October 19, 2012

Domes & Dragons

I had my first interview at Gaba today and was invited back for a second interview tomorrow. Goal 24 has begun!

Unlike some other companies I've researched (and another where I interviewed in LA), I felt a good connection with Gaba. They hire independent contractors, rather than employees, so every month you create your schedule for the following month. The process is essentially blocking out when you're available to teach and then waiting to see what students choose you. It's sort of like a video game in that you create a profile and sell yourself, and with new students and attending teaching seminars comes pay raises and other rewards. It looked fun!

But there is something else in the works for goal 24. It's much too early to say anything, but if things go the way I've already played them out in my head, I'll be working in film and television production here! And hey, one step closer to goal 11!

But back to Gaba. My favorite part of the interview process was a section of the application that required matching idioms with their definitions. Despite Megan Woram's voice in the back of my head completely butchering every idiom in the English language, I aced it. I realized in the last few days that one of the best things about not speaking the same language as someone else is you have to figure out how to explain certain things, whether that be through pantomime or using different language to convey the same meaning. I found it uniquely challenging to explain "puns" to some Japanese girls a few nights ago and look forward to more challenges like this, should I become a teacher.

I was told I'd have to wear a suit to work everyday. #Shopportunity

Speaking of not speaking...

Taylor informed me that our new friend Masashi's status this morning translated to something about going to a baseball game and having an extra ticket. Masashi, who is Catherine's cousin, speaks less English than I do Japanese, but I didn't let that stop me from inquiring. Through some rough google translating, my minimal
knowledge of the Japanese language and a whole lot of help from Catherine, Masashi and I agreed to meet outside of gate 41 at 6pm. I was going to a baseball game in Japan! Goal 34 was about to meet its match in the form of the Chunichi Dragons vs. the Yomiuri Giants. And it was the Nippon Baseball Playoffs! 

Tokyo Dome City:
It was around this time that I realized rain would not be an issue...
As I waited for my friend, I was amazed to find that nearly every man attending the game was in his work suit,
It's a weird experience to see something that is synonymous with America, in Japan. And while I already had that experience (The Statue of Liberty), a baseball stadium is a much larger shrine to Americana. People behaved in a similar fashion, but were more polite, less rambunctious, and generally better behaved. There was an absence of painted faces, bros, and children and an abundance of businessmen, harmonious and well executed cheers, and noodles.
We were nearly the last row back, but the view was still fantastic. I would have been able to see the whites of the players eyes if... you know.
The playoffs here are called the "Climaxseries". I mean, come on!
I was most curious about what I was going to eat at the game. What was that the walk around vendors were selling? Snow cones? Cracker Jacks, perhaps? Masashi's one English contribution of the night "Eel". So I left my seat in search of the perfect baseball meal and returned with this:
I figured this was the most appropriate baseball stadium dinner in Japan.
Enjoying a Giant's Weiner...
 Walk around vendors were cute girls with keg backpacks.
We may not speak the same language, but dick jokes are universally funny

I had a really wonderful time watching the game, despite the Giant's loss. I was obviously rooting for my home team. Or at least I think they lost. I don't speak Japanese. Nor do I know anything about the way sports work. But I think the Dragons ended up with more field goals than the Giants.

The language barrier is difficult when you want to convey a specific idea or require something, but if your goal is to just enjoy someone's company and watch a ball game, a few smiles, some charade-ing, and a whole lot of chanting and singing will do just fine. I wonder what he thought of the whole experience. Maybe I'll make it a goal to be able to inquire one day...

On a separate note, I began goal 40 on the way back from the game. I wanted to learn Celsius, and in the Moleskin that Taylor gifted me, there was a chart showing the two systems side by side. I was able to create a formula that would help me convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. 
And by "help me" I mean waste time calculating rather than just checking my phone.