I remember somewhere in May 2019 when I applied to work some part time at the food packaging sector of 7-ELEVEN; (a convenient store in Japan), the second question my employer to be, asked me was, “how will you get to the JR line then when it rains since your means of transport is a bicycle?”.
Too eager for the job, I quickly responded, “I will use an umbrella”. (Well from Ghana that was what I was used to). Matimoto-san (my boss to be then) looked at me sternly for seconds then retorted, “okay”. I guess he was imagining how I had to ride a bicycle with two hands and still hold an umbrella with a third hand; obviously observing I walked into his office only with two arms. I reckon that after thinking for a while, he concluded it was possible not with a third arm but with a mechanism that fixes umbrellas to the central steering front of the bicycle so it covers the rider without the later holding it.
Weeks after I was fortunate to have been offered the job, it rained too heavily one morning, starting from dawn to the time I had to have ridden to the Rail line to catch up with the 7:38am train, then I wished inwardly how what I told my employer to be then was a lie so I could just call to say as most employees do in my home country, “it has been raining cats and dogs since morning and I haven’t been able to move from my house, so I am asking for some minutes or even an hour more to be late so the rain could subside and I will ride through to the office”.
But none of these cock and bull stories we give in Ghana to justify lateness or explain the “Ghana Man Time concept, GMT” works here in Japan as rains do not tamper with the fury of the “god called productivity”.
I had seen too many a time, instances where postmasters had delivered water sensitive elements like letters to my door amidst rain. The bills had come in frequently; wrapped with waterproof covers and then put in rubber sealings and delivered with such enviable pride, apt and dexterity that my 3 year old son who hitherto while in Ghana desired to be a medical Doctor or a prestigious Banker now sings the refrain, “mummy look at me , Purpose-Driven Postmaster…” while riding on his red tricycle. The beautiful skill of Postmasters and Postmistresses riding their motorcycles to delivering bills anytime even in rainy days, changed my son’s passion about his earlier career.
Well since I had no option than to go to work that morning if I still needed my daily wage, I did ride my bicycle in the rain but not without discontentment. And as I usually do; allowing my mind to write about characters it observes when riding, my mind kept wandering and teasing me, asking to reminisce my years as a journalist when programs my media station had been invited to provide coverage had been cancelled just because it rained too heavily the morning of the event.
I remember a day I had scheduled an appointment to interview a Minister, knowing he was ‘scarce’ to reach, I had barely slept soundly the night before, just so that sleep will not ruin my efforts by making me late. I got to the Ministry’s office some minutes to the scheduled time so I could walk leisurely to meet “My Scarce Minister”, as he said he will leave office the next second after I was done interviewing him. To my surprise almost all the seats in the office preceding the minister’s were empty. I had to wait for almost an hour before any human showed up so I could ask if the “big man” was in there because I couldn’t reach him on phone and I was reluctant to knock on his door unpermitted.
His secretary who finally showed up, still making up her face and judging from the facial expression I met her with, asked with impertinence, “madam journalist, did you realise it rained this morning?”. Oh! my Ghana and how rains become a god opposing productivity.
If you gave the excuse, “well…that is a government’s work and you can’t risk yourself for non-commiserating reward” as we do in Ghana, that’s fine but how about the trader in the Dome market, who is her own employer and employee.
There were some Fridays I had dashed to the market in drizzles to buy some tubers of cassava with snails and mushrooms as I had planned a special treat of fufu and “wer3wer3” soup that weekend and I had been left standing in the drizzle waiting for the vendor to creep out of any tent she had gone hiding in like a tortoise does out of its shell. Sometimes, I could wait for a minute for the creeping out process to be complete, other times I may be too impatient to wait beyond 2 minutes while shouting “who is here”? and so will leave and turn the planned fufu into any other meal whose primary ingredient seller didn’t cease earning money because it rained.
As if that day I was destined to be having day dreams comparing rains in Ghana to Japan and how they affect productivity or otherwise .
On my return home from work, I saw a woman with an umbrella strolling in the rain together with her pet dog. To my utter amusement and amazement, the dog had on a raincoat, hence my heading for this writing, “THE RAINCOAT WEARING DOG, MY THOUGHTS…”.
Let’s just dream and say the woman was fulfilling an ‘Adamic’ responsibility in this 21st century in the Garden of Eden by caring for all the animals God created in her care , but when we wake from that dream let my Ghanaian family reconsider their ways and say she is emphasising a cherished culture of the Japanese which says “the rains do not stop productivity in any form as far as it the blood to the development of Japan”.
So this dog, though only an animal had to be imbibed with the culture of “RAINS DO NOT MEAN SLEEP” so should the myth of reincarnation be true as believed by the Buddhists, (a dominant religion of the Japanese) and it is reincarnated as a human, it will know that even when it was an animal, rains did not stop it from taking a stroll and so it wouldn’t hinder it from contributing to Japanese development.
I wish to conclude with this advise from my little brain yet again that , my Ghanaian family should also embrace the raincoat wearing art too well if we wish to change our developmental narrative.
(I AM THE GHANAIAN villager that came to Japan)
Officially known as Afiba Anyanzua Boavo Twum.
Reach me via https://www.facebook.com/anyanzua
#the dog that inspired me unto productivity
#the rains have done enough to hinder Ghana’s productivity, let’s overcome it now.
#Change the Ghana where rains mean more sleep.
#the raincoat wearing agenda, embrace it now.