Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Wheelchairs, Trains, And Automobiles

, , , , , | Healthy Working | April 26, 2019

My parents came to visit me in Japan. On the second day of us all being together, we were walking through the hotel garden and my mom hurt her foot. She iced it as soon as we got back to our room, but an hour later she couldn’t put any weight on it. The hotel we were staying at organized a taxi for us to a local hospital that had an ER open at midnight. We got there and the doc and nurse that cared for my mom spoke English. It was midnight and they had English-speaking staff on duty!

When they wheeled my mom into the ER from the waiting room, she had an anxiety attack, so back to the empty waiting room we went for the rest of her care. In the end, she had broken her foot — her big toe really. There was nothing that could be done for that but for her to stay off it.

Yeah, right. Day two of a two-week vacation in Japan? Ha! We rented crutches for the next two weeks and borrowed the hotel wheelchairs wherever we stayed.

After getting back to the hotel, the staff there were able to organize a rental wheelchair for us for our week in Kyoto.

Before Kyoto was Hiroshima. Our hotel was basically connected to the train station by a long walkway. Dad contacted the hotel, and two employees met us at the ticket gates with a luggage trolley and a wheelchair. At the end of our stay, one pushed Mom to the station as Dad and I had the luggage. Dad used the wheelchair to get Mom up to the shinkansen waiting room and returned the empty chair to the hotel staff member.

In Kyoto, the rental company delivered the wheelchair to the door of our B&B and collected it from Kyoto station, after we wheeled Mom up to the shinkansen platform.

After returning to Tokyo from Kyoto, Mom made her way to a waiting room. I went from ticket gate to ticket gate to get a wheelchair to get her from the shinkansen waiting room to the local train line. The employee wheeled her from the waiting line to the ticket transfer gate where two local line employees met us. One pushed Mom and the other lead the way, breaking traffic. It was over 700m to get to our train and Mom would never have made it on her crutches.

At the train, Mom was asked to sit on the train seat and the ladies took the wheelchair. At our exit, another employee was there with a wheelchair. She took us to the Tokyo Monorail line where we had another employee and chair. He got Mom onto the monorail where yet again there was an employee waiting with a chair for Mom.

Japan is nowhere near as wheelchair friendly as the US. People here have smaller personal bubbles and got too close to my mom for her comfort, but the level of care my mom got from train and hotel employees was amazing.


This story is part of our Japan roundup!

Read the next Japan roundup story!

Read the Japan roundup!

It’s Good For The Boss That You Have Internal Filters

, , , | Working | March 18, 2019

(I work as an intern in the lab. One of my jobs is filtrate mud to separate clear water from solid particles. This batch’s mud is exceptionally thick and the filter paper tears easily, so I use two layers of paper per filtration, as my supervisor recommended. It means a filtration that usually takes half an hour now takes two to three hours, but it is the only way to get it done properly. The boss of the lab pops up and see me preparing the layers. He is not a great listener and thinks he is always right.)

Boss: “Why are you doing it this way? It’s going to take forever! You only need one filter paper.”

Me: “I need to use two this time or it doesn’t filter properly. [Supervisor] told me—“

Boss: “Don’t be ridiculous. Here, let me show you.”

(I internally cringe, as him doing experiments always results in me and my supervisor spending hours cleaning after him, and I just know this time is not going to be any different. But he is my boss, so I let him to it and go work on other tasks. I keep an eye on him for twenty minutes and see him struggle and keep tearing the filter paper, mud going through instead of clear water. He finally “has something urgent to do in his office,” which is my cue to clean up the huge mess. I try my best to scoop mud from the flasks and everything the boss used as quickly and efficiently as possible, so we can still analyze the sample before it dries up. Seeing the disaster, my supervisor gives up what he is doing and helps me. As we are finishing up, the boss comes back from his urgent matter. He looks at us cleaning for a little while and tell us patronizingly:)

Boss: “Yes, you see, for this batch, you should use two layers of filter or it goes everywhere! Remember it for next time.”

