様々な分野でグローバルに活躍する「普通の人々」が体験を語り、次世代の普通の人々のお役に立てればと思っているサイトです。

日本在住歴約40年のRon McFarlandと外資系勤務が長い齋藤信幸が、それぞれの海外体験を語ります。

Global Interaction & Understanding - A Personal Journey : No.10 エ~餃子の街からスタートですか

2020-02-09 21:11:02 | Ron's Life Story
1972年にカリフォルニア州のサンノゼ州立大学を卒業して5年目の1977年、ロンさんは羽田に到着。

この年、私は大学を卒業し、IBMへ入社。私とロンさんは、不思議と節目になる年が一緒。
私は1979年の12月に前年に開港したばかりの成田空港から初めてカリフォルニア州サンノゼにあるIBMの研究所に赴任しました。
ロンさんが卒業したサンノゼ州立大学には、専門書を買いにいったことがありました。確か、駐車違反で捕まった?

さて、ロンさんが羽田から向ったのは宇都宮。そこでRonさんとルームメイトを悩ませたことは?
(第5章は4回に分けて掲載します)

Chapter #5: ARRIVING AND ADJUSTING TO JAPAN

I arrived in Japan at Haneda Airport late in the night on Air Siam before it went out of business. The teachers from the school I was to work at were wait for me and two other people that were hired on a 1-year contract.

As soon as we got our belongings, we set out by car to Utsunomiya, in Tochigi Prefecture, which is about 60 miles north of Tokyo.

Utsunomiya was one of those cities, which was completely destroyed during World War II and totally rebuilt after the war. It had major industries and a strong agricultural base. Also, in those days, it was a bit far from Tokyo, so I could not really be an outskirt suburb of Tokyo. Several years after I left, the bullet trains started to go through Utsunomiya and more and more people who worked in the northern part of Tokyo would commute from there. Simply put, Utsunomiya was a conservative factory town.

Coming from California the city was freezing for me. I had an old bicycle, which I used to ride to the school every day, and I think I had two red lines from my nostrils to my upper lip for six months until spring came. Simply, I had an endless cold and runny nose.

Part of the one year there I share a house with another teacher. The house was extremely cold, and we had an old gas stove in the middle of our room. It seemed the heat went straight up and out of the ceiling.

In those days, I learned all kinds of different lifestyles, like taking a Japanese bath, washing, spinning and hanging out the laundry. Yes, those are all very separate functions, which are done individually, and calling the “Benjo”, (Japanese toilet) truck when the toilet got full and smelled up the entire house was another task. We didn’t even have a flush toilet. The benjo truck is a truck with a suction vacuum system on the back of it which sucks out the waste in the septic tanks in houses. You can smell the banjo truck coming down the road for about a block and a half. It’s very distinct if you are right behind it on the road on a bicycle. On top of that, the toilet was not the western type, so we had to practice doing deep knee bends when we went number two. That gave terrible hemorrhoids to my roommate. For me, I was able to get through the whole exercise all right. I, of course, slept on the floor with a Japanese futon.

As I had a good idea how to approach the Japanese language from my studies in California, I literally brought all my books with me. I found one of the Japanese English teachers to drill me the way I wanted on the Japanese language exercises. Here again, I think I set up a pretty good training program for myself.


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