The first month in Japan FLEW by. Everyday is filled with new things. It seems like everyday tasks are a huge adventure: Getting a cellphone, signing up for a bank account, or figuring out how to buy salt. But now things are slowing down enough for me to sit and write.
I just finished my second week of teaching at 3 elementary schools and 1 junior high school. On Monday I had a big surprise. The mayor of Okayama showed up to my class with a camera crew and a photographer from the local newspaper. I found out the next morning that I was on the local news! Just another day in the life of an English teacher. Saying you have to be flexible in order to do this job is an understatement.
The students here are so great. Even the “bad” kids are great. They’re only “bad” kids because they have colored hair (I’m not talking pink hair, I’m talking red brown or anything not black) and smoke cigarettes.
The elementary school students are my favorite. They are SO STINKIN CUTE. Especially the little 1st graders who’s backpacks are bigger than they are. It’s one heart melting moment after another.
Lesson planning is going well. I’m now an expert in teaching shapes & colors. I was nervous before my first day but now that’s gone. It feels so natural to be up there teaching. Maybe I owe some of that to having two teachers as parents.
There’s something I really like about living life 45 minutes at a time at school though. It’s helped me focus and be more present on the task that’s in front of me.
The Japanese teachers I’m working with have been really great too. I get to speak Japanese with them in the teacher’s room, which is great practice. They all took me out to a big welcome dinner on Friday which was so much fun. It was nice to have a chance to thank them for making my transition into this job so easy. I really lucked out that I like all my schools so much.
After school, I’ve been hanging out with the other teachers in my company and our “rival” company JET. Its crazy to suddenly have a big group of friends from Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, the Philippines, and the US. We’re one big happy gaijin (foreigner) family.
So to summarize, life in Japan has been amazing and the transition has been so easy. I think about the month before I left and how I couldn’t get to sleep at night. And now I’m here and it feels so much like home.
There’s so much to share I don’t even know where to start. I could write an entire blog on the food alone. Did I mention there was raw horse meat at dinner yesterday? Yeah… I’ll get to that later. Off to a BBQ with the other ALTs. Hope everyone’s having a nice weekend!