Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Change

Spring is finally starting to poke its head around Sapporo.  Every day last week there was above-freezing temperatures, which has made the mountains of snow more like small hills.  It's gonna take a while for all the snow to be completely gone, but I'm just happy I'm no longer walking on ice to work every morning.  I never thought I'd love to see pavement so much!

This morning, it's raining for what has to be the first time in a long time.  It's washing away a lot of the dirty, grungy snow that's still lingering on.  In more southern parts of Japan, sakura (cherry blossom) season - the herald of spring - has come and gone.  It takes a while for it to get up here to Hokkaido - probably not until May (always around my birthday.  Much better than the tornadoes that would always pop up around my birthday in Texas).

For most of us, Spring is always the symbol for new beginnings.  In Japan, I think even more so.  The new school year begins in April, and businesses recruit for the new fiscal year.  It's a time of growth and change.  An exciting - and often stressful - time.

I found this short animation on the blog Spoon and Tamago, and thought it perfectly illustrates the feeling many newly graduated Japanese must feel this time of year:

Tokyo University of the Arts student Maho Yoshida beautifully illustrates all the anxieties of shu-katsu, an abbreviated term for job hunting. In the 7 and a half minute video the protagonist, which seems to be Yoshida herself, is peacefully enjoying school life when she begins to notice that her friends are behaving oddly. Before realizing it, she is suddenly swept up in the whirlpool that is, “Japanese ceremonial job hunting.”
There’s no dialogue so you don’t have to understand Japanese to appreciate this animated gem.

(I guess there is a bit of Japanese at the end.  On her phone, she receives a message that says, "Rejected". )

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