Last week, I requested two extra vacation days to extend my hilarious joke of a Spring "break" to five days. What started as only a single piece of paper, turned into a weeklong ordeal involving permission across multiple departments, multiple signature stamps, and multiple head bashing sessions into my desk. When they couldn't possibly find any more glaring omissions or punctuation errors on my request form, the principal decided that my reason for the request ("vacation time") was too specific, and should be changed as so not to invoke jealousy in the other teachers who voluntarily work 60 hour weeks with no overtime, and minimal vacation.
Ah, all my bullshit pet-peeves make so much more sense now:
* Employees are encouraged to stay as late as possible, because leaving the office before 6:00 might make others jealous of your wildly exciting personal life.
* It's considered extremely rude to walk and eat at the same time. I can only assume this is because exhibiting the graceful coordination required to eat and walk at the same time is a vulgar display of power, that would make anyone jealous.
Strangely enough, walking and drinking alcohol at the same time is not considered to rude, because no one will ever be jealous of the guy puking his brains out into a station garbage bin.
* Males must never take their shirts off in public, regardless of physical activity or heat index. This is obviously to keep Japanese women from becoming too jealous of the opposite sex's breast size.
* Despite being culturally accepted in other Asian countries, belching in Japan is considered a gross and foul offence. Because god forbid you enjoyed supper more than the person sitting next to you.
* Rather than to minimize embarrassment (contrary to popular belief), pharmaceutical or hygienic items must always be wrapped, then carefully bagged at the checkout. An educated assumption says that this must be to keep onlookers from being jealous for how often you must shower/do laundry/shave armpits/treat hemorrhoids/have sex/clip toenails/wipe ass.
Whelp, it's been a long year. This 'Japan' thing makes me tired and unjustly irritated. Makes all of us tired in ways we couldn't imagine--and rightfully so. Glad to be getting off this island for a few days.
Oh yeah, go buy the new Counting Crows album.