Long Time No Update…

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.

Training

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. ^^”

Teaching

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!

またね!

Long Time No Update…

Placement: Matsue, Shimane Prefecture

On January 19th I finally received the telephone call that would tell me where I will be working in Japan. I will be living & working in the city of Matsue in Shimane prefecture. (Google Map here) I most likely won’t be in the main part of the city, but hopefully I won’t be too far. It would take about 3 1/2 hours to drive to Kobe and about 4 hours by train. (To Tokyo: 7 1/2 hours by train, 9 hours by car and 1 hour 15 minutes by plane.) Considering it’s going to take about 1 day for me to travel from the US to Japan, that’s not too bad.

I will be leaving the US on March 23rd and arriving in Japan on March 24th. Then I will meet an Interac representative on the 25th in Okayama. After that, I think there are 4-5 days of training there. Then it’s off to my new apartment in Matsue. I don’t know about my apartment yet, but I will have a place by myself. I am really looking forward to living by myself. It’s been a long time since I haven’t shared space with another person.

Another interesting part is that I will have a car while I’m living in Matsue. I guess I will be living far enough from the schools where I will be working that I won’t be able to rely on public transportation to get to work. Or I’m just that far from city center. I think it will definitely be a learning experience.

I received my International Driver’s License yesterday and I sent off my Visa application. I still need to pack and get rid of a few more odds & ends in my apartment. But I don’t really have too much longer before I’ll be headed to Japan. I’m really excited, nervous and scared. I know things will be fine, but it’s going to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster for a while.

I may try to post one more update before I leave, but don’t hold your breath. ^_^

Placement: Matsue, Shimane Prefecture

Major Update – I got a job!

For anyone that doesn’t follow me on Facebook, I figured I should post about my big news here. ^_^

I am officially returning to Japan in Spring 2015! \^_^/

I had applied for a position with the JET Program, but I unfortunately did not pass the interview stage. I didn’t give up though. The next application I submitted was to Interac. The company does essentially the same function as JET (as far as I can tell), but it’s not managed by the Japanese government; they are a private American company. I haven’t received my placement yet, nor do I know exactly what date I will be leaving, but I’m not even concerned about it. I’m so excited to be able to go back to Japan.

I’m also kinda terrified. Teaching? They hired me knowing that I have no experience teaching. I guess I did well enough on my demo lesson, that they think I will be able to handle the job. I just have to keep up my motivation and do my best. 頑張るよ!

I know that I didn’t keep up with my blog while I was in Japan before, but maybe I can do it this time. If I have a planned update schedule, like every 2 weeks? At least once a month? I will try to keep it updated. It’s the easiest way for me to keep my friends and family updated on what’s going on.

Until I actually leave for Japan, I probably won’t update until the time of departure gets closer. I mean, my life here is going to be pretty boring. Just working at The Pitt Shop and 7-Eleven, and saving money so I can afford my apartment upon arrival in Japan.

So thank you all for sticking with me. I hope to provide some entertainment or at least slightly interesting things. ^_^

Major Update – I got a job!

Sorry!

I’m really sorry for the lack of big updates lately. I have a lot of things to post about, but I’ve been kind of busy lately. And I was trying to get all of my pictures uploaded online before I made the post. I’m hoping that keeping you guys sated with little photo posts will be enough for now. Heh… It’s just a lot easier to take a photo and send it from my crappy cell phone with a simple subject. I figured out that if I don’t add text to the post (other than the subject heading), it will also post the photo straight to Facebook. 😀

I hope everyone is doing well back home. I miss home a lot. Well, I’ll admit that I miss the food the most. 😄 I miss everyone, too. I’m off to do some (probably late) Christmas shopping today, and to see The Hobbit. Luckily the movie will be in English (with Japanese subtitles).

I’ll be in Tokyo over the winter break so I’ll be posting pics from my phone the whole time (Dec 24-29). Then I’ll post the ones from my camera when I get back to Kobe.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
\^_^/

Sorry!

Random Update

It seems like the pictures are coming through better than I’d hoped. I think I’ll continue posting them separately though so you guys get the larger photos. I still haven’t gotten my comment replies to work from my cell phone though. Boo. 😦 I did get the comments to forward to my cell phone, so that’s something at least. I can see your responses in real time, just not reply to them.

 

Things are going well. I finally had my Japanese History class today. So I’ll be taking that and the Japanese Business class. I never had a business class before so I figured this would be a good one to start with. The other options were Japanese Literature and Linguistics with a focus on Japanese. But I’ve had both of those at Pitt before. Even though I’ve had a Japanese History class at Pitt before, I wanted to do this one anyway. Since it will most likely be presented from a different perspective since a Japanese person is teaching it. It also covers a slightly different span of time than the previous class.

 

So expect more food blog posts and random pics. Hopefully I’ll remember. ^^” And I hope my host mom doesn’t think it’s strange that I’m taking pictures of her meals. Not sure about that yet.

 

I was going to try to see the Piece movie (starting Watanabe Shu and Miura Ryosuke from Kamen Rider OOO) but it looks like the closest showing is in Osaka and I’m not sure I could get there before the movie is finished playing. 😦 I’ll just have to wait for the DVD I guess. Maybe that’s good. I probably shouldn’t spend too much time in movie theaters while I’m in Japan. I mean, I already saw the Rurouni Kenshin movie twice and I was considering seeing it again. I did find a theater that seems to have 1,000 yen showings for women on Wednesdays. :p It’s better than 1,500 yen…

Random Update