alt-country

important facts & quotes from hidden oracle reread #4 part one

i cited everything from the hardback edition bc im a nerd 

- page one apollo is already making pop culture references (1)

- meg is such a badass oh my g od (14)

- riodan does such a beautiful way of explaining things in this novels. awe-inspiring. mind blowing. example: “Her eyes glinted darkly like a crow’s. (I can make that comparison because I invented crows.)” (14-15) wow. beautiful. 

- so i understand this series is going to be about Apollo’s redemption and ~~~~finding himself~~~~ or w\e but JESUS PLEASE RICK you can’t just say “She [Meg] reminded me of the strays my sister was always adopting: dogs, panthers, homeless maidens, small dragons.” (15) WITHOUT PROVIDING SEVERAL BOOKS AS EXAMPLE FOR SAID SENTENCE all i want is a book focused on artemis and her army of small dragons and lesbians dear gods please 

- omfg can you just imagine sally having to go over to Percy’s room and having to tell him that the greek god of the sun apollo was there to see him omfg. imagine the salt. imagine both of them just groaning. imagine.

-”If I had still been an immortal, I might have flirted with her [Sally Jackson] myself.” (30-31) l o l Sally is a middle aged married woman seven months pregnant and still bringing in the gods you go girl im proud of you

- Sally Jackson is one of the best characters in the entire series. citation: every riodan book ever even the non-pjo it’s a fact 

- i 10000% support the idea that percy gave apollo the led zeppelin shirt as a sneaky joke he’s so smart i love him so much

- “Percy laced his fingers. They were long and nimble.”(35) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

- He [Percy] would have made an excellent musician.” (35) f u ck 

- literally all percy wants is to “stay alive” long enough to go to college, meet his baby sister, and see his mom get her book published my heart is broken for this boy (35-36)

- the return of the seven layer dip fuck me up (40)

- jfc that poor Prius it’s been through so much (52-54)

- page 67 and Percy’s already made two comic book references he’s such a canon nerd 

- “Cops love me almost as much as teachers do.” god Percy Jackson what are you doing to me

- apollo tried to order a pizza to CHB and honestly same (73)

- g o d will solace jfc wow

- we’re to assume Will’s a skier (his Okemo Mountain jacket & skiers tan) (82) and now i have to write the inevitable fic that comes out of this fact

- Will’s mom was a alt.-country singer from Austin, Texas (83) which wow and honestly makes the fact will is a horrible singer 1000% better

- yellow daises grow year-round in the Apollo cabin, and it smells like fresh linens and dried sage. (83)

- kayla is aiming for the olympics and honestly im so proud already 

- fact: any and all solangelo interaction have me crying into my book 

- “Will put his hand on Nico’s shoulder, ‘Nico, we need to have another talk about your people skills.’” lol this implies that they’ve had this talk before and im dying to hear it

- the Hermes kids are big fans of Rocky Horror Picture Show (95) and now i have to write a seperate list of headcanons for this fact

- speaking of, Apollo used to cosplay as Rocky bc why not. (95-96)

- listen i know im solangelo trash BUT - “Will and Nico sat shoulder to shoulder, bantering good-naturedly. They were so cute together it made me feel desolate.” im destroyed (110)

- “but if I sit alone at my table, strange things happen.” “it’s a mood disorder” “i cant control it” stfu nico u nerd u just want to sit with your boyfriend im dead (110)

- Will nodded serenely. “It’s the strangest thing. Not that Nico would ever misuse his powers to get what he wants.” death to goody-two-shoes will solace 2k17

- off topic but CAN YOU JUST IMAGINE CHIRON THO. like. this happens and will and nico are just standing there. in front of him. telling him they have to sit together OR NICO WILL JUST HAPPEN TO PUT CRACKS INTO HIS CAMP. just imagine. him staring at them. sighing. deciding not to fight this one. agreeing & watching them giggle away bc they’re so SNEAKY & now they can EAT TOGETHER WOW 

