Japan Guide Ch. 01byking_wesley©
*Mary has just moved to Japan for her JYA year and it's not long before she receives an offer she can't refuse. I hope you all enjoy and any feedback you may have is more than welcome. Cheers.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Mary had always dreamed of this day. Ever since she saw her first anime film aged just nine she knew she wanted to be in Japan; and now, after years of studying and planning here she was, getting off the plane in Sapporo airport for her exchange year abroad. At 21 years of age her love affair with all things Japanese was entering its twelfth year. Naturally she had chosen Japanese as her university major and a solid diet of Japanese pop music and film meant she was already pretty much fluent before her first class and her passion towards her study clearly showed her to be a gifted student and by far and away top of the class. Despite knowing that she was an above average student Mary's sense of modesty kept her in check and so it was with genuine surprise that she received an offer from the Sapporo Institute of Japanese offering her a place for her JYA year.
The SIJ is an extremely selective school. It only offers 20 places a year to the top students of Japanese from around the world. In fact it is so elitist that one cannot even apply to go there you must be selected which makes the honour of receiving an offer that much greater. Mary had heard of SIJ but dismissed out of hand that she may get a call from them despite the odd rumour she (and the rest of the uni) had heard. She knew that the school was notoriously sexist and that although it had ceased being an all-male institution three years ago, in that time only three women had ever been granted a place. However once the invite was in her hand she knew there was nowhere else she would rather go and so Sapporo it would be. Entering the arrivals lounge she felt her heart pound. Finally, after years of dreaming, she was in Japan and she knew she was gonna have the time of her life.
AN OFFER TOO GOOD TO REFUSE
Due to how much it was going to cost Mary to live in Japan she had spent all of her holidays working as she knew it was unlikely she would have the luxury of part time work whilst she was studying. Therefore she decided to fly to Japan the day before classes start so that she could earn as much as possible before hand and be as financially comfortable as possible. Let's face it she was going to spend ten months there so an extra week in the long term was neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things.
She spent her first evening just basically settling into her accommodation. It was a small cramped room and had none of the style and grace you would expect a Japanese residence to have but it was all she could afford. Besides what she saved on rent she could be spent on small luxuries here and there. Mary prided herself on her optimism and wasn't going to let a little thing like this ruin her dream. She wanted to go out and see the city but knew she had class in the morning so reluctantly decided to turn in for the night. Tomorrow would be the start of the rest of her life.
The next morning she woke up bright and early in defiance of her jet lag. It was her first day at SIJ and she was determined not to let herself down. She decided to dress smart casual. A just below knee length black skirt and matching top which played down her average sized breasts (she didn't want to look too feminine when she knew she was going to be probably the only girl there), She decided not to wear her jet black shoulder length hair up but just let it flow naturally around her. She also chose a modest black heel (just one or two inches). Looking at herself in the mirror she felt she'd got it just right, Smart but not trying too hard, Not too feminine but at the same time not boyish, a perfect balance. Picking up her bag she left the flat and went in search of a taxi. She arrived at the SIJ ten minutes early and was one of the first to class, she chose the a seat in the middle row (not too far away to seem a trouble maker, not too close to seem overeager). Pretty soon the class was full; there were about twenty students in total mostly British and American, There was one Chinese guy and a couple of Europeans as well. As she had suspected she was the only girl. The teacher arrived through the door and the lesson began.
When the lesson was over Mary was amazed how easy it had been. She knew her Japanese was good but she had expected to be at best average in a class of what was meant to be the best students in the world. The frustrated looks of some of her classmates told her that her success in class had not gone down well ("at least they've already mastered the chauvinistic culture" she thought to herself with a smile). By the end of the day she was ready to go out and see the city when the sensei asked her to wait behind after class. Once the classroom had emptied he motioned for Mary to take a seat:
"Mary-san, you did very well today. The staff at SIJ are most impressed with you; it is not often you see an American girl so easily master our beautiful language"
"Arigato sensei" Mary replied feeling quite flattered.
"In fact" the sensei continued, "We feel that the teaching here at SIJ is not at the standard you need to really progress, therefore we would like to offer you a special placement"
"What do you mean 'special placement'" Mary asked curiously, this is the best Japanese school in the country.
"Yes it is" confirmed the sensei, "but each year we offer one student the chance of a work placement at the MDKN corp. Have you heard of MDKN?"
"No I haven't but I saw their offices in the taxi, what do they do?"
"You will find it's more a case of what don't they do? Pretty much every business in the country is connected to MKDN. The company basically runs Japan and you are being given a stepping stone into this company. It is a great opportunity for you"
"But what about my studies?"
"MKDN will take care of that, we have an agreement so that they are responsible for your course for this year. You will get only the best teachers, even better than here. You will get luxury accommodation, access to all their recreational facilities – all paid for by MKDN."
"I don't understand, what's in it for them?"
"MKDN cares greatly about Japan and Japanese culture; it is a very traditional company and so employs very few foreigners. However in these modern times it is impossible to have an all Japanese workforce and so MKDN employs a policy of having only the best speakers of Japanese on it's workforce, Their intention is to train the most gifted students of Japanese and make life for them as enjoyable as possible so that should they decide to work in Japan they will work for MKDN. It is basically like a Sponsorship deal, they will pay for you now in the hope that you repay them by working for them once you graduate. Therefore it's in their best interests to make your life as comfortable as possible. This is a no lose situation for you. As long as you are making MKDN happy they will make sure you are happy"
Mary couldn't quite believe what she was hearing, "this sounds too good to be true, there must be a catch"
"Trust me there is no catch; an interview has been scheduled for you in an hour's time. Why not go and hear it from them? It really is in your best interests."
"In an Hour? It's so soon. Well I suppose sightseeing can wait another day and this does sound like a dream for me. I accept, where do I go?"
"They have a limo waiting for you outside the school, good luck." He stood up smiling, walking to open the door for he said "I hope I need never teach you again"
Mary laughed slightly and made her exit. "Free luxury accommodation" she thought, "top quality teaching". This MKDN company seemed like something from her dreams, "There must be a catch" she thought; "There must be". "MKDN? Why haven't I heard of them? Must be one of these Massive in Japan but nobody else has ever heard of them type places, Anyway, whoever they are. I have a feeling that MKDN are going to be the best thing that's ever happened to me."