the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Monday, March 09, 2009

chain of command (立って社会)

I learned a new word this week.  It's tatte shakai (立って社会).  It means the cultural chain of command, the pecking order, the totem pole.  In Japan it's very important. 

Today, case in point: today, tomorrow and Wednesday are all final test days.   Students have tests first through fourth periods, and then they can go home for lunch and take the afternoon off.  For teachers there are usually administrative and department meetings until about 2 or 3 pm.  After the meetings are finished, the principal calls all the teacher's offices and gives them permission to go home early.

However, today the principal is at a meeting in Aomori City, and won't be back to make the call.  Apparently last week after the graduation the principal saw some teachers going home early without his permission (even though there was nothing to do and it wasn't exactly a school day).  Apparently the principal got mad about this and yelled at the teacher(s) and their supervisors.

So today, even though all the meetings were finished by 2:30, and there is nothing to do but grade tests until Friday, everyone is waiting around the end of the work day (technically 4:30).  My supervisor realizes this is BS, but he doesn't want to fight.  So today at lunch he announced that he was taking paid leave for the afternoon and he would be happy to fill out the paperwork for anyone else who would like to - two other teachers joined him. 

I find it absurd sometimes how knit-picky the pecking order is here.  Like I've said before, micro-management seems to be a desirable thing here in Japan, but I can't fathom why anyone would want it that way.


Blogger Laurie (and John) Elliot said...

When Renee says that I live in a different world (universe?) she's probably right.

Obviously a lot of men in the country - if they aren't public servants - don't have a chain of command. Perhaps this is why people seem to feel freer to express their own opinions. Sometimes in a loud voice!

I've probably seen as many fights here as I ever saw in America. Of course, I grew up in New England which is admittedly a little more reserved than other areas of the country.

I think NJ might be a more combative place... my NJ born father was a lot like Kris. (And yes, it is mendo when people fight.)

3/09/2009 9:19 PM  
Blogger Laurie (and John) Elliot said...

I meant to leave this comment on Part 2... but it will probably do for this entry as well.

3/09/2009 9:22 PM  
Blogger NB said...

"yes, it is mendo when people fight."

Let's put it this way. If your boss at work slapped you across the head for making a mistake...

Would you apologize profusely?

Or would you tell him not to hit you for such a small mistake?

3/12/2009 1:23 PM  

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