Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Messy Process of Leaving

I mentioned before that I wasn't sure what was going on with my flights because the flight from the nearby Kansai airport was more expensive than the one from Narita airport, but that I wouldn't be able to make it to Narita on the same day because there's no flight that will get me there early enough from Tokushima. I asked if it was possible for the prefecture to pay for a night at a hotel, since it was for the sake of keeping it cheap for them that I said I would do the Tokyo flight. After what seemed like a begrudging and highly conditional yes, I tried to get another estimate for the whole journey from another travel agent, only to spend half an hour there and have them tell me they couldn't tell me the price for the domestic portion of the trip, since they only dealt in international flights. Why they couldn't have told me that when I asked for the full price when I first sat down, I have no idea.

Anyway, the school wants this estimate as a basis when they have some kind of budget meeting. They've told me it's not good if the estimate price differs from the final price, despite the fact that flight prices change all the time in my experience. I handed in the travel agent's estimate for the international flight, and told them to add another thirty to forty thousand yen to include the hotel and domestic flight. This wasn't good enough for them, so I had to find a travel agent who would give me a full estimate.

I went to JTB, another travel agent, yesterday on my way home from school to explain the situation. Again it took half an hour. Honestly, I don't know why people use travel agents at all these days when you can book flights in five minutes on the interwebs. Anyway, the international flight price that came back was pretty much the same, and again I wasn't able to receive a proper printout estimate sheet for all parts of the journey. So I got him to write the other parts on the international estimate sheet and hoped that would be good enough for the school. I gave it to my supervisor at Tokusho on the way home, who seemed satisfied with it, but really it's the office that has to decide if it's okay.

While I was at Tokusho, the head of English、Mrs Innerfield told me they were planning to have a farewell party for me during exam week. I was already asked about this at Kagikou, though they want to do it as a lunch thing during the school day. Apparently the Tokusho one will be a proper evening affair, so I don't have to worry about clashes, though I think I'd rather have them on two separate days. Mrs Innerfield also told me the date of the final school staff party that she, as a member of the party-organising-committee, was in charge of. It was the 16th of July, which is around the time I've been thinking of going Kanto for a pre-departure holiday. Some of the other ALTs are going to Tokyo Disney Sea on that day, and I was interesting in going too. I told her I would let her know if I could make it, and she instantly seemed slightly downcast, or even surprised. I wondered if she thought it was natural I would be making it to this, as my final chance to join in a big staff party (and I don't have to pay for these ones since I pay towards the teacher's club every month). I suddenly got the impression that I'd committed the kind of etiquette faux pas I've been so deft at sidestepping for the last three years. She was quite silent as I blabbed on about how I wasn't sure what my plans were so maybe I could make it.

I'm pretty sure I will be going to the party. It will be my last chance to talk to a lot of these people, and it might be offensive if I don't show up. I don't want to do the Japanese equivalent of mooning them as I disappear into the distance.

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