PTA, SOS and other Acronyms

You know how when no one in a group wants to do a certain task and so everyone points a finger to nominate someone else?

Well, that kinda happened to me, unawares.

Several months before the end of the school year, I realized that I had suddenly been nominated to be the next contact person for the group– the renrakuin. They had some kind of good reasoning as to why it should be me. I don’t exactly recall, but I do think that it boils down to the fact that the fingers somehow got pointed at me.

They may end up regretting that decision.

Anyway, Japanese PTA is a serious kinda…. hard-core momming job here in Japan.

Now, what exactly does the PTA do? Well, that’s a good question.

I’ve attempted to find out exactly how it functions and what it does, and I’ve received exactly ZERO exact answers from the many people I’ve asked– some of whom have experience!! It’s required of all parents, but… no one seemed to be able to tell me what is going on.. it was just… something that required a ton of difficult work. All I ever got were packets of information that I supposed lent to the transparency of its undertakings… but had no real relevance for people.

I like to describe it as an enormous and revered building with all kinds of processes going on inside. There are no windows and no doors, but once you somehow make it in, you’re like a professional.

I’ve been walking around the building for a few years now trying to figure it out, with no success.

But, somehow, the door found me.

I was in.

So, I had my first introductory meeting a few weeks ago, where I’d find out what all the job entailed.

I entered the meeting with one goal: competence.

Not excellence. No lofty goals for me. I just wanted to do my job without having to raise the SOS flag.

I sat quietly in the meeting, and they began, and encouraged me to stop them right away if I didn’t understand anything that was going on.

Well, every foreigner knows not to do that.

I did what we all foreigners do. I listened, nodding, making educated guesses as to what was going on.

At one time, I thought we were talking about the place where the kids would meet, as compared to the place we have to put the special trash. I gave the wrong answer and got a very condescending, “Oh no, no, no, ALVARADO-SAN, we’re talking about this.”

See. THAT’s why we foreigners don’t stop meetings to clarify things.

Anyway. I came to understand that my next task would be to check with the current host about using our current trash collection spot.

A few minutes later they were talking about the events we would have to delegate to everyone, to be decided at a later date. They passed around last year’s list, which I took a picture of.

“ALVARADO-SAN, ALVARADO-SAN! That’s last year’s list. You don’t need a picture of that.”

I think they kept watching me to see if I’d make mistakes.

Red-faced, I replied that I was aware of this, it was only to be able to understand further. I needed to know who I would need to ask questions of!

So. Guys. My next post will introduce you to my run-around adventure of trash confirmation as my first PTA task on my worksheet.

Just realizing it now… I’ve posted about trash alot. See here and here for example.

Why is trash always the topic that follows us around??


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