I often joke about how the Japanese people are basically automatons, who mindlessly shuffle through their days, responding to stimuli much like one of Pavlov’s dogs, predictably and without spontaneity. Well, this actually isn’t a joke in most circumstances.
Each morning I arrive at my desk around 7:45. I do this primarily so the vice principle can see me and check off some mental box in his head for my hard working spirit. From 7:45 until 8:25 I basically zone out.
At 8:25 my meditative state is rudely interrupted by the school bell. At that point all the teachers in our Orwellian open plan staff room stand in unison, the vice principle announces the day and date (as if we are 4 years old) and semi-shouts “Ohayougozaimasu!” (おはようございます) Then everyone bows, sits down, and a cacophony of mini meetings begins throughout the room. This happens every single school day, without fail.
It is insane thing to witness. Most of the teachers seem not even conscious of this robotic procedure. It is the closest thing I have experienced to witnessing a demonic possession. It’s downright scary.