So this is a bit of a rant, so I’ll apologize in advance.
When I first came to Japan, I really wanted to trust everyone. My first trip to Japan instilled such an awe-inspiring trust in Japan with how helpful everyone was, I had no other expectation.
But after getting here and getting “ripped off” at some snack bars and some surprise charges here and there, I’ve sadly restricted how much trust I’ve been giving people. One person that kind of bothered me lately was my old senpai.
For those unaware, a senpai is supposed to be like your big brother. A senpai is usually the senior most person in an area or group of people, but charisma can have an affect on it. It’s not exactly a voted-in position, but more of a consensus of the whole. So a charming person of lesser experience can easily become senpai over an senior-ranked ogre. The biggest advantage of the senpai-kouhai relationship is that you’re supposed to trust each other. The senpai’s job is to help you become accustomed to your new area or field.
My senpai, Don, was a good guy, but there were a couple things about him that disturbed me as I got to know him. This views of women were disrespectful. He had a bit of elitism of his hometown (i mean, be proud of your roots, but realize that there are other good roots out there too). However, he was also a really good teacher. I could see it in how he acted in day to day situations.
I supposed what really vexed me was the last few events that happened before he left. Don was leaving the country and needed to clean up his apartment. Understandably, he wanted to sell some of his things to recoup his losses. What ended up happening though was a friend and I felt like we were hoodwinked into more than we bargained for.
The first thing was when I was able to purchase some of things. I got some of the stuff home and then things started to go sour. The vacuum cleaner head didn’t work/agitate (Oh, but don’t worry, I don’t really need it… >;.<;’ ). The bicycle tools were missing. The bike helmet he gave me was broken. The zipper on the sleeping bag I got was also broke. Blah!
When Don was on his last couple of days here, he invited my coworker friend and I to come over and clear out anything he had left. To us it sounded like he wanted us to take things away from his apartment, but when we got there he tacked on a price tag to anything we picked up that wasn’t worth more than a few hundred yen. WTH? You’re still picking money out of us knowing well enough that our salary and positions are considerably less compensated? Now I wasn’t expecting him to give us everything for free, but it was very misleading to tell to come get what we want and then say “Oh, that’s worth X yen”. I should have just said “Fudge it” and dropped his stuff on the floor, but I wanted to be nicer than that.
So now Don is gone. My coworker and I talked about it a couple weeks ago and we’re in agreement that he kinda wheeled and dealed us. We made a pact right there to just give our stuff to whoever stays longer in Japan. That’s just the Japan thing to do. 🙂
Now my new goal in Japan is to surpass his legacy. I want the name ‘Tito’ to become synonymous with ‘Tohoku’ (the region where I live). I will take the name ‘Don’, stride over it and leave the remains behind in the trash. I will become great!