Some thoughts about ethnicity in Japan

Recently, the Miss Universe Japan contestant was chosen. While usually I wouldn’t care (I view beauty pagants as a persistant, obsolete, and patronizing trend from a by-gone era), the Japanese contestant has sparked controversy because she’s the first Japanese contestant who is of mixed heritage.

dapper party

The Dapper Party

The Dapper Party was last weekend, and it was a lot of fun. Organized by Jaz, a fellow ALT, it originated from a FaceBook post she made where she mused, Wouldn’t it be cool if we could dress up really fancy? Um, yeah it would!

And so begins the last semester of the school year…

Today was opening ceremonies for the second* semester. Imagine a gymnasium that has no seating, no climate control, and no insulation. That’s where the staff stand and the students sit through the hour long opening ceremonies. The smart students bring blankets. I throw formality to the wind and wear three layers: my coat and scarf, blazer or sweater, and shirt. If I’m warned about the ceremony a day in advance, I also wear leggings. Unfortunately, in my indoor shoes, my feet stay cold.

A yen for stronger yen

Imagine my surprise when I saw what the exchange rate has been, recently. According to Bloomberg: The yen touched 120 per dollar for the first time since July 2007, as policy makers’ decisions to expand monetary stimulus and delay a consumption tax increase highlight the risks the economy is deteriorating. Talk about shitty timing.