I’ve realized that my memory isn’t good enough to write these blogs as rarely as I do and actually remember funny stories that I wanted to tell weeks or even months ago. However, from time to time, I get enough stories worth telling all at once and I can do what I can to write something semi-entertaining. Tonight was one of those times, and both of my funny situations came about in the same class from the same student. The first story doesn’t need much background info. The only important detail is that electronic Japanese-English dictionaries are owned by almost all of my students above high school level. While they’re really great for helping the students fill in the blanks in what they’re trying to say, sometimes their translation is …well, just not quite right. Tonight I have a student in her 60’s who’s father recently returned home from the hospital. He’s doing okay, but he has to be fed intravenously. She sets up his food drip for him twice a day, and she was telling me that the timing is actually pretty important. With a straight face, she said “If I feed him too fast, he’ll get…. (checking dictionary) the shits.” I had to explain to her that while it wasn’t quite wrong, it was inappropriate. Although, pretty funny.
The second story comes from the same woman. First off, in Japanese, there are a lot of words that come from English. A lot. Radio, cup, door, shower etc. Most of these words are basically the same pronunciation as english, just adapted to Japanese phonetics a little. For example “radio” sounds like “rahjioh” and “shower” sounds like”shawa.” Sometimes words which clearly come from English are pronounced as they’re written instead of based on the English pronunciation though. A few examples: “vinyl” goes to “bee-neel” (v is said like a b in Japanese), and “cook” goes to “cock” (hehe). This story has to do with the latter. My 60 something year old student went to the local movie theater this weekend for the first time. She told me the movie she saw was called 私と犬 (me and [my] dog). Trying to explain the movie’s plot to me, she said it is a collection of short stories. Again, with a totally straight face, she proclaimed proudly, “the first story is about dog cock.” At this point I couldn’t hold in my laughter, though I didn’t fully explain why. (What she meant to say was that it was about a dog COOK, meaning the family in the story hired a professional French cook to make gourmet meals for the dog.)
Anyway, just two more small stories with more lead-up than actual content, but hopefully enjoyable. Thanks for reading.
So since my last “funny quotes” post, there have been a few more things that I felt like sharing. Here’s a few that stuck out in my memory…
This isn’t so much of a funny quote as it is a funny story. One of my cutest students is a (just turned) 2 year old boy who not only doesn’t speak any English yet, but also speaks VERY minimal Japanese. He’s a bit shy, but a lot of fun. Recently, he went to Hawaii with his mom, who is also my student. When he got to the airport, he was terrified of all the foreigners, so to try and relax him, his mom told him they were all Scott. As she pointed to more and more people saying “look, it’s Scott!” he became more and more relaxed until he was totally okay. He came back to tell me (well, his mom told me) that he saw so many of me in Hawaii! He was so excited and it was adorable. Also, he’s finally started to at least understand some English, especially animal names. When we say “what does a gorilla do??” he responds by pounding his tiny little chest and going “ooooo.” Similarly, lions go “woaaarr,” dogs go “wanwan,” and owls say “whoooooooo.” Good times.
A similar cute story comes from my soon to be nephew, Michi. He is also 2 years old, but speaks plenty of Japanese and even a little English (hello, abc, 123, apple…). Maki’s sister was asking Michi “what is Maki’s fiance’s name??” and he thought about it for a second, then replied “ABC!” He was so proud, but his mom asked one more time. After thinking carefully, he confidently announced “apple!” I guess he figured I was foreign, so I must have some English name, and that was the only English he knows, so it seemed right to him! His brother Shin kindly corrected him “No, stupid- it’s Scott.” (In Japanese) but it was cute while it lasted.
Ok, so I guess this post was more about funny stories than funny quotes specifically, but whatever. There are plenty of other short funny stories that I can’t think of at the moment as well. I have inherited a class that loves trying to Kancho me (if you don’t know, google it), 5 year old girls who punch me in the ass every time I turn my back on them and little boys who will answer “poop” to almost any question as well as draw it anywhere they have space to draw.
I’ll post some more stories and quotes when they come to mind, but hope this is mildly entertaining for the time being.
So far, in my opinion, my updates have lacked anything mildly entertaining to anyone besides myself. I have, however, had lots of opportunities to write about funny or interesting things that have happened (of which there have been LOTS) and I simply forgot to write or forgot what the exact stories were before I could write them. Well, finally, I’ve put together a few recent quotes from friends and students that might be enjoyable to more people than just me. Most of these people are Hello School students/staff ranging from 7 years old to 50ish. Tano, however, is Maki’s (and now my) friend who’s English is extremely limited, but her personality is uniquely bubbly and funny regardless of what language she speaks (or tries to speak). Takeshi is a 32 year old advanced (private lesson) English student who has, what I think, is one of the funniest personality of all my students. Anyway, here we go:
Tano: Hisashiburi wa..? (Asking how to say it in English) Me: “It’s been a while!” Tano: izbunawolo! (huge proud smile on her face)
Tano: GOOD NIGHT!! NICE DREAM!!! NICE DREAM LOOK!! (We tell her ‘look’ is wrong) LOOK LOOK!!
