Teaching In Socks


More words about the pictures; also, less pictures.
January 28, 2009, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Compared to last week, I really have nothing of supreme interest or intrigue to report. I didn’t almost faint anywhere in the past week, and any cultural faux pas I committed have yet to flourish into repercussions as of this writing..

On Sunday, I went to farewell party for another teacher in Himeji, and had quite a good time. I was introduced to a cornucopia of friendly, interesting Japanese people. The only notable setback of the evening was that the bar didn’t stock have any good Scotch in stock. Luckily, I was able to overcome, and like always, conquer adversity.

The weather was terrible on Monday, so I settled on an comfortably late wake up and hitting up the movie rental store for the first time. Usually I just grab something off the Itunes store and save myself the trip outside, but I wanted to grab something with subtitles so my Japanese friend could watch.

At my movie rental shop, the selection is pretty evenly divided between Japanese films and Foreign, Anglophone films. There’s a substantial selection dedicated ot American Television shows. I think this layout is pretty standard.  As you might imagine, the organization and categorization of Foriegn films is a bit of a farce–a defeating prospect to anyone searching out a particular title.

First, Alphabetizing is attempted, but it is a wasted effort. I foolishly spent twenty minutes trying to make sense of it all while looking for my favorite movie, Rushmore. I even considered that it might be alphabetized in Roman characters, but by the Hiragana alphabet this theory held no water. There would be spurts where “E” would follow “D” and maybe “M” sequenced into “N” only to be stonewalled by a slew of Jim Carey movies (alphabetized, nor arranged chronologically) before moving on the “S”. On the bottom shelf there were the mutts: a season of “Da Ali G” show, a Meg Ryan movie and multiple copies of every what I imagine (read: hope) is Police Academy movie ever made.

This was just the beginning of the labyrinth. The comedy and drama section were by virtue of misinterpretation, presumably by someone has a very serious sense of humor, interchangeable. The Shawshank Redemption was in the comedy section– a very dark comedy if you ask me.

In retrospect, It’s not surprising that both genres were also jammed back in the corner,  farthest from the entrance, and the least desirable shelf space by far. I can’t tell if it’s because the films are the least popular, or if because American Humor vs. American Drama binary is an entity the staff prefer to pretend doesn’t exist–like getting a “D” on a history exam and then refusing to acknowledge that the Crimean War  ever happened.

I could understand why a store or a worker might take this reaction. Especially when “Ace Ventura” and “Old School” were placed in the “Love Comedy” section. This is not entirely a misguided placement,  but designating these titles as “Love Comedies” could be viewed as someone’s interpretation of “love” as an entity that crude, sophomoric, and slapstick (wait, it’s not?). Frankly, I’m not sure which culture this would be an indictment against.

Despite the perplexing organization and the fact that I couldn’t even find one Bill Murray film, it wasn’t all chaos and entropy.

The “Foreign Horror” section seemed to carry an established logical sequence throughout the cannon. I wonder if this says something about the genre, Japanese culture, or that it was simply a product of the particular shelf they were on having more empty space, allowing an employee to keep things organized effortlessly.

They also had a rather impressive collection of French and German cinema, and a collection of older classics as well.The price was hard to eat as well. Three movies, for eight days, 700 yen (about $8). As long as the returns go down smoothly and they pass the litmus tets of not accusing me of “never returning Batman” (I’m looking at you Blockbuster) I won’t have to cut up my rental card in protest.

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