Sakhalin/Karafuto

I went to a little yakitori restaurant in Hirafu for the first time that’s closing for the season, and I met some Russian  guys who had recently come down from Sakhalin island on a chartered flight.  They were working in oiln’gas, and a little bit defensive about my questions about the Russian male life expectancy. […]

You Are Stupid

Things are a little tense as everyone tries to scramble for a new seasonal job at the end of this season. Living in the same room and working with the same people is cramped, difficult.  The other day my roommate was sitting down on a beer keg and smoking behind the counter at work.  She’s […]

Niseko: An Australian Frontier Town

I read an article once about an age sensitivity training where a company simulated old age for workers who needed to deal with the elderly with patience.  They simulated the physical symptoms of old age for young people by smearing Vaseline on their glasses so the attendees of the conference felt like they had cataracts, […]

A Circumnavigation

The day before winter break started was my last day teaching junior high.  I will miss Chestnut, No Eyebrows, Gorilla, Eggplant, Japanese Toilet, Potato, Sweet Potato, Panda, and Big Face. Well, maybe not Eggplant, whose nickname, from the amount of laughter that it caused when I mistakenly used it, is most likely a reference to […]

Never Change

There’s a secretary at work who dresses like she’s about to play soccer, but she’s not.  I like her.  She shuffles everywhere.  She moves slow. She doesn’t talk much. In an office of people who are yelling and gesturing and grabbing papers like they’re playing a stock broker in the movies during a collapse of […]