Me: What time do you work tomorrow? Takeshi: 8 AM Me: Oh man, let’s see.. I have to work at… 4:40 PM Takeshi: PM??! How can I say this.. uh… ‘fuck you’?
(playing Guess Who) Muku: Do you have… a… black face? Masao: Yes! Muku: AH!
(A cold night, sitting outside of Starbucks) Tano: Oh no! Nose water! (snot, directly translated from Japanese)
(I came in halfway through this conversation… I think.) Shoko: Etsuko has 64 balls. Me: What??? Shoko: You know hachikin? (Famed Kochi local woman are called ‘eight balls’ because they’re as strong as 4 men, especially when it comes to drinking) Well etsuko has 64 testicles. If you fight her, you need 32 men! Me: …weirdest work conversation ever. (a little while later) Etsuko: I don’t have 64 balls, I’m a nice woman! Me: Anything you say! Please don’t hurt me! (a little later again) Shoko: Scott, Etsuko has 64, but I have 100 BALLS. (Keep in mind this conversation is in the middle of the work office, in front of students of all ages and English understanding levels.) You need 50 men to fight me. Luke: What if some men only have one ball? Shoko: Or 3! Luke: Yeah, how does that work? Shoko: Wait, do you know anyone with 3 testicles? Me and Luke: uh…. no? Shoko: Well, it doesn’t matter, I have 100 balls!
(Kanae is 7 years old. If anything, in my forgetfulness, I might have dumbed down her English here. She’s quite the fun student.) Kanae: My aunt went to Russia! Me: Really? Did you go with her? Kanae: Noooo. Me: Do you want to visit Russia some day? Kanae: NO WAY. Russian people are big, scary and dangerous. I’d be killed in the first day!
(I was having a somewhat normal conversation with a few Chuo High School students, when another punk boy came to ‘join us.’) Punk Kid: Hello. Me: Hey, what’s up? Punk Kid: Uh… uhh… (turning to girl next to him, speaking Japanese) how do you say ‘first time’? Me: (understanding his Japanese and thinking he is talking about having seen me and one of the new Hello School teachers, for the first time, the previous weekend at the mall.) “First time.” Punk Kid: Ya! First… uh, first time- no no… You. First time sex. When? Me: Oh, of course that’s what you’d ask. I’m not answering that. Punk Kid: OHHH (in Japanese) he has lots of sex! (Again, he turns to the girl next to him, and in Japanese asks) how do you say ‘how many times’? Me: here we go… Punk Kid: ONE WEEK, how many times sex? Me: You know, I’m your teacher! You’re a student! We can’t talk about this. Punk Kid: NO NO. Friends, friends. One week, how many sex? Me: No. Punk Kid: EVERY DAY! TEACHER SEX EVERY DAY! PLAYBOYYY! Me: This is my official notice on giving up teaching these students anything.
Takeshi: I went to China last week, sorry I was absent. Me: How was it? Takeshi: HORRIBLE! China is just terrible. Bad smell, bad food, bad people, dirty. China was terrible. —- (another conversation) Me: I think you’re a very modest person. Takeshi: What is ‘modest’? Me: Uhm, do you know ‘conceited’? Takeshi: No.. uhm…. (looks up conceited in an English/Japanese dictionary. He immediately has an epiphany.) OH! Chinese people!
Hope you enjoyed this. I’ll be trying to post more like it soon!
I have a few more small stories from this week at work, so I thought I’d write them now before I forget about them. Actually this is entirely about today, not “my week.” Whatever…
Saturdays for me mean waking up much earlier than the rest of the week (7:30) and driving about 20 minutes from my house to teach some elementary students in a nearby town (my normal work place is a 2 minute bicycle ride from my apartment and start time is no earlier than 11, unless I go to a local high school/junior high school). Although early and more out of the way than a normal work day, these three classes are some of my best. The students range from 6 years old to 12, but in almost all cases they are some of the hardest studying students out of all Hello School’s students. To top this off, they all have personalities that make the classes go by just as quickly and easily as their willingness to work does. They always do their best to have not just correct answers, but interesting ones; they aim for perfect pronunciation; they never take the easy way out of any challenge and they clearly appreciate any effort that I put into making the class funny or interesting for them. I’m pretty sure a teacher could ask for almost nothing more.
