Two great things happened at work today.
The first is that I got to play music after school. This may not seem like such a big thing, but to me it is pretty huge. I live in a smallish apartment in the center of Tokyo. Now, I don’t really need to worry about neighbors too much due to how they building is laid out and because we have parrots. If the neighbors can hear my strumming, they already hate us for having birds.
But also in this smallish apartment is a baby. Babies need sleep. More than that, they hate being woken up. My little guy already wakes up enough during the night and is exceptionally good at venting his displeasure at such times that I don’t want to risk waking him.
So, being able to linger at work and use the music room as my on little practice study is huge. I can strum and sing and no one cares. Plus, since there is rarely anyone in that side of the building at that time of day I don’t have to be too self conscious about not really being any good. And after all, practice is how you get better.
The other awesome thing about today is just sharing a laugh with a co-worker that I don get to talk with all that often. This is my fourth major workplace since moving to Japan. In almost all of them there has existed a palpable distance between myself and the other staff. Maybe it is do to language and/or culture, but I also feel the separation of duties has always been a factor.
Like in many workplaces, my work is really only with those sharing similar duties. The need for interaction with other staff can be quite limited. In the past this has meant that in an office of forty souls, only two would regularly communicate with me. The others, well it varied from the occasional friendliness around the coffee pot before running back to our desks and schedules and on the low end was barely concealed feeling that speaking to me would be more trouble than any possible worth.
But my current workspace has a much more open and friendly vibe to it. Now, there is still some separation of work. That is natural. The difference is what happens when opportunity presents itself. Today a ran into another teacher by the new fish tanks. The students had already gone home. I’m sure he had work that needed to get done. Instead we spent several minutes just joking with each other about the fish.
It was a few minutes of just casual conversation and shared laughter. But it meant a lot.
Just two reasons today has been a good day.