Saturday, March 3, 2012


My translation channel radio. 
Recently we have been ridiculously busy at work. We are applying for money from the government to do research on disaster management and help with the yearly small disaster like situation of snow removal in Sapporo (Sapporo spends 14,000,000,000 yen per year on snow removal).

On Monday 8 of us went to Tokyo to present a preliminary study and some other stuff we already did, in the hope of getting funding for 3 or 4 years. With no funding, I will likely be fired so there is some motivation to put in long hours.

Stuff that I had done was shown on a screen
At the Tokyo meeting there were also quite many foreigners (foreign professors from relevant research fields come to help evaluate things etc.) so there were interpreters present. Even I was given a radio where you could here all the Japanese talks simultaneously translated to English. Though it was difficult to understand that English and more than half the information was lost... I realize that interpreting real time must be difficult, but I think they had interpreters who did not actually know anything about this research field, so they had no idea how to translate all the technical terms.

Anyway, our Tokyo trip was horrible. I got up at 6 A.M. and had to rush to the airport, rush from the airport in Tokyo to the meeting (no time for lunch), sit in a meeting and do nothing, then rush back to the airport and just about catch the last flight home, and got back home at around 23:30. As far as I understand, our professor who was the only one to talk at the meeting, could have done everything by himself, but maybe the rest of us were there just in case we were needed.

Best of all, the next day the office at work called and said that I had forgotten to fill out the papers for taking Monday off. Going on business trips often counts as being on vacation (one of the reasons I do not like going on business trips), so they cut my pay by 20,000 yen per day. This time, I had checked with the office that I could indeed go to Tokyo and still get paid, if I worked my 8 hours of normal work some other time (which I did, Sunday evening/Monday morning)... but apparently "Can I go to Tokyo and still get paid?" "Yes", actually meant "Yes, you contract can technically allow that (but it still will not happen this time)" and not "Yes". I chalk it up to my lack of skills in Japanese nuances (though our Japanese secretary agreed with me that my interpretation was reasonable too).

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