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Adventures in Shiiba - April 1995
Erik Kassebaum

Enkai Season

Japan seems to have a lot of "Party Seasons." Just as one season ends another begins. This time, there are three main reasons to celebrate: job transfers, graduations, and the beginning of spring. I'm rather fond of the beginning of spring. Before I came to Japan I really wasn't concerned about cherry blossoms and such. Now I keep track of the "Cherry Blossom Reports" on television and find myself looking for cherry trees that are blooming. In California, I had "Hay Fever" and so spring was "Allergy Hell." Here in Shiiba many of my friends are allergic to Sugi Trees and know spring the same way that I did in America - "allergy season."

"Musical Chairs" is the analogy that I use when I talk to people about all of the job transfers that take place in Japan during March and April. Most of my family and friends were amazed by how often people are transferred here. Most people think of employment in Japan as being much more sedentary. To be quite honest, last year's changes came as a shock because I had never read or heard anything about this practice. To those who have graduated I wish you the best of luck and hope that you continue to do your best. Enkai Season Diet Tip - drink tea, it's fat free and healthy.

Is it Election Day or Erection Day?

Being an English Teacher means I get to spend a lot of my time at work talking to people. Many of my articles are based upon conversations I have with people as a part of work. I remember that on March 24 everyone seemed to be talking about "ELECTION DAY." Many people asked if I was allowed to vote. A even few wanted me to run for office. As I am not a Japanese citizen, I cannot run for office or vote in elections. Sorry.

The difference between "L" sounds and "R" sounds are difficult for many people who are not native speakers of English. Sometimes in Japan people use the wrong letter when they speak or when they write something. Usually such is not a serious problem. But sometimes this type of mistake creates rather funny expressions. I have seen "Erection Day" in Japanese Newspapers, Magazines and on Posters. This mistake really is really funny, but you're going to have to look up the word "erection" in your own dictionary. Trust me, this will be the funniest English lesson you've had in a long time.