Tagged under: Voice
A sense of adventure brought me to Japan. I arrived from Taiwan in 1981, and one of the first things that shocked me about Japanese society was how male-oriented it was.
This hit home after I mastered the Japanese language and secured a job at a local IT company. I soon lost count of the number of times I was asked to serve tea to my male colleagues, and I had to constantly remind my boss that I wasn’t comfortable doing it.
I come from a long line of travelers. Visiting Japan is a family business of sorts. I’ve been in and out of the country since 1966, and my first two arrivals were by ship.
Paving the way was my father, John F Howes, who first arrived here on January 1, 1947.
My new classmates are mostly from Uzbekistan. One, an engineer by training, now works the night shift cleaning a hotel. Another, a dentist by profession, hauls boxes at night for a courier. Another classmate works the graveyard shift as a bookkeeper.
Then it’s my turn to introduce myself. Your kids go where? ASIJ? What’s that? I say I’m taking time to learn the local language. So you’re taking Japanese class here because you just want to? I feel like a foreigner in the room.Read more...
"Thirty-nine,” she replied without flinching. The perfect poker face. This was how my British friend responded when the dental receptionist asked for her age. Except she is not 39. She is 55. A beautiful, mature 55-year-old who cannot bear the thought of middle age, let alone old age.Read more...