Unlike every single job I had in Korea and Canada, the sole job I had in Japan gave me training in their methodology.
I’d like to point out the words “sole job” in that sentence so you may understand that I was in Japan almost as long as I was in Korea and yet only worked a single job there. It was six in Korea. I’m not saying that getting actual training made me a better employee, but… okay, I am saying that. And while employers not doing so makes sense in the fly-by-night world of ESL in Korea, Canadian companies have little excuse.
Anyway, my spot in Japan was a bit unusual for ESL there. Everyone is pretty much farmed out to local kindergartens and elementary schools in addition to their place of employment right off the bat. I spent the first year just working in the eikaiwa and while I had been trained for that, it wasn’t until later that I started going to kindergartens and that needed a whole different set of training. I had to go to Kumamoto for that and that’s where I took this photo. The graveyard was down the street from the regional HQ towards the lovely tram system they have there.
The sunset and the graves were irresistible and I sat there until the sun went down trying to capture both.
G.A.S.: Gear Aquisition Syndrome. It’s something photographers and musicians have in common. “This is good. But I bet the other one is just as good but in a different way.” Next thing you know, the shelves and closets are packed with things you never use and never see.
I strive mightily to not fall for it. I’m a nomad for one thing. I feel stability is required to have a collection of anything. I live my live out of a suitcase and a couple of bags. While I can’t help but buy things for my comfort, the end-of-contract sell-off/ giveaway is a huge pain in the ass. I always get down to a suitcase, two bags, and a box. Things you can stick in the back of a car. I prefer that.
Also, I have this weird mental thing where I begin to be repulsed by things I’m not using. It reminds me of the greed and wasted money that led to me having the unused item to begin with. A weakness of my decision making process. I have to get them out of my life. Good for you if you desire something I own. Just wait a while and eventually I’ll give it to you. I feel the same way about my art. But it’s usually easier to tear up and trash drawings than it is to mail it off to someone.
So I gave this camera to a friend.
This was taken during my time in Taiwan. I often wish that I had done more while I was there. I was demanding a job with a salary much higher than what was on offer. I admit, I was arrogant to assume that the ESL industry would take experience into account when it comes to salary. Five years, twenty years, one year, fresh off the boat. You’re all the same to the boss: A resource to be used to gain the maximum profit. Capitalism at it’s purest. If he could buy a slave or a monkey that could do it, he would.
February marks the beginning of my sunset here in Japan. Possibly even the sunset for my life as an expat. I have to start shutting down my services. Land line and Internet first. Lease, taxes, pension, iPhone, remaining bills later. Utilities and bank account last. Everything that’s going home mailed off. Everything else sold or trashed. Flight home booked.
A lot to get done over the next few months.
The iPhone app is Film Lab. The setting is Kodachrome 200.