-   lol when Meg was going to town on the hot dogs and “Julia and Alice watched her with a mixture of fascination and horror.” (111)

- “Will and Nico exchanged a look that might have meant, here we go.” (112) okay im sorry im just sO GONE FOR LITTLE MOMENTS LIKE THIS I JUST WANT NICO TO BE HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE IN HIS RELATIONSHIPS OKAY

- apollo refers to the seven as “the A-list” (112) same tho

- Jason, Piper, Coach Hedge, Mellie and baby Chuck are all in LA with Piper’s father like???? (113) THIS IS SOMETHING I NEED TO SEE? What’s the living arrangement? Is Jason living with Piper? OH GOD IS JASON LIVING WITH HEDGE AND MELLIE? DO THEY ALL LIVE IN SOME BIG PLACE PIPER’S DAD RENTED OUT???? do Piper and Jason babysit? do they have family dinners? how’s baby chuck doing??? how are they all adjusting to domestic life?? I NEED TO KNOW THIS IS ALL VERY IMPORTANT TO ME 

- lol nico’s just as pissed as eveRYONE IN THE FANDOM about Leo’s not-death and im living for it (113)

- also nico carries around Leo’s lil ‘IM ALIVE LOL’ letter\hologram\thing? like i get it was completely for the plot but?????? “i look at it whenever i want to get angry” (114) like ok nico u lil bean whatever u say u little emo shit

- apollo’s little ‘lol when u have a headache in olympus hephaestus just cracks open your skull and removes whatever brain god\dess u just birthed up lol it’s so much easier ugh’ (116) w h a t t h e f u c k 

- fact: harley is adorable no citation needed

- also you’re telling me chiron, basically as old as time itself tbh, doesn’t speak portuguese? k (120)

- “i am merely assessing how well paolo’s arms are functioning after surgery” (120) those are some big words william u nervous or something??

- “hmph” - nico di angelo, 2016 (120) 

- this isn’t really important but there’s a satyr named herbert and he’s my new favorite character sorry i dont make the rules (124)

- ok so there’s an unnamed random camper who mutters in Italian (127) and now i’ve got the BIGGEST headcanon that this random girl and Nico (omg maybe a few others????) meet a few times a month just to rant to each other in Italian so none of them get sloppy with the language and u g h im such a bitch for nico di angelo frienships

- “A boy in the crowd gasped, ‘she’s a communist!’” (127) i fucking hate this book omfg

i’ll do more later in order to mentally prepare myself for the dark prophecy but it’s 3 am and im tired  

I See A Darkness
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
I See A Darkness

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - I See A Darkness

Many times
We’ve been out drinking
And many times
We’ve shared our thoughts
But did you ever, ever notice
The kind of thoughts I got
Well you know I have a love
A love for everyone I know
And you know I have a drive
To live I won’t let go
But can you see it’s opposition
Comes a-rising up sometimes
That it’s dreadful and position
Comes blacking in my mind…

And that I see a darkness

How to Become an ALT in Japan

Basic Requirements

1. A university bachelors degree
-Any degree is ok, Latin American Studies, German, Linguistics, Astro-Physics, Sociology, doesn’t matter as long as it’s at least a bachelors 

 2. A clean criminal background check
-Have you been convicted of a murder? Are you a pedo? Do you have outstanding warrants in 3 states? Did you go to jail for a hit and run? Japan doesn’t want you. 

 3. Appropriately healthy and able bodied
-If you have a something that will prevent you from doing your job well, you will most likely not be hired. For example; you can’t use stairs, you can’t stand for 45 minutes at a time, you have a severe speech impediment (I know people here with lisps), things like this prevent you from teaching at full capacity and most places don’t have the time or resources to make special accommodations for you. 

What other skills might recruiters be looking for?

