Sunday, April 11, 2010


"Bring the beauty of nature to life!" - Our theme for Earth Day this year.
The snow has all but disappeared, and now the drab, grey skies remind me of Oregon; thankfully there's a LOT less rain. This weekend I went out to Kanayama-yaki, a pottery gallery and restaurant, where me and a friend made pizza by hand, then they were baked and brought to our table! So delicious. I also witnessed the Japanese Tradition of the job transfer - once a year, the head of the organization (in this case the Mayor) decides to shuffle people around, so my former driver / maintenance man at the Office is now working at the Middle School; the same thing happens to teachers (but I think this is decided at a prefectural level), so some may get sent to neighboring towns, or even as far away as Aomori (45 minutes by car!). Of course they have no say in all of this, and the Japanese system of Lifetime Employment guarantees that they won't complain, since work experience is usually non-transferrable (that's right, if they worked at a bank for 10 years and became a senior officer, quit and tried to work at a different bank, they'd have to start from the bottom again, but that's a different story), so they follow along and start anew, in a job they may have no experience in. In the yakuba hardly anyone changed, but a friend of mine moved from the Daily Life section to the Agriculture section; the changes can be far worse in an actual company, people could be moved around the country into departments they have no prior relation with. If the bosses actually took notice of people's various skillsets, strengths, and weaknesses, this system has the potential to be a great benefit, but overall I think it's fairly inefficient; the company isn't hiring new people but still has to spend time training employees for tasks they might only be doing for a year. I think only maybe 3 or 4 people changed positions here, which isn't that bad.
So now I have no assigned driver, and on some days I might even be driving myself!
And now, Pizza!

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