Jen and I are preparing to take a week off to head to Okayama, Matsue, Shimonoseki, and finally Hiroshima where a friend of ours is getting married. We’re very excited about the trip — it’s been a really hectic couple of weeks at work, with both of us having professional visitors in town. This area of Japan is supposed to be beautiful with great oysters, so that’s particularly exciting. Those train tickets are expensive though! The shinkansen is the best way to get around Japan, but yikes! On the upside, it’s possible to get almost everywhere by train in Japan, as opposed to the US where train access is limited, still quite expensive, and slow. We’ll be off-line while we’re away (we need a bit of an internet vacation), but we’ll post after! Now I just need to figure out how to fit 8 days of clothes and toiletries into a shinkansen-friendly-mini-suitcase!
This morning I went in early for a meeting with one of my visitors, and after discussing work, she turned to me and asked if my parents work at the embassy. Then she wondered how a twenty year old gets a job here. I will admit, I looked at her blankly for a moment before realizing she thought I was too young to drink. I’ve gotten this a couple times recently, although I’d written it off as Japanese-American confusion… I can’t tell how old the Japanese folks are either. But this woman is an American. I realize many women would be flattered, but I find it annoying that their perceptions of my age impact whether they think I can be an experienced professional in my own right. This lady really wasn’t taking a hint though — when I commented that I was a PhD candidate and married she just said “oh, you’re so young to be so accomplished!” I figure it’s my job to make a good impression and not embarrass my boss or his guest, so I just changed the subject. But seriously? Anyway, in all other ways she was very nice, and is happy with my work. We had another visitor last week who was also very flattering about my work, so aside from misplacing ten years everything is going well.