The title does not refer to Asahi’s wonderfully refreshing biru (beer). Instead it represents the strangely humorous incident that just occurred merely moments ago.
Sitting here at my desk, a group of sensei (teachers) in the office began to mutter to one other. Within seconds they propped themselves out of their seats and hurried out of the office. I’m thinking, “Should I go with them?” Of course I should; so I did. Apparently, the windows in the hallway leading to the gymnasium were left open. Usually this wouldn’t pose a problem...but when it’s pouring rain 10 minutes prior to a student assembly, it’s a CATASTROPHE. These dedicated volunteers were concerned that their students would have to walk on a wet floor.
Upon arriving at the scene, I had to stop for a second and just laugh at what I saw. A handful of teachers in shirts and ties were squatting over the floor “waxing on, and waxing off” with their various rags and towels. Each minute a new volunteer would rush into the hallway with buckets and more drying devices in the forms of blankets and towels. They took the blankets and threw them on the floor so students wouldn’t get their indoor shoes wet thereby sacrificing the integrity of the floor.
Would this have happened in America? Nope. There would be one poor teacher concerned and trying to help, while others complain how ‘that’s the custodian’s job,” or “who cares.” It’s a team effort over here, and I like it. It’s a good feeling knowing you aren’t alone in your cause.
We mopped up pretty well, and I followed a group of little gents traveling back to the office. Words cannot describe how funny it is to see a group of five foot six Japanese businessmen march in the halls while their sneakers squeak to the heavens above. Remember, the Japanese adorn separate shoes indoors. This means, that you will often spy a man in a full suit wearing white tennis sneakers or even better: fluffy slippers!
When we all returned to the office, one of the English teachers pointed at me and said, “recruit.” This signified that I had volunteered my lazy American behind for the cause. Another teacher tried on his English and spattered, “Dry towels.” I smiled and at him and said “ahhh very good Eigo (English).”
The volunteers were exhausted and sweaty so they of course had to run to the sink area and make some tea! Let me just say that from what I’ve seen, Japanese teachers work very hard. However, I along with a few JETs feel that they don’t need to be staying until 7:00pm every day. The reason they remain at work until sundown is because every 10 minutes it’s time for tea, a quick nap at your desk, or a humorous 30-minute chat. I must learn to speak Japanese in order to partake in these ‘hilarious’ chats. I swear the Japanese laugh more at work than Americans do at a comedy club. No wonder they work so hard; they enjoy their day!
I hope you enjoyed yours!