay for the Korea);
My very first job in Korea was horrible. Equal parts my ignorance and the assholery of others. But that’s all water over the bridge. Back in those days you showed up on a tourist visa and the boss sent you to Japan for what was called “a visa run” so you could get your work visa and stop working illegally for your first month. You were usually in Osaka for an afternoon at the Korean embassy to get your documents processed, and then back in Korea for your classes the next day. Later on Immigration said this was swamping their workers and it became a 24 hour process. One night in Osaka on the boss’ dime! Yes! If you were lucky and timed it right, a whole weekend in Osaka on the boss’ dime! Double yes!
To get to the airport, you were told to take a limousine bus. For me it was leaving from the CALT in Gangnam, behind the COEX.(I just knew it as the COEX Bus Terminal. I think the name was changed in my absence.) I’m impressed at the fact that I can do my check-in, and get my boarding pass there instead of at the airport. I’m feeling the heady rush of modern technology all the way to get my tickets for the airport bus. (This was in the days before the high speed train to the airport.) If my life was a cliché comedy, this is where the record scratch would be heard.
“My boss told me it was cheaper than that and only gave me this much.”
“Sorry,” the well makeup-ed lady told me, “It’s this much.”
“If I go back to the hagown for more money I’ll miss my flight. I am fresh off the boat and am poor.”
“Is there a problem?”
I turn around to see this business man with his luggage. At this point you expect that he and the people behind him would be angry at the slight delay. This is one of those taking the ill-will of other for granted. However, his face was nothing but pleasant concern. The clerk and him have a rapid fire exchange in Korean. He then turns to me and says, “Your boss didn’t give you enough money? I’ll pay for you.”
After the usual polite refusals and instance, he pays for my bus seat. At this point you may be thinking bad things about him using it as an excuse to practice his (already good) English on me for the trip. Nope. He got on a different bus. Waved to me as he left. Told me good luck. He was just a passing nice person who helped me.
My bus came and I was filled with a love for humanity that died like a snowball in a furnace shortly afterwards that for reasons I won’t go into. But it happened, and that’s why you should never take things, including the ill-will of others, for granted.