First, I’d like to apologize for not updating more frequently, or at all, really. Sorry, everyone. ^^” I always have good intentions with my blog, but it’s difficult to keep up with it. Maybe it would be better to post shorter updates here instead of only on Facebook. Not that I’ve really been doing that either…
So here’s a brief breakdown of what’s been happening since I arrived.
I arrived in Okayama on March 24th and training started the next day. It was really great to finally meet the people that I’d been chatting with on Facebook before arriving in Japan. And it was, and still is, a wonderful feeling to be in Japan again.
I think the Interac training was really great. Especially for someone with no teaching experience whatsoever, like myself. The 5 days of training were long, usually ending around 8-9 pm, but they were definitely useful. I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to teach. I also found out that it’s much more difficult to speak in front of your peers than in front of students. I’m terrified of public speaking, but somehow I can get in front of a classroom and my stomach isn’t tied in knots. ^^”
I sometimes still wonder why anyone thought I would be a good teacher. What did Interac see that made them think I could do this? It’s not that I don’t think I’m doing a mostly okay job of teaching now, just that I wonder what they saw in me before I started teaching. Especially since I’d never done this before. Somehow I’m able to teach… I think… The Japanese teachers seem to be pleased with how things are going. It’s really difficult to gauge how well I’m doing though.
Most of the time it’s actually a lot of fun to get the students using English. As long as they’re even mildly interested in trying, it’s pretty easy. I still need to work on the hard cases though. The students who are probably thinking “Why do I need to learn this stuff?” The same thoughts a lot of people have about school when they’re young. The high school students are the toughest. Mostly because they’re becoming self-conscious and afraid to make any mistakes in front of their classmates. But that’s the only way you’re really going to learn is by using the language and making mistakes. I can definitely relate since I dealt with the same problems when I was learning Japanese.
Almost all of the students from 6th grade to 12th grade are super adorable!! 😀 Even the really little elementary students that I don’t teach, but sometimes see in the building. They’re all so cute! During my introduction lesson with basically every student I teach, when given the chance to ask questions, I almost always got these two: “Do you have a boyfriend?” and “How old are you?” I just tell them the truth, but some people like to tell them it’s a secret. I don’t really mind. I just wish they’d come up with a wider variety of questions. :p
Life in Japan
The one part I was really looking forward to, besides simply being in Japan, was having an apartment all to myself. It’s been a long time since I’ve really lived by myself. Not that I haven’t had great roommates over the past few years. It’s that I highly value my personal space. When I come home, everything is exactly how I left it. I can arrange things however I like. And as long as I don’t bother my neighbors, I can do whatever I want. 😀 My apartment is also really cute and just well designed. There’s a lot of useful storage space and thankfully it was already basically furnished. It’s also plenty of space for just myself. (About 300 square feet.) Around my apartment building there’s a bunch of farms. In the evening, you can hear a ton of frogs and maybe insects making the most interesting sounds. They sound exactly like the kodama (tree spirits) from the movie Princess Mononoke (animated film by Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli). 😀
With the help of a couple lovely Japanese women (contracted by Interac just to help people like me ease into life in Japan), I was able to find all the things that I needed to buy for my apartment, get my bank account set up & other utilities, and buy a cell phone. I would have been a huge ball of stress and frustration if I’d had to do that alone. My Japanese isn’t that good. ^^”
I’ve also had to get used to driving in Japan. Yes, they drive on the left here. It’s been interesting. Luckily no major mishaps, but I still can’t get used to the crazy narrow streets though. Before the end of my 1st year here, I’ll have to take & pass the driving test so I can get my official driver’s license. I’m sure I’ll manage but I’m not looking forward to it.
Thank you all for following my adventure. If there are any specific things you’d like to know, please ask in the comments. ^_^ I’d like to say that I’ll try to post more often, but I think we all know how that will work out. ^^” I’ll do my best. 頑張ります！