1. Japanese language ability
-NOT required for most positions, but helpful for communication both in and out of the workplace. Unless you live in a metropolitan area, the average Japanese person’s English is VERY limited. I know many people who came here with zero Japanese, but nowadays there are many with at least rudimentary Japanese. People rarely come here fluent, but many people study Japanese while living here to take the JLPT and their level improves by leaps and bounds. I am not one of those people, so don’t ask me for more details lol

 2. TESL/TEFL certification
-NOT required for most positions, but some private companies are starting to lean more towards certified individuals. And honestly, those give you a lot of skills you will absolutely need when teaching English. 

3. Teaching degree
 -NOPE, not required in 99.9% of the cases. I know a few people with them who are ALTs, I’ve heard mixed opinions on how well it helps them as an ALT. Some find it demeaning to work subordinate and be given limited control/responsibilities, other find it freeing because they can spend more time teaching and less time with test related paper pushing and discipline management.

4. Good attitude, flexibility, people skills
-You need to be able to present yourself as someone trustworthy and amiable to recruiters. The environments ALTs work in are often high-paced, prone to sudden last second changes, and being able to make friends in the office and keep a happy face with students is incredibly important. 

5. Prior experience
-Have you worked in a daycare before? Have you volunteered in tutoring centers? Have you led discussion groups as a major requirement?  Have you ever studied abroad? Have you ever volunteered in foreign classrooms? Have you taken charge of a club and organized events? Did you dorm with international students in university? Have you worked for an international program before? Have you given private language lessons before? These are the kinds of things that show you have experience in things that ALTs frequently encounter.

Can I mention my love of [INSERT JAPANESE CULTURE HERE]?

Yes, but keep is professional, relevant, and brief. 

“I became interested in Japan after watching Spirited Away, the cultural aspects of the movie fascinated me and made me want to learn more about Japan.” OK
“I have a collection of anime pillow cases, my favorite is Miku Hatsune in this pose.” NO 

“I started listening to Japanese music in high school. I eventually started learning Japanese to better understand the lyrics.” OK
 "When Pierrot broke up, I was shattered that the fanfic community would move on to other ships.“ NO 

“My school offered a short course on Japanese tea ceremony, and I thought the way that it formed historically was extremely interesting.” OK
“I want to learn the way of the samurai.” NO 

“I’m very interested in Japanese video game production companies. I went to college and majored in game design and I want to further study it by living in Japan and experiencing the community in person.” OK
“I want to play Resident Evil on fiber optic LAN with Japanese players so I can pwn more n00bs when I get back to America.” NO

What kind of ALT positions are available?

First and foremost: READ AND RESEARCH

If you do not do your own intensive research, you can get taken advantage of. You hear horror stories from people here all the time, and those mostly come from people didn’t research what they were getting themselves into. I cannot make a comprehensive guide to the THOUSANDS OF KINDS OF ALT positions across the country, this is only an overview. Look at that link, and always do extensive research of the companies/programs you’re interested in working for.

1. Government
 AKA JET Program
-The JET Program is the only government ALT program. It makes the Japanese government the middleman in your arrangements, which takes less money from your paycheck and gives you a more trustworthy means of income. It’s very competitive and the application process takes about 6 months. They only hire once a year. It’s arguably the best program, as it pays well, you have a lot of guaranteed vacation time, and they pay for your flights to and from the country. On the downside, you don’t really have a lot of say in where you are placed. Also, you cannot get a transfer unless VERY specific requirements are met. Also some prefectures/localities are nicer to their ALTs than others, but if they try to fuck you over you know you have the Japanese government backing you and they will keep you from being taken advantage of.

 2. Private Dispatch
examples: Interac, AEON, Borderlink, JIEC and MANY others
 -These are private companies that workplaces hire to provide them with ALTs. Workplaces do this because some of the intricacies in hiring an ALT and getting them a VISA and housing are really complicated, and they’d rather pay a middleman than deal with it. Upsides, you get a little more wiggle-room with being transferred. Downside by far is the pay. It depends on the company, but that middleman definitely takes a big chunk of your pay. If you work for a place like this, you need to VERY carefully read your contract. Research dispatch companies carefully, check their ratings online, see what former employees have to say about them. 

