Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram
spacealien_vamp

Back to school daze

Monday I went to the new Ritsumeikan campus for my first day of work. The term hasn't officially started, yet, however, so things were still being organized. The first item on the agenda was a faculty meeting to discuss such serious topics as the order in which the students should line up during the opening ceremony and making sure to explain in great detail where and how students must change shoes upon entering the gym.

After the meeting, teachers were assigned desks in the faculty room. High school faculty have their office in the Media Center, which is in the middle of campus. I was told that the English teachers could choose to have their desks in another building (where most of the English classes will be taught), but I wanted to stay in the same building as the school library.

In the afternoon, the various departments got together to discuss class assignments. My classes were already designated, so I just received a copy of what my responsibilities will be. In addition to me, there are four other English teachers in charge of the former Moriyama Girls' School students (now seniors). The class duty list goes like this...

Teacher 1: 10 hours per week
Teacher 2: 10 hours
Teacher 3: 10 hours
Teacher 4: 11 hours
ALT: 18 hours

So I'll be attending nearly twice as many classes as any of the other teachers. This is about the same course load as I had last year; the difference is that this time I will be teaching some of the non-English majors to make up for not having to teach any underclassmen.

And now, on to the start of the new campus tour. You will have to excuse the poor quality of some of the pictures. I hadn't realized that my camera battery was running low, so I rushed to snap shots before it died on me. I was also unable to take as many pictures as I wanted. I will continue to post more in upcoming entries when I get the chance to return with a recharged battery.

For today, I decided to concentrate on an area of much interest to me: the faculty restroom (in this case, for women). Up until now, I have avoided using the school bathroom...because frankly, my experiences with school bathrooms have been very poor. All the ones I've been in had Japanese-style toilets only, cold water (even in winter), and no soap. For the past couple years, I would just walk across the street and use the bathroom in my apartment instead. However, the new campus is a ten minute bike ride from my apartment, so that option was out.

Luckily, the faculty restroom is very well appointed. On the left side of the room are two Japanese-style toilets, but on the right side there are an additional three Western-style toilets. Each stall has an emergency buzzer on the wall (the orange button).

The Western-style toilets have all the modern conveniences, starting with heated seats. In the winter, this makes life SO much more tolerable. Here you can see the control panel of the toilet with all of its functions, including a bidet setting and a "flushing sound." As some of you probably already know, Japanese women are extremely embarrassed for other people to hear them using the bathroom. At one time, they would repeatedly flush the toilet to cover the sound. This was clearly a waste of water. The solution that was developed was to have small devices installed on the stall walls that would make a flushing noise (or sometimes other noises, even songs) at the press of a button. Here such a device has been incorporated into the toilet itself.

And finally, to top it all off--soap! "Stay healthy and Smile!"
Tags: culture, school, sightseeing
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