Oh, Japan. You're so difficult sometimes.

A brief story of frustration and incomprehension. I'm trying to take some time off from my job around Christmas to head back to America. By that time, it will have been almost 1.5 years since I've seen any of my family or friends. However, I am completely unable to understand my school's attitude. The time I want to take off coincides with the last of week of classes for this time. But, it's so early that I don't have any classes scheduled. So I feel like it's early enough that I won't be missing anything.

However, upon asking, I was told that while it's probably ok, they would 'prefer' if I don't take vacation days on days when school is in session. I just don't understand. This is the first time I've ever asked for days off before the term ends, and it's to see my family for the first time in forever. Why does it matter? No classes have been scheduled for me. I never even know my schedule until, at most, a week before the actual class. As far as I can see, I'm not missing anything that week.

What really bothers me is that this rule is so informal and unofficial. I'm not forbidden to take time off, but they encourage me not to. For a Japanese person, that's as good as including a prohibition in their contract. But for an American such as myself, I see it as a preference that doesn't necessarily have to be followed if, say, I want to go home. Furthermore, this type of informal suggestion just makes me feel like a small child when I have to go ask if I'm 'allowed' to take time off. I'm almost 25, and working in a full-time job. I don't think I should feel so stressed and embarrassed to use my allotted vacation time. This informal suggestion is just so frustrating, and I can't understand why it matters when I try to take time off. At this point in time, it's so early that I'm not missing anything. I should be able to ask for time off in advance, and then teachers can schedule classes around that since I scheduled the vacation first. First come, first served.

At the same time, I really like most of my teachers, and I'm not mad or upset at anyone. It's just a frustrating situation that I find difficult to understand.

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