Thursday, June 28, 2007


So this afternoon around 3pm, there was a short siren in the teacher's staff room, and all of a sudden everyone jumped out of their desks making all this commotion. They were running around, pulling up the blinds, shutting windows, and chatting excitedly.

I thought we had a school evacuation or that it was going to start pouring at any second or something. Finally a teacher explained to me that the school just turned on the air conditioning system! Even though the weather has been in the 70s and 80s everyday for the last few weeks (some days it's so muggy that our papers curl up on our desks), the Japanese have exact dates when things can or cannot happen.

For example, Japanese swimming season is only from like July 20th until August 15th or something- if you go in 1 day early or 1 day late, you are either politely asked to not do it, or you just get horrified stares.

Or, the "heating" season that they have in schools... The kerosene fueled portable heaters are brought into the classrooms and staff rooms only from a certain date to another date (like December 15th until March 15th) even if it's incredibly cold before or after that. What killed me is that one day in March, I was walking around the school and noticed like 10 of the portable heaters grouped at the end of a hallway, all turned on. I asked a teacher what was going on, and he said that they obviously can't store the heaters with the kerosene gas in them so they just fire them up and leave them on until they run out. WHAT?!?!? How about bringing them into the classrooms a little earlier and keeping them a little later so that the people who NEED them during the awful bitter winter could use them?!?

Today's air conditioning is just a "test" though.

Officially, they are not allowed to turn on the air conditioning until July 1st.

Ooooooh.... I'm teling.


giuli said...

what -?!?! no swimming?!?! that is cruel. do any of your rebellious friends swim anyway?

laurie said...

Oh, absolutely! The "gaijin factor" kind of lets us get away with doing stuff like that.

Just a few weeks ago, I met some Danish guys who had gone swimming at Amanohashidate. They told me that people were taking pictures of them!

And when Paul was here last October (and December!), we went wading in the "sea". (My students have never used the word "ocean", only "sea".)