最終日 saishuubi—last day

I finished work last week. After a year working for Osaka Gas, Thursday was my last day in the office.

I wasn’t the only one leaving. April 1st is the start of a new working year in Japan, and lots of people are reassigned to work in different areas, some are redeployed overseas, and a new batch of 新入社員 shin nyuu shain (new employees) arrives to commence their training. It’s a very busy time, with everyone working hard to finish up what they were doing and to hand over to their successor.

Nonetheless, during my last days there were several events to mark my departure, and I was overwhelmed with the kindness and goodwill of my colleagues.

On Friday evening I had my official 送別会 soubetsukai—farewell party. This was a catered affair after work in a private room of the ガスビル食堂 Gas Biru Shokudou.

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The food was top-quality and delicious and our 部長 buchou—section manager made a very nice speech, in which he jokingly referred to me as a very “aggressive” karaoke player! Then it was my turn to make a speech. I had prepared a speech with some carefully-chosen words but at the last minute I decided to leave it in my pocket and just speak from the heart.

After that, most people had to go back to work, and I went on with my team to karaoke.

 

On Wednesday (my second last day) I delivered a presentation about my experiences in Japan, my observations about the working culture and how it differs from what I am used to, what they do well, and my suggestions or recommendations for what they might do differently. This is not as arrogant as it may sound; it is what I was asked to do, and indeed part of the reason I was invited to work there at all is to provide an “outside” perspective. I had put a lot of thought into the presentation and it was very well received.

Wednesday was also the last ” Dara’s lunchtime English lesson”. I have been teaching my colleagues English at lunchtimes on Tuesday and Wednesday every week since last June. I had no prior experience teaching English, but I planned and prepared my classes carefully and came to really enjoy the experience. To mark the end of the English classes, I invited my students to join me for a “special English lesson” at Murphy’s Irish Bar in Shinsaibashi on Wednesday evening.

Murphy’s is the original Irish bar in Osaka, having been around for over 12 years. The owner, Mick, is very nice and friendly. He knew my sister at school and had been taught by my mother, so we had a good chat.

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There was a band playing traditional Irish music in the bar, playing pipes, fiddle, box and whistle. The music was very good, although some of my colleagues, unfamiliar with the sound of the pipes, asked me whether the music had started or whether they were still tuning up!  The musicians are all Japanese, but two of them had been at the Willie Clancy festival in Miltown Malbay and one of them had learned fiddle from Tommy Peoples (like Kenji, from Knit).

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We drank Guinness and Kilkenny beer, and Irish whiskey, and ate excellent fish and chips, sausages and mash, shepherd’s pie and other pub food. It was a very enjoyable and informal evening out (becoming steadily more informal as the evening progressed).

 

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My students: Masato, Satomi, Seitarou and Ryota.

 

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More students: Ken M, Ken S, ShinoP

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Takimoto-san, Ken M, Ken S and ShinoP.

 

 

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And the whole gang, including Meg-san who was not one of my students but organised the whole thing.

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11 thoughts on “最終日 saishuubi—last day

    1. “Bittersweet” is exactly the right word. I felt sad to leave all my friends at Osaka Gas, and to end this chapter of my life. But it is time to move on, and the next few months will be an exciting time too.

    1. Next destination is home to Ireland. I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to live outside Ireland again any time soon, but you never know. Anyway, this past year has been a wonderful and precious opportunity, and I honestly feel I’ve made the most of it.

      1. I hope you will continue to blog because your perspective will be different. You may view life in Ireland through the view point of a Japanese visitor while you are readjusting. I look forward to reading your next adventure. Good luck with packing and moving. How are you taking your dog with you? Is a long flight.

  1. “steadily more informal as the evening wore on” – ain’t that just the best? ;D

    If it’s not too personal, I’ll echo the others in asking what’s next for you. More Japan? Elsewhere??

    1. I will be in Japan for another month. Which is worth more than a month in a way, since I don’t have to go to work. Then after that, it’s back to “normal” life in Ireland. I expect to miss living in Japan. But we’ll be busy finding a new place to live, settling into our new life, starting a (possibly) new job. And while my Japanese still isn’t great, it’s a lot better than when I arrived!

      1. Ah, I see! Good times. Well, I’m just sorry I discovered your blog so late into its life, though I will be archive bingeing it at some point. Best of luck in Ireland!

  2. @whisksandchopsticks: Yes, it’s a long flight back to Ireland and it is somewhat complicated to bring the dogs. We were able to bring them over here as checked luggage with Lufthansa (with an overnight stopover in Frankfurt). On the way back, the current plan is to fly them to Paris as luggage with Air France and then onward from there as cargo to Dublin.

    @Rudeboy: Thanks! I will enjoy catching up on your blog too.

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