JANE: Thanks for helping me out with this, Joe.
JOE: Just doing what I can to help out.
JANE: I can’t believe it. All I have to do is get through this job interview, and I’ll be teaching English in Japan.
JOE: Yup, you will.
JANE: But there’s one thing I don’t understand.
JOE: What’s that?
JANE: Well, I’ll be working for the APEX Corporation.
JANE: And when you taught English, you worked for APEX.
JANE: And you say nothing but bad things about them.
JANE: So how come you haven’t done anything to stop me?
JOE: (sigh) Look, this is a sad truth of the corporate world. No matter where you go or what you do, you’re going to hear fairy tales and horror stories about every company. My story with APEX, well, that’s a horror story. I still think the company screwed me over. My best friend, though, he also worked for APEX, and his story is very much a fairy tale. The company bent over backwards to accommodate him and did everything to get him to stay.
JANE: What are you getting at?
JOE: Well, my point is that everyone’s experience with a company is different. I don’t know if you’re going to live a fairy tale or a horror story. You just have to smile, do the best you can, and hope that the company people you work for like what they see.
JANE: So what happened to you may not happen to me.
JOE: Exactly. So, if you want to do this, I’ll do whatever I can to help you.
JANE: Well, thank you, then. That’s very mature.
JOE: Well, I’m still trying. Anyway, your interview’s in half-an-hour, so you’d better leave now if you want to get their on time.
JANE: You’re right. Where’s my keys?
JOE: Just wait, though. I’ve got two very important pieces of advice for you.
JOE: In the interview, they’re going to ask you two questions. I know the answers you must give to get the most out of the company, and the most out of your time in Japan.
JANE: Dude! I’m all ears. What should I say?
JOE: OK. #1. They’re going to ask if there’s anywhere in the country you’d prefer to go. What you should do is get as far from Tokyo as you can!
JOE: Don’t get me wrong. Tokyo is a wonderful city. You must try your hardest to go visit it when you’re there. But you don’t want to live there.
JOE: Well, the Japanese are a hard-working lot. And with Tokyo being the capital, and one of the world’s largest cities and all that, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle. That leads for a lot of stressed out people. What I discovered was, the farther you are from Tokyo, the more laid-back the country gets.
JOE: Yup. That best friend of mine? He was up north in Hokkaido. He has nothing but great stories about what a laid-back and relaxed city Sapporo is. And every major guidebook says pretty much the same thing about the southern regions; Hiroshima, Okinawa and all that. So, avoid the stress! Don’t live in Tokyo!
JANE: Well, where would you recommend? Hokkaido or Okinawa?
JOE: Depends on you. Go to Hokkaido if you want to spend your days off on the ski slopes. Okinawa if you want the whole “endless summer” thing.
JANE: Right. OK. Get away from Tokyo. What’s the second question?
JOE: Well, you’ve already read the company literature. For gaijin like us, there’s two kinds of work weeks: Monday to Friday and Tuesday to Saturday.
JANE: Yeah, so?
JOE: When they ask you your preferences, you want a Monday to Friday work week.
JANE: Why? What’s the difference?
JOE: Three differences. Number one. Monday is the slowest day of the week. You won’t have to teach a lot of classes, not a lot prospective students come in, and a lot of people cancel. You can get all your prep work done for the week, and spend the next four days chilling.
JOE: And that leads into the second difference. Conversely, Saturday is the busiest day. That’s when everyone who cancelled throughout the week comes in to catch up, there’s a constant stream of prospective students coming in and out; it’s a madhouse! By working Monday to Friday, you avoid all that.
JANE: Sweet! What’s the third one?
JOE: The vast majority of Japanese holidays fall on Mondays. A Monday to Friday work week means….
JANE: More long weekends.
JANE: Gotcha. I want to work far from Tokyo, and Mondays to Fridays.
JOE: Exactly. Do that and you’ll have a lot more fun.
JANE: Excellent. Well, here’s my keys. I’m off!
JOE: Go get ‘em, tigress.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS FADING OFF, CAR DRIVING OFF.
JOE: (sigh) She’s got no friggin’ clue.