Monday, January 23, 2012

A course at NHGRI

I have just found a web page containing the schedule of a course running at NHGRI in US. The course is titled 'Current Topics In Genome Analysis 2012'. This should be a great overview of where we stand in genomics.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New year's shock

I am preparing hard to clean up things here in Konstanz and prepare for new life in Japan, while still taking care of a lot of teaching especially this month.

Over the Christmas holidays, I was expecting a set of documents for apartment rent contract I am going to make through a real estate agency in Kobe, Japan. The contact person at that agency told me that he sent out the envelope containing the documents on December 22, with a relatively quick mailing method. Normally, with this method, an envelope arrives at my place in 4-5 days.

I watched crazy fireworks from the balcony of my apartment on the Silvester day (Dec 31), ...... still waiting for the envelope.

The new year came, and I could not wait any more. It was already two weeks - too long! I requested the shipment code from the sender, and contacted a central post office in Frankfurt, because the sender in Japan told me that he confirmed that the envelope was already in Germany. At the post office, the person who answered my phone call was totally unfriendly, maybe because of my awkward Germany. She said 'schon zugestellt !' (means already in its way to my home). It was weird because even if the envelope is really in its way, it is too slow. But, ....... the envelope did not arrive for the next 5 days. ........... what?

Finally, yeasterday, I called the post office again with the help of a German colleague at my working place. She explained my situation well, and found out that the envelope came to the building including my apartment, but the postman could not find the right recipient, because he could not read my name which was written .............. in Japanese. When we made this second call, the envelope was right back at the post office. We told her my name in alphabets, and got an expected delivery time range. This morning the envelope finally arrived. It turned out that the tag for delivery did not even have the names of the countries on both the sender's and recipient's sides. It was lucky that the envelope was first sent to the right country (probably with the help of my phone number included there). It is simply shocking that the sender, a Japanese, did not have any international mind - wrote no destination country and included the recipient's name in Japanese (more precisely, in Chinese letters). On the other hand, he looked very able and resourceful when I got a lot of help to look at some apartments in Kobe in my last visit to Japan. Yes, he is able but probably within the country - very symbolic in the geographically and culturally isolated country, if I may say this.

One more shock of today was that my application to open a new bank account in Germany was rejected, possibly because of my nationality. I prepared some documents for this. It is very discouraging - tough life as a non-European continues until the last moment. I know, it is not a big deal. This (rejection like this) is not the first time in Germany. I will say at last 'Nein Danke & Nicht mehr !'