(He promptly exited and let us bask in his wisdom.)

Need A Worst Customer Of The Day? Hold My Beer

, , , , | Right | February 22, 2019

(It is fifteen minutes before I clock out and a few tables have just emptied, so I am cleaning up as much as possible before I leave the bar understaffed to catch the last train home. Three men are ready to order, so I drop everything to take their order of two whiskeys and a beer. They don’t ask for anything with their whiskey so I bring it to them neat and go back to cleaning up. The guy drinking beer calls me over and starts in on me angrily.)

Beer Drinker: “Is this how you serve in this place?”

Me: “Yes?”

(I don’t know what he wants but he is gesturing at the whiskey, so I assume ice.)

Beer Drinker: “This is horrible service! This is not how you serve customers! Where is the ice?”

Me: “You didn’t ask for ice, so I assumed you wanted it neat.”

Beer Drinker: “This is not how you should treat a customer! Where is the owner?! How dare you treat me like this! You are a horrible waitress! How long have you been here? You’re new. aren’t you?! You won’t be here for long…”

(He just continues on his tirade while I continue cleaning tables nearby. His friends who are actually going to drink the whiskey try to stop him but he isn’t stopping.)

Me: “If you have a problem with the service here, you are welcome to leave. I am not obligated to serve rude customers with a smile. You did not say, ‘please,’ or, ‘thank you.’ I gave you what you asked for, so if that’s still not good enough for you, then there’s the door.”

(The beer drinker at this point starts swearing at me, and his friends start to drag him away. At the door, he yells, “F*** off!” at me. Since they haven’t touched their drinks I yell back.)

Me: “Bye! Thanks for the drinks!”

(Staff got free whiskey and beer out of it.)

Japan Has Its Zombie Apocalypse Licked

, , , , | Learning | December 17, 2018

(I teach English in Japan. Near Halloween, we have special lessons teaching kids about the culture and words connected to Halloween. For this particular class, we have an assignment to draw a monster and write a paragraph to describe it, following a particular format. This student has a friendly rivalry with her brother.)

Sister: “This is my monster, Beroberobero [Brother] Zombie. He isn’t a candy. He is a zombie. He can everything lick. He can’t kill people.”

Brother: *in Japanese* “I can’t kill people? Being a zombie is no fun if you can’t kill people!”

Sister: “But you can lick things!”


This story is part of our Japan roundup!

Read the next Japan roundup story!

Read the Japan roundup!

This Sunshine Rose In The East

, , , , | Hopeless | September 28, 2018

(I am an exchange student in Japan, and I also work part time at an English school. Currently I am handing out leaflets for my school in front of a subway station. A lot of people glance at me, but very few take the leaflets, so I feel a little embarrassed. I am reading out a spiel in Japanese about our school when a little old lady comes up to me.)

Little Old Lady: “[Something in Japanese that I can’t hear because of a train passing by]… very beautiful!”

Me: *in Japanese* “I’m sorry?”

Little Old Lady: *after a little thinking, in English* “Your hair!”

Me: *in Japanese* “Oh, thank you!”

Little Old Lady: *in Japanese* “Yeah, you have a really beautiful hairstyle! How do you braid it like that?”

Me: *in Japanese* “Oh, it’s really simple…” *explains how to braid the hair*

(We end up chatting about hairstyles a little more, when I remember why I’m there in the first place.)

Me: “Oh, would you perhaps be interested in taking English classes?”

Little Old Lady: “Oh, no! I’m too old to remember all that stuff!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sure that’s not so!”

Little Old Lady: “I’m sorry for not being interested in what you’re promoting.”

Me: “No, that’s okay! Thank you!”

(She didn’t take a leaflet, but she was the best customer I had! Thank you, lady, for brightening the day of a silly, lost, foreign girl! I really wish I knew an equivalent of, “Thanks for brightening my day!” in Japanese!)


This story is part of our Japan roundup!

Read the next Japan roundup story!

Read the Japan roundup!