 3. Private Hire
 AKA working directly under the local government office, a private company, or even one-on-one’s in wealthy households
-These are places that will directly hire you without a middleman. Obviously, you need to look carefully at the details of your contract before working privately. Most local government places won’t hire you without prior ALT experience in Japan. Private English Conversation Schools (Eikaiwa) have non-9 to 5 working hours to provide for business workers and students. They sometimes require you to already have a VISA prior to being hired. Private Hire really is outside of my experience, but from what I understand they can pay as well as JET, but don’t usually have as many perks.

Where do I look for open positions?

GaijinPot is the website I’ve heard of the most. Check there and research research research. There are scammers, be careful. 

JET hires once a year starting around September or October. It’s available online on their official webpage.

There are a bajillion different dispatch companies. I couldn’t possibly name them all, I don’t really have a lot of experience with them, and don’t know which are particularly good or not. Check Google-sensei for their applications, websites, and reputations.

Other than that, please be wary of Craigslist. Although legit job openings do show up, there are scammers. If it’s someone looking for a “private female in-home English tutor from ages 19~25” or something like that, don’t be dumb. Many will require you to have a VISA with a minimum of 1 year on it already. Many will require you to already live in the area of the position. Research everything carefully.

Words of warning

If you think mental health issues are stigmatized in your home country, oh honey you ain’t seen nothin` yet.

If you have mental health issues, Japan may not be the place for you. You may think going to Japan, being surrounded by your hobbies and interests, and just “getting away” will make things better… IT WON’T.

Please be aware that you most likely will not be able to get your meds over the counter in Japan. And it’s not uncommon for your meds to be banned entirely even with a prescription. Bi-polar, anxiety, OCD, depression? Your meds might not be available here. Oh and having people send them over from home by mail can get you detained and deported if you’re caught.

You’ll also be leaving the support of friends and family by coming to Japan. The ALT community is pretty cool, but people come and go so quickly, it’s hard to find groups of people that will stick together through really tough spots.

Supervisors and coworkers aren’t much help either. In Japan, people don’t talk about mental health issues at all. If you take meds for anything other than a physical illness, you do it in private where people can’t see you. If you see a psychiatrist, you do it in a different prefecture, where no one can see you. It’s not uncommon for Japanese people to be asked to leave their jobs because their boss or coworkers have suspicions.

If you self medicate with something like marijuana, be aware that recreational drug use here is VERY VERY VERY illegal. Marijuana use is treated with the same seriousness as crack cocaine. You WILL be caught, you WILL be detained, you WILL be tried without a lawyer present, you WILL be held in solitary, you WILL be convicted of drug possession, and you WILL be deported.

Some ALTs will replace their marijuana use with alcohol. That goes about as well as it sounds :|

For LGBT, if you’re used to a very supportive queer community, it’s not the same here. Japanese people are extremely closeted and unless you live near a large metropolitan area, getting into the gay scene is nearly impossible. I’m fine because I was never in the gay scene back home, but for some people it’s very hard.

If you’re trans and want to come here to transition, please reconsider. I would suggest not coming to Japan as an ALT if you intend to transition in the immediate future. If your gender dysphoria is pretty bad, you’re gonna have a bad time. Gender segregation and enforcement of gender roles will probably seriously affect your mental health. The paperwork for transitioning is even harder from overseas and lot of things need to be done in person so you’ll have to fly back and forth from your home country a lot (which is damn expensive and needs vacation leave). Even if you do get everything done, there’s no telling how your work will respond. They won’t outright say they’re firing you for your gender identity, that’s illegal, they’ll come up with some other reason.

People who come here with a goal like paying off college loans or wanting to experience another culture usually have a better time that people who come here because OMG I JUST LOVE JAPAN. Please keep that in mind.

Country Solangelo!

I don’t know why this popped up in my head, but can we all just imagine Will Solace as a bona fide country boy?  Can we imagine Will dragging Nico home for a few weeks in Summer?

