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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Biked to work today since it was a gorgeous day, so that was if not nice, at least not too unpleasant! I'm looking forward to the cherry blossoms coming out in Aoyama cemetery, that will be really nice! Managed to listen to my This American Life Podcast, which is still downloading, although some of my other podcasts (Rick Steves, DNTO, All in the Mind) aren't which is really weird/worrying/crappy! This computer is almost totally full though (15GB, not so much!), so that might have something to do with it? LUCKILY the metpod is still downloading, so I can listen to that tomorrow when I go to Sophia University...It looks like a nice long one as well, which is awesome!

Work was good today - I finished up the women of the world section, and I think I managed to find some good articles for that - its amazing what you can find when you just 'google news' "women". What would we do without the Internet! I've been reading a lot about the story I used for the slightly longer 'featurette', which is about the Marianas islands. It's pretty shocking! The islands are are a Commonwealth of the US, which means that they are mostly American, except that they don't have the same minimum wage, and they don't have the same immigration act. This has basically led to tons of factories setting up shop with a low minimum wage, and recruiting tons of women from remote areas of China, Thailand, etc to work for them.

The women go over there hoping to be able to finance educations for themselves and their families, but in order to get there, they have to pay up to $7000 to a recruiter to get themselves a one year contract. Under current rates, they would have to work 58 out of a possible 52 weeks in order to just break even! The recruiters threaten their families back home, and it is very stressful! Many of the women are forced into prostitution, and can't feed themselves properly or anything. One of the women they interviewed in the article said her teeth bleed all the time because all she can eat is a bit of rice and a few crappy vegetables. The US is considering passing a law to change the minimum wage, but some people say that if that means the factories close, it will cause even more problems as their only legal source of income will evaporate. Incidentally, all clothing made in this area, which includes Saipan, can be labeled 'Made in the USA', which gives many people, me included, the impression that the clothes have been made with some level of human rights in mind! Interesting stuff! Ms. Magazine has been covering the story in detail if you are interested....

We also had a content meeting today, which I wasn't really that involved in, but it was pretty funny because Caroline called in from home, so we had her on speaker phone, and occasionally you'd hear her yelling at Tommy (her dog), or something, and then if everyone was quiet she was like 'oh, have you all gone for lunch without me then?' Perhaps you had to be there, but it was an entertaining way to hold a meeting!

I also got to try my hand at cutting an article today, which I've never done for someone else before. I had to take it from about 1400 words all the way down to 850, which was a challenge! I was also doing some minor edits on it to fix some parts which were confusing/didn't flow well/etc. It was hard to make sure that I stayed true to her writing style! I felt bad about chopping so much of her stuff, even though, if it were my article, I wouldn't care whatsoever about trimming it out, but when its someone else's work, I guess I felt I couldn't be that liberally choppy with it. Helen said I did a good job with it, and we sent it back to the author with the option of cutting it herself if she didn't like what I did, so that's good.

No more copy editing today, but finished up the day by working with Karin on the kids pages a little bit, I think they're going to be pretty cute! In other office news, Helen and Kieron have gotten me addicted to tea, since they make it really really well! I have to watch them and figure out how they do it, b/c when I have and/or make tea, half the time I can't stand it, and half the time its great, but they seem to have sorted it out, and also, we have a new intern starting on Tuesday! I think she was hired by someone who doesn't work for CPI anymore, but she's coming over to Japan just for this internship... Helen wasn't exactly clear on what she's hoping to do, so I guess we'll find out more on Tuesday...

After work; teaching, and then a stop at the combeni for bentos for dinner and lunch tomorrow, biked home, stopping to eat my dinner on a bike rack on Omotesando as I went low and it started raining (less than pleasant!) Home at about 8:30, did half an hour of pilates, then watched an episode of Friends before falling asleep, and when Peter came home it was very very very hard to wake up! I think he tried to have a conversation with me and I missed most of it :( We watched the Hills and I managed to wake up a bit, so maybe I'll go see what I missed now!


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