Friday, March 24, 2006

... But then, maybe not

I might have stuck the proverbial foot in my mouth with this idea that things aren't so different over here. Trust me, it's pretty bloody strange.

Today, I went to one of the teaching assistants to ask her where I could find a binder. Before I continue my story, you must know this: there are no 3-ring binders in this country. They have two rings in their binders. Wait, it gets weirder. And you can't force the rings open on a 2-ring by circumventing the redundant lever found on the outer edge of a 3-ring one and pulling on the rings. Oh no, my friend, here, the level plays an integral part and must be used.

See, I should have never said that. You'll never come over here for a visit now. What, you say, no 3-ring binders? British heathens! Neanderthals!

So when I asked for a binder, she gave me a plastic book binder, cos on top of all the unnecessary structural differences, I guess they don't call these things binders either. I wasn't sure how to clarify my request -- I mean this is a basic thing, y'know. Like water. "Uuuuhhh... uuuuhh. You know, uuuuhhh... with the... with the rings?" I said. Ah! She took me in to a cupboard with loads of them, but the were all too small. "A bigger one?" There was an A3-sized one (one that would hold a sheet of paper double the size of a regular sheet -- why you would need one of them, I have no idea). "Eh... no. Maybe... maybe, uh... thicker?" Oh, so she takes me to another set of binders. Man, I was back in Japan and sadly trying to speak the Nihonjin. Eh-to...

I met Trondell's dad last night at Parents' Night for the first time. As he was leaving our mercifully short meeting, I said, "It's been nice to meet you. I think all the other times it's just been Trondell's mum." He nodded and said, "Yes. Well, we've just broke up, so I thought I might come by to finally meet you... "

Eh? What is this? Broken up? I didn't get it. Why was Trondell's dad telling me this? To warn me about his son's future behaviour? Because he himself was upset about the break up of his marriage? Well, he was hardly broken up about the whole thing. In fact, he seemed content enough with the concept, so any condolences could be inappropriate. Plus he was British, he would hate that and would sneer, undoubtedly. But what the hell was he doing telling me such a heavy thing on the way out of the door? Is that what people do here? "Drive safely home mum. Oh, and by the way, I've got terminal cancer. Ta!" And what about Trondell? He already had ISSUES. A divorce would push him waaaaayyy over the edge...

"... and I won't go back until the 18th," Trondell's father continued. Wait a minute, what? "From school?" he prompted. "I don't have to go back until April 18th." Then I remembered he was a teacher. And his school had just dismissed -- broken up -- for their Easter holiday.

To be continued...

6 Comments:

Blogger svetlana said...

oh yeah... been through this one, earlier on. binders and folders interchangeable. i pulled my hair out all the time over it. i wanted to smack folders over the tops of people's heads.

Friday, 24 March 2006 at 20:55:00 GMT  
Anonymous Amah said...

I get this here also. People don't call 3-ring binders "binders", they call them "folders"

Friday, 24 March 2006 at 22:44:00 GMT  
Blogger Autumn said...

I've turned too British. I'm not even sure when I am speaking an American or British word. I'm not sure how to say 'herb' correctly anymore.

Sunday, 26 March 2006 at 20:19:00 BST  
Anonymous a.t.w. said...

you had me taken in for with the 'broken up' thingie.

heh heh about the 2-ring binders w/ a lever...this comes from you being about to shop at the bx, yo. in japan you have that little lever thingie. remember the lovely smooth [EXPENSIVE] small notebook paper we had with the zillion square holes? way too expensive (200 yen for one little pak) but so far superior...more holes made sense. but i do remember the agony of trying to figure out what to do with my recycled american paper you would give me...i didn't have a binder it would fit in! man, what happened to that recycled paper? i thought it was better for pen-writing than the white stuff. guess not enough kids were buying it...

and yes... i still say 'Herb' 50% of the time and get made fun of. poor dear.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006 at 05:47:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

Yeh, I missed recycled lined paper. Tis a good thing. Now that I think of it, y'all did have some funky paper products, those of us living off-base. I did like it, but the British don't have the class when it comes to really cool paper products like the Japanese. Nihonjin ichiban!

Tuesday, 28 March 2006 at 08:11:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

Wait a minute... I ALWAYS called it a three-ring binder, even in the US!

Wednesday, 29 March 2006 at 17:34:00 BST  

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