These classes do, however, sometimes manage to get me smiling even more than my simple enjoyment of 3 classes that run almost on autopilot. For starters, my “Japanese mom,” Etsuko always joins me in these classes and my small conversation time with her in between classes and during workbook time always puts me in a good mood. The students always give me little confidence boosters as well, such as “My teacher is Scott, I like him a lot, he’s fun!” in a speech to hundreds of students and parents. They’ve also given me lots of presents for my birthday, halloween, christmas and valentines day. Three separate students have even had to switch from Mama (the town these classes are in) to Hello Shcool private lessons, and have BEGGED their parents to find a time in their family’s schedule when they could come to Hello School so that they could be fit into my schedule instead of changing teachers. My last Mama class of the day is two 6 year old girls who I’m convinced are the #1 and #2 cutest little girls in all of Japan. Every week when they come to class they climb on me and ask me to play tag or some other game with them. Today, one of the girls who had been absent for the past few weeks returned to class, and when seeing me, RAN and JUMPED up on me and hugged me for at least 15 seconds. I’m a little bit curious if she has no father figure in her life and if that might have something to do with her liking of me, but she seems like a happy girl so I’m not too concerned, and it makes me feel like a successful teacher since she likes me so much. She did the same thing when I saw her at the movie theater a couple of months ago, which got me a lot of weird looks from old Japanese men.
Finishing up my day at Hello School is a class of 3 girls and one boy. The boy is a bit silly but he has fun and is a generally good kid. The three girls are really smart but as shy as anyone I’ve ever seen. Yet, at the same time, they’re the opposite of shy in many ways. It’s really hard to explain other than they seem to be conditionally, irrationally, off and on shy. Even when being shy though, I can tell they’re enjoying my class, I’ve seen solid improvement in their English and they have become more comfortable than before at least. This class includes the girl who had to pretend to tie her shoe to get the courage to give me a Valentine’s present after class (from my last post).
Anyway, long story short: my Saturday classes are some of the best classes I could have asked for and they leave me with a great feeling and sense of accomplishment going into the weekend. I thought maybe 1 or 2 people who would read this would appreciate it- especially anyone who has tried teaching and actually cares what the students think about them or what kind of effect you might have on them, personally and educationally.
After typing this, as usual, I feel it’s incredibly boring. So, sorry. I typed it already, I’m posting it.
Anyway, I’ve had plenty of awesome, funny and interesting times since my last post, most of which I forget. The last few weeks, however, have brought a few new semi-interesting stories that I can remember, at least for now.
A few weeks ago my junior high school classes had their last speech “contest” of their junior high school lives. In English classes (maybe only at this school?) the boys and girls are seated on opposite sides of the classroom. To no surprise, the boys usually mess around the whole class and girls work diligently. More or less. At any rate, the boys’ speeches tend to follow the example given almost word for word (or sometimes exactly word for word). The girs get much more creative. The boys write the bare minimum of ten lines, some girls have 2 pages worth. I’m not sure if this means that girls are smarter or just that boys grouped together is a bad idea if you’re trying to get good work done, but it doesn’t really matter. So, back to the speech contest. About half of the students managed to more or less memorize their speeches better than I probably could. The other half …well, were a bit slower and may or may not have stopped reading off their paper for more than 0 seconds. One student had been absent for the past few weeks though, so had nothing prepared. When it came to be his turn, the teacher suggested to try his best to follow the pattern he’d seen in the other students. I give him much credit for trying, and he wasn’t shy at all. In fact he was quite the opposite. He decided to practically yell his entire speech and it went something like “WE HAD A SCHOOL TRIP TO OKINAWA. OKINAWA IS VERY BEAUTIFUL. OKINAWA’S SEA IS VERY BEAUTIFUL. OKINAWA’S FOOD IS WONDERFUL. FRIENDS WERE WONDERFUL. AQUARIUM WAS BEAUTIFUL. FISH WERE WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL.” and it went on for about 3 minutes like that. Many things were repeated, but they were all “wonderful,” “beautiful,” or both. Interesting kid.
Today, in the same junior high school, the students were writing messages to their friends for graduation, much like the notes we tend to write in yearbooks at the end of the year. (If you didn’t know, students in Japanese schools graduate in March and begin school in April -I think). The second half of the class was going to be dedicated to listening to “Hero” by Mariah Carey and filling in blanks on a lyrics sheet they had been given. The teacher decided to play the entire CD at low volume in the background while they were writing their messages, which is fine. What I didn’t expect though, was the fairly intense (though PG) rap which kicks off the CD. The students all were shocked and confused when she started the CD and I could barely hold in my laughter, but the funniest part was that the teacher had absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever. Shortly after, I noticed that the “wonderful and beautiful” student had been writing “you were a wonderful, beautiful class” as his message. He even wrote it twice for some reason that is beyond me. His friends told me his favorite word is “subarashii,” which means wonderful, splendid, terrific, etc and he always says it. As I said, interesting kid.
This past Sunday was Valentine’s Day and several students gave me some sort of chocolate or candy for a present. They were all really nice but one girl was funnier than the rest. She’s somewhere around 10 years old (my memory isn’t good enough to remember every students’ exact age) and I’ve had her as a student since September. I know her mom and I’ve even seen her out in public at the mall, so by now she shouldn’t be shy around me anymore, I would think. In class she’s the complete opposite of shy, exept that she won’t let me see anything she writes or any pictures that she draws. She flat out refuses. She’s actually torn up a picture before so I couldn’t see it. She’s also insanely shy all around when we’re not in the classroom, which confuses me. Anyway, at the end of class the day before V-day, she was kind of waiting around and finally told me to stop and not leave, while telling the other students to go. They all left and she said she had something for me, but then chickened out and said forget it and ran out. I left the class to find her pretending to tie her shoe in order to wait for me, and she handed me a box, said a quick and quiet “happy Valentines Day” and literally ran away. She did more or less the same thing after coming back from Tokyo Disney and had a small souvenir for me. A very sweet girl.
In general classes are getting to a much more comfortable level, I feel I’m learning more about teaching every day and becoming closer to many of my students, children and adults. With the exception of 2 or 3 students, they’re all improving greatly both in English and in personal confidence. I’ve even had some students who have to switch classes BEG their parents to switch to a time when I can still be their teacher. It’s a good feeling!
These stories were interesting/funny to me, but probably boring as hell to you, so I’m sorry if you actually read all this. If I remember some funnier stories then I’ll try to make notes of them so I don’t forget, but don’t count on it. Thanks for reading!
This past week I was really sick. I had 5 of the 7 symptoms listed for swine flu, and it says if you only have 2, you probably have it. So I assumed I had it. I stayed home from work for 2 days but now I’m feeling better. Yesterday I went to the hospital owned by my student’s father. He tested me officially and let me know I was in the clear for swine. The test was totally unexpected though. He came at me with a long Q-tip looking thing, and told me he was going in my nose with it. I’m not sure if where it ended up qualified as my nose or the back of my eyeball, but it hurt like hell (while simultaneously tickling). My eyes didn’t stop watering for about 5 minutes. It was an embarrassing trip back to the waiting room. Anyway, I’m now swine free, feeling mostly better and back to work.
In other news, guess what! I forgot my other news. I have been getting a really bad habit of sitting down to write something then forgetting what it is. So for now, that’s all- I’ll blame it on the sickness. Thanks for reading?
The last few weeks or however long it has been since I’ve posted anything have been great. I’ve seen lots of amazing, interesting and of course funny things. I always tell myself to take notes on things I want to write about, but if I’ve done it, it’s slipped my mind where my notes are. For now, I’ll write about the main parts of what I’ve been up to and hope that it stirs up some more interesting memories in my mind.
In the past week I’ve been to 3 free concerts. Free because of a combination of awesome people I know and generous students providing free tickets. The first was a Halloween concert, where the last of the three bands dressed accordingly, and very VERY interestingly. The singer’s costume consisted of a viking helmet, thick chain necklaces and leather chaps with fairly skimpy underwear easily viewable underneath. Aside from the “interesting” get-up, the music was great. The last band was pretty heavy metal and they were all incredibly talented. The singer’s voice had one of the largest ranges I’ve ever heard and it was always on key. Afterwards my friend Maki and I went to the Hirome Halloween party. I’ll explain more about that later.
The second and third concerts were both yesterday. The first was the Kochi Symphony Orchestra, 2 tickets provided by my student who plays violin in the orchestra, free of charge. I went with a couple of the other students from her class, Shunsuke and Souichiro. The concert was great and afterwards the three of us went to the batting cages for a bit and then played some darts. I went home to take a few hour nap and then at night was my third concert. The rock n’ roll grandma who I’ve posted about before gave me two tickets for this concert at Kochi’s largest venue. Maki and I went and the grandma and her adorable granddaughter immediately found us (yes, her 4ish year old granddaughter was at a heavy rock concert running around by herself most of the time. She actually wasn’t the only young child I saw there, which I thought was weird. Lots of cigarette smoke, alcohol and loud loud music, of course there are small children. Why not?) Anyway, the concert was really good, and the headlining band was a Japanese Led Zeppelin cover band. It was amazing! A very good and accurate Led Zeppelin cover band who’s English was probably more or less limited to the