I am concerned only about the moronic Japanese laws. To volunteer there you need a working visa. UK and US citizens must have a special volunteer work visa. Two weeks ago tons of material couldn't be delivered to the damaged area because foreign volunteers were not allowed to use fork lifts in Japan. You need a special habilitation, Japanese of course. Japanese workers were too busy somwhere else. An international team of medical doctors was not allowed to give help, because they didn't have Japanese medical licenses and they could perform only basical stuff, less than nurses (no offence meant for nurses, to be sure!). Little things that just drive you insane.
Why do I go there if it pisses me of so much? I don't go there to help the government. I don't go there because I love the Japan with the false smile and the pretty lie and the bureaucracy from another galaxy. I hate that shit. But there are not so many smiling faces in Tohoku these days. I know that a fucking smiling sararyman, working for the government in his nice office, can be so stupidly and stubbornly proud of his country, that he can forbid foreigners to help. But a man, that has lost his smile with his home and maybe with his beloved ones, will he refuse the help given? I go there because of this man. And that woman, too. There's many of them. I can help some. And even if I can help just one... well, even that will be enough.
Oh yes, there was sort of funny episode with WWOOF Japan... that pissed me of. As all current and ex members of WWOOF Japan I received their mail, concerning the earthquake with a call for help. Anybody near, please help and blah blah many hosts have their homes in ruins so they cant accept nobody and so on but they are all alive and on our website there is a list of hosts that can still accept willing workers and need your help blah blah. I tought That's so great and it comes in the right time! so I mailed to WWOOF Japan, asking for the list of the folks in need of help - their website is accesible only to members that paid the annual 5000 yen fee. Next day I received their answer, that my warm mail made them happy and for this they will give me a 500 yen discount for the annual membership. My reply was polite as ever: Go fuck yourself.
Back to the present, on some lighter note. In the last two days we did some blueberry planting. So I was mixing the peat moss with rice husk (ten shovels of moss, three shovels of husk) and the three years old bushes were planted in that mixture. Not exactly, as I found later. The first day my job was just mixing the stuff, but the second day I started to carry it all across the farm to help with the actual planting. And there I had just to mix the mixture, already done, with rice husk (ten shovels of mixture, three shovels of husk). Huh? Ehm, may I ask why is it mixed two times? Because it is easier so. Could be (in fact, it's not), but it's time consuming! I bit my tongue before saying it. Damn, did you forget you're in Asia? It doesnt matter the ammount of work done, but the time it takes you to do it. The longer, the better. Even so I started doing it my way, but without saying a word and only when nobody saw me. We finished too early. So I could learn some hanja characters. Chae Hak asked me if I know any. I started laughing and he laughed too, because he guessed which one I already now: one, two and three. Respectively 一 (일), 二 (이) and 三(삼). Then he told me that the Chinese letter for mountain literally means three peaks (the day before we were talking about Slovene mountains and Triglav) and it looks like 山 (산). And we started a guessing game. What is this? 木 (나무) Man? No, it's wood, don't you see that it looks like a tree! And this? 林 (임) Maybe two trees? No, it's a forest! And also my family name, even if now is pronounced differently. OK, next, what resembles this? 水 (물) Hmm... I have no idea. It's water, it looks just like a stream! The hard part was finding out how to write it on the computer. I found out. No copy/paste from the web involved, just hit F9 and hangul blocks will be converted to hanja.
Yesterday I was cooking again for all the family. Instead of learning how to cook some Korean dishes it always turns out that I teach how to cook spaghetti. Or how to make stuffed mushrooms.
It rained all day long, so no work. Spent most of the afternoon at the library and finally, as if he sensed that it's my last day, the network admin approached me. And asked me what I'm doing. It was hard not to burst laughing out loud, but I controlled myself and said that I'm just checking my mail. Yes, I see that, but how are you doing it? I look at him with an innocent face, pretending that I have no idea what is he talking about.
The story is that to use the computer in the library you have to log in through an interface that requires your ID number and of course I don't have one because I'm not a Korean citizen (yet). So the first time at the library I spent some time finding a way to quit that stupid application and use the computer and found out that just running it in safe mode does the trick. But then in the admin's view there was a computer virtually missing. Virtually yes, but in real life mode he could see that the missing computer is still running and a foreigner is happily surfing the web. Not only that, I installed the Chrome browser and also uTorrent. Next time I came to the library with my usb key with a live session Ubuntu system on it and I ran the computer from the USB (the BIOS was not protected; even if it was, but so was faster). Again, a computer is missing from the network, a happy foreigner is using it and the GUI looks so strange... I noticed the guy kept walking in the room and stopping just behind me, peeking over my shoulder but I pretended not to see him. Few times he wanted to say - or, more probably, ask - me something, but he never did. I started to pity the poor fellow. But what could I say him? Dude, you suck and this protection sucks, I'm no hacker, just a power user and I can do whatever I want with your computers. Does it sound nice? Of course not, so I kept my silence as he kept his. Until yesterday. I finally explained him that I run a live session of Linux and in this way I need no registration. He didn't get it. I pointed at the USB, closed all the windows and tried to show him that I'm using a different OS. He didn't get it. I rebooted the computer without the USB (skipped the safe mode option) and got stuck with that stupid login interface. He got this. Another reboot, with USB in this time (I didn't want to do it the first time to show him that his precious XP were still installed on the PC) and he looked at me in horror as the Linux session was loading itself. He just didn't get it. He kept asking how it was done. I didn't feel any pity more. How can he be pretending to know anything about his job? I almost said him that he sucks. But I felt that something else could be much more appropriate. I looked at him with a very very evil grin and almost whispered It's magic! And shut down the computer with a terminal command. The look on his face - priceless!