I hate to admit it, but this would be my last summer vacation as a university student, and to a certain degree of possibility, my last summer vacation in Japan. The future beyond graduation is still murky with uncertainty and apprehension; no one, including myself, knows what awaits me. Should I be sad, knowing that my privilege as a student ends in a semester’s time, or should I be happy that the tentacles of restrictions holding a student back will be released in due time? It is a common saying, in Japan at least, that a college student has all the time in the world but no money, whereas a working adult devotes all his time earning money, leaving him with no time to spend them.

So, how am I going to spend my last summer vacation as a student, someone with all the time in the world but forever struggling with the money problem? Before I know it, my summer vacation began with a baito (part time job in Japanese) marathon week. For one whole week of seven days, I’m going to work for more than 60 hours with two jobs, making it close to 10 hours per day!! Two more days till the end of this marathon week, after which more exciting plans await me!

I currently work at a Singapore restaurant, and just for this week of the holidays, I’m working at a juku for international school students too. In the morning, I teach a group of 4 extremely cute kids. In the afternoon, another staff and I would bring 10 odd kids to the pool or the park. Thereafter I would teach a high school student math.  At my part time job yesterday I had to bring 11 kids, ranging from 3 years old to 11 years old, to Sazae-san Museum, all by myself. It was pretty hard controlling the kids but actually amusing watching the kids commanding each other in fluent English and Japanese.

Youngwoo and Yune

This is the youngest kid, 3-year-old Taiga
And all the kids together!

I met this “German” couple at the restaurant a few days ago. They are not actually a German couple. Well, the man is German, but the lady is a Japanese who has lived in Germany for a few years and speaks fluent German. I met them for the first time last month or so. They spoke in English/ Japanese at first so I didn’t know they spoke German until later on. I regretted not having practised my German with them, so when they left the restaurant, I bade them farewell with an auf wiedersehen. They turned back in surprise and we exchanged a few lines, albeit in English before they left.

The second time they visited, the lady recognized me as she smiled at me when entering the restaurant. This time I was determined to practise my poor German with them, so I went forth to take orders from them. The German guy looked at the menu, then at me, and asked, “auf Deutsch?” , meaning “(Can I take my orders) in German?” Na klar, I said, as they laughed. Each time the dishes were ready, I took the initiative and brought to them, grabbing the chance to say a few lines of random German, much to their amusement.

Was mochten Sie trinken? Das ist Schweinebraten. Was sagen Sie das plat auf Deutsch?

It is all these little conversations, no matter how simple they are; all these people I meet, no matter how superficial our relationships are, that give me the motivation to study harder (though I have not been touching my books since school ended).

We have a washer in the kitchen from Mexico too. When we first met, for some reason, he refused to talk to me in spanish, but a few days ago, he suddenly spoke to me in Spanish, much to my delight. We couldnt talk too much as it was pretty busy, but we managed to exchange a few lines.

Tienes algunos planes para el verano? Voy a Nagoya. Para viajar? No, mi esposa vive allá. Estoy casado. Oh, con una mujer japonesa? No lo sabía.

And so, after the end of the baito marathon week, I will be going travelling again! To the last three prefectures of Japan! Hurray! Time to go for work now. I shall update again another time!