Me: Excuse me [Boss], where can I buy an envelope? I need to write a letter.
Boss: I think there’s one here. [He looks out an envelope and hands me one].
Me: Oh you didn’t need to do that. I can buy one.
Boss: No, no, daijobu.
[5 minutes later]
Me: Thanks for the envelope, I needed it for this letter of resignation. I’ll send you an email copy as well in 2 minutes.
Boss: Huh? Eeh?
Me: I’ll send you an email copy in 2 minutes.

* * * *

Boss: … I can accept your letter but I want to know, why do you want to leave this place?”
Me: I want to go home.
Boss: Yes, you said in Summer [2010] you didn’t like Japan but why do you want to leave?”
Me: I want to go back home to Scotland.
Boss: Is there a another reason, is it a family matter?
Me: Yeah, maybe. [long pause] I want to go home. I wrote in the letter that I’m leaving for ‘personal and private’ reasons. Please understand.
Boss: You gave [a document outlining 10 suggestions to improve our work at the company entitled ‘Future Suggestions’] to me. Is that the problem?
Me: No. [We] teachers talked about that and we came to some solutions about how to work better together – not all of them were how I imagined and I don’t agree with some of them, but I think we improved how we worked together because of them.
Boss: Why did you write that document?
Me: I wanted to improve the company. I think we did.
Boss: Yes, but is it something to do w-
Me: I want to go home! Please understand!

* * * *

Boss: …Well I guess [it can’t be helped], but the students will be let down and this company will suffer for it.
Me: Are you guilt-tripping me?!
Boss: Eh? Huh?
Me: … Ok, whatever… [sigh]… whatever… I think that the students will be just fine with any new teacher. They will only benefit from someone new to teach them. I am also leaving at the end of [the school year] so there should be no schedule or training problems. I don’t see what the problem is.
Boss: You are leaving before the end of your 2 year contract. You are breaking contract.
Me: You mean like [former colleague] did before me?
Boss: That was different.
Me: Really now (?!) Please explain.
[We then have a long, very nearly inflammatory discussion about drama I had with a colleague in the past. I won’t perpetuate that here but write it to keep the dialogue flowing.]
Boss: …So, you are breaking contract.
Me: Well, that’s interesting because I heard from a friend who has lived here for a long time that setting a time on a contract in Japan is illegal. For example, my previous contract with Interac was set for 1 year, which I left early from and had no problems with. The company never mentioned I was breaking contract and I think that was because setting time periods for contracts is illegal in Japan. Now, I’m not 100% sure about that, but I’ll ask my friends and contact a union for advice and let you know about that.
Boss: Let’s not get into that, we’re getting away from the main topic and I don’t want [to cause unnecessary problems.]
Me: No, me neither, but I wasn’t the one who brought up breaking contract. I want to make this as easy as possible.

* * * *

Boss: Ok, until we decide what to do, can you please not tell any of the other staff or students?
Me: Sure.
[Some more dialogue for about 2 minutes, then…]
Boss: Can you please not tell the students?
Me: Yeah, no problem. I think that’s for the best any way.
Boss: Okay.
[Boss gets up to leave, shuts the door. After about 30 seconds he pops his head in again and says…]
Boss: I need to discuss this with the other teachers so we know what to do.
Me: So you’re going to tell the other teachers?]
Boss: [Yes]
Me: Okay.
[Boss shuts the door. Conversation over.]

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