Life in a Land of Heat and Rain

Illustration for article titled Life in a Land of Heat and Rain

I’m coming to the end of my first week working as an assistant language teacher at a Japanese junior high school. It’s mainly been a very nice experience, the students are very sincere and well behaved, though it’s a little difficult to tell them apart when they all wear masks and uniforms. Aside from the masks, the only sign of Corona virus is the new set of social distancing rules requiring no two students to sit beside each other, a little pointless considering there seems to be plenty of physical contact outside of the classroom. For a culture about which I’ve constantly been told physical contact is frowned upon, I see a lot more hugging than at American schools. This might be a new trend. Fortunately, Corona seems down to pretty low levels though there’s been an increase in cases in Tokyo.

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One of the teachers seemed to expect me to be missing America, based on the questions she was asking me. I told her I’m happy to be in a country where there are currently no riots and I went on to tell her that the riots in the U.S. seem to have pushed Corona off the front page in every major publication. I’m working in a rural area so most people don’t seem to know anything about George Floyd or the riots. I generally have the impression that people here are more focused on here than on the world. There’s more of a sense of a connexion to the town and community than I’m used to.

It sure is hot. I’m told the rainy season is off to a late start which has been a worry for the farmers. Supposedly constant rain will begin next week—it will be rainy and hot. I wish I had more summer clothes.

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