  • Naomi Solace, alt-country singer, having a fit when she sees how skinny Nico is, and insists on him having second helpings of everything?
  • Nico’s first taste of Non-Camp barbecue resulting in him getting about three more servings.
  • Will Solace’s childhood home not being in a suburb, but on a rural farm, complete with Horses, a garden full of vegetables, and a two story farmhouse with a wrap around porch.  Nico being in absolute awe when he first sees it.
  • Nico being scared to death about being introduced as Will’s boyfriend, mainly because he’s just deathly afraid that he’ll be rejected or hurt, but instead he’s given a bear hug by both Naomi and Will’s Grandmother, and given a proper handshake (which gives Nico a sense of his being old as hell) by Will’s maternal grandfather.  Even Will’s mortal friends don’t give a crap that they’re gay, which ends Nico’s thoughts on a stereotypical southern community.
  • Nico in overalls, which amuses Will to no end.  Will in a cowboy hat, which Nico insists he should wear more often.
  • Will showing Nico the grove of oak trees that his treehouse was built in.  Nico and Will subsequently making out in that treehouse.
  • Nico learning to ride Reba, Will’s favorite horse (and also his favorite Singer)
  • Skinny-dipping in a swimming hole, which Nico is hesitant to do, but relents.  He later drags Will out there in the middle of the night, which results in some hastily made up stories the next day.  Nico can’t walk because he was totally just riding Reba all Night.  Both know all too well that Nico bruised his tailbone trying to swing from a rope into the hole.
  • Campfires out by the old, dilapidated barn, complete with s’mores and a ton of cuddles.  Will telling Nico Ghost stories, and Nico pretending to be scared, if only to be in Will’s embrace.
  • Nico being afraid to touch the plants at first, as he is sure he doesn’t have a green thumb, to helping Grandma Solace weeding the garden on a daily basis, where the two discuss what life was like in the 30s.  Nico doesn’t remember much of the Great Depression, as he was young.  But he remembers the war too clearly.
  • Grandpa Solace telling stories of his time in the War, including D-Day.  When he peels his shirt off to show everyone the scars left by shrapnel, Will is beet red from embarrassment, and Nico is as pale as a ghost.
  • Will’s extended family descending on the farm for a few days, which results in hastily memorized names, a ton of photo opportunities, and a hay ride with Will and his cousins.  Later on, Will takes the rusted up truck and they go for a joyride, and maybe a late night shake.
  • Nico and Will being permitted to share a room, where they cuddle under a homemade quilt.  For once, Nico doesn’t have nightmares.
  • Nico getting a knitted sweater from Will’s Grandma, which is apparently a ‘Welcome to the Family’ gift.
  • Will being overjoyed at the fact that, by the time they leave, Nico’s gained some weight, a healthy glow, and the fact that maybe Nico’s addicted to his Grandmother’s lemonade.
  • Nico feeling more at home on a rural farm in Texas than he has nearly anywhere else, and insisting that they go back every chance they get.
  • Will happily obliging, on the condition that Nico has to wear the Overalls at least once every time they go.

I dunno why, but Country Boy Will is something I’ve found strangely cute these last few days.  Southern Hospitality is a thing, and Nico would be shaken by the fact that they aren’t as vocal about the gay thing as one may realize.

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Johnny Cash - Rusty Cage (Soundgarden Cover)

His vocal performances are invariably the best parts of these songs. Styles has described his stint in One Direction as “a democracy,” and every song featured a fight for breathing room between four or five hungry young singers. Here, he has space he can use. “Sign of the Times” jumps out of your speakers when he shifts into his thin falsetto, and it climaxes with a series of desperate howls. He makes a convincing alt-country troubadour on “Two Ghosts” and “Ever Since New York” by throwing on a little twang and a healthy helping of world-weariness. The down-home boogie of “Carolina” tests the limits of his nascent swagger. And I’ve never heard someone record their own backing vocals with the enthusiasm and panache Styles brings to Harry Styles. Every hoot, yelp, and chant are delivered with an impish grin, one that makes it hard not to crack a smile of your own.
—  Pitchfork review