Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No go to Japan with NOVA

In today's Oregonian there was an excellent article of the implosion of NOVA, a chain of English language schools located in Japan. A young woman is stuck in Japan, living off of cheap noodles and donated peanuts. She describes the job as a combination of teaching and working in a hostess bar.

Yikes!

When I was fresh out of school I was recruited by an eikawa (English) school at their Chicago office. It wasn't my cup of tea; I would have rather worked in Japan as a biologist or limnogolist (water ecology) than try to teach a language that I think takes a skilled language teacher or linguist.

But I have known so many people in the Portland and Seattle who have worked as English teachers, moving on to other jobs in software development, fashion and graphic design. Sure, the job may not be exactly be the level of excellent linguistic teaching that you would expect, but for many, it is a great way to go into other things in Japan.

The thing that makes this even more distressing is the new fingerprinting law going into effect in November, where foreigners- all foreigners- will be required to be fingerprinted, whether or not they are newcomers or residents. It is basically a way to set up a Jim Crow system for foreign workers and residents by using a process that renders them criminals before being tried or even accused of anything.

So these people are now stuck, owed money for their work and now in a country which thinks it is perfectly acceptable to subject all foreigners to criminal processing.

Yikes. There goes the sister city trip to Sapporo.

Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/oregonian/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/1193801150304310.xml&coll=7

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Biking in Portland- Rules of the road

In the past month two bikers have been killed by trucks making a rigt turn. This has lead to an outcry and the biking community speaking out.

I have biked in Portland for last 8 years, ever since I moved here. I have been in scrapes- usually due to a driver in so much of a hurry that they did not look in the right direction, or they were plain breaking the law.

But I have also seen bikers who have a blissful, don't give a right damn attitude while out on their bikes- sharp, ill signaled turns, speeding past red lights, harassing pedestrians on sidewalks, riding with iPods on (!)', talking on cellphones and generally being a--holes.

So, here is my view: Bikers, study up and obey rules of the road. Be considerate. Slow down for pedestrians. Allow enough space and time for cars and trucks to make turns or crosses. Take off the iPod when biking- its the ultimate in tuning out your environs. Stop at red lights- even if cars are not. Especially if cars are not.

Yes, there are plenty of drivers who jerks out there. That does not excuse bad cycling!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Right- back to blogger

Wow! the key to blogging is consistency, apparently! It has been months, and instead of blogging about it, I have been :

1) Working,

2) drafting a play, a documentary and a book ( yes, all at once!),

3) travelling all over the Pacific Northwest.

But not clever enough to write about that in a blog. Well, neglect( knock on laminate effect wood) no more! I shall report on the above projects plus a review of past season in Ashland,OR- specifically August Wilson's A Gem of The Ocean.

For now, back to cider and The Goonies!

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