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Amparo Bertram

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07:29 pm: JCMU Deja Vu
Today I went to JCMU to watch one of my English club students participate in a speech contest. The student, one of my team teachers, and I took the train that would get us to Hikone Station in time for the 8:20am Hikone-Maibara bus. Our troubles began when we found out that the bus schedule had been completely revised as of October 1. The Hikone-Maibara bus route, which I had used when I was a student at JCMU, was completely gone without a trace. We were later to find out that it was replaced with a bus that went from Hikone Station to the Prince Hotel (next door to JCMU) and made a U-turn to go back to Hikone Station. ...And the only bus that would get us to JCMU before the contest started had already left before we arrived.

How inconvenient.

We thought about taking a taxi, but then we noticed that the Prince Hotel free shuttle bus would start at 9, which would get us there just in the nick of time. We hung out at McDonald's while we waited. I had the following conversation with the cashier who took our order...

Me: I'd like the Egg McMuffin with no meat.
Cashier: There's no meat on the Egg McMuffin.
Me: <looks at picture of Egg McMuffin with blatant meatage>
Cashier: There's only ham.
Me: <exasperated> Ham *is* meat. No ham!

I'm sure my team teacher found this amusing. Silly foreigner, calling ham "meat."

The shuttle bus plan worked out well, and we got to the speech contest just fine. At the first rest break, after five students had given their speeches, my student insisted she wanted to turn around and go home. She stuck it out, though. She was at a disadvantage because she is also performing in the Creative event tomorrow and had to spare time for practicing for that, so she wasn't able to memorize her speech very well. If she had, she would have done much better.

After the competition, we checked the REAL bus schedule and went out and waited by the bus stop. And waited. And... The trip from the station to JCMU takes 15 minutes, and the bus wound up being about 17 minutes late. Huh? For punctual Japan, this is ridiculous. I speculated that the reason they reduced the bus service so dramatically was that so few people took it because it was such a poor service to begin with. Oh, well, it gave us a chance to watch the sun set over Lake Biwa.

When we got on, I noticed that the fare was 300 yen to JCMU/Prince Hotel, but 200 yen to every other stop. Way to be obvious about gouging the foreigners and the tourists, guys.

I was quite glad to get back home. Tomorrow is the Creative event. I bought a new long-lasting battery for my videocamera; hopefully this will fix the problems I've been having with it. Sunday I'm planning to head to the flea market in Kyoto.

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[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:November 19th, 2004 03:53 am (UTC)
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Ham *is* meat. No ham!
Okay, I'll share with you the bit of my vegetarian story I left out of my journal. The ladies at lunch were quizzing me about why I don't eat meat and what kind of stuff I ate; you know, all the usual stuff. (It was mostly okay; they were nice, and when I told them I didn't want to kill animals they said I was very やさしい.) Then, out of the blue, after the conversation had segued to other topics, one of the ladies goes, "Oh, so you can't even eat sandwiches with ham on them?"

Yeah. I don't eat fish, but I eat ham. Ham's not an animal.

Also, this one woman went on and on about the high quality of fish at Costco. Then, five minutes later, when vegetarianism came up, she said that she was a vegetarian too. Five minutes after that, she slurped down the soup, bacon and all. But I'm sure that she doesn't eat meat.

Not only that, but I also got to hear about a slaughterhouse where you can choose your own meat while it's still a...sheep, I think. (I don't remember her mentioning the animal, but then later she said you could hear it crying めえ、めえ, so.) She was quite graphic about it. I almost asked her to stop, it was so gross. >.<
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 19th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
"Oh, so you can't even eat sandwiches with ham on them?"

<sigh> See, I think this is like the Japanese totally not realizing that katsuobushi is fish. If they would say butaniku, they would realize that it's meat, but because they say hamu, it has become totally dissociated in their minds from what it really is.

One thing I forgot to mention: Two students in the speech competition preached against wasting food. The first one harped about how school lunch is wonderful because it's nutritionally balanced and it teaches people to eat all the food they are given without having likes or dislikes--her argument being that people with likes or dislikes leave food on their plates and waste it, and when they become parents their children act the same, and it becomes a vicious circle. (Yes, she actually used the phrase "vicious circle.") I wanted to raise my hand and say, "Excuse me! If someone really has likes and dislikes, the person won't buy the disliked food to begin with, thank you very much. No waste, no problem."

However, the second person had a much more reasonable argument. She gave the example of how she worked at a buffet, and she was appalled at how much food people wasted. That's a reasonable example. Then she went on to point out how several times more grain goes into raising meat animals than the meat that is gotten from them, and that if people ate less meat there would be more food to go around. I gave her a thumbs up from the back row.
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:November 19th, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I think this is like the Japanese totally not realizing that katsuobushi is fish. If they would say butaniku, they would realize that it's meat, but because they say hamu, it has become totally dissociated in their minds from what it really is.
I guess so, but I still think that's sad. I mean...why is it so hard to think about what something is? I guess it's like reading the ingredients on the back of the box--I've just been doing it so long that I don't even think about it, but most people don't think to do it.

Then she went on to point out how several times more grain goes into raising meat animals than the meat that is gotten from them, and that if people ate less meat there would be more food to go around.
Yay for her!
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