There is this cell phone that has been passed from interpreter to interpreter here in Iwate. It's used to take calls of local residents wanting help, people calling with complaints and in general, anyone who speaks only Japanese who wants to reach the volunteer group here. I had my turn with it for about two weeks before I went to Tokyo. I handed it off to another bilingual volunteer when I went to Tokyo and then since my return, my illness has kept it from it coming back to me.
It's called "the dreaded white phone" for several reasons. First, it never stops ringing. This is generally a good thing as it means people are calling asking for help. It also means the person answering it is in charge of taking down the information (correctly), relaying it to the necessary parties and then doing all the go-between work.
Second, not everything runs smoothly. The person answering the white phone must speak Japanese as this is the number that's called by the Japanese public. This means the person taking the calls handles not only the language but also the cultural nuances. Anytime one person is put in the middle of a bilingual and bi-cultural situation there is always the probability there is a misunderstanding. It's the white-phone-handler's responsibility to keep all the potential mishaps at bay. This is pressure. It's actually a lot of pressure.
So, now that my voice is back and all I'm really doing is coughing and hacking here and there, the phone has made its way back to me. For a few days at least. This will kick up my stress level several notches. It's what I'm here to do but that doesn't make it easier or enjoyable. I know how to alleviate potential problems. This is what I do. This doesn't make it easy, though.
All this to say if I'm cranky in a few days and this pops up in my posting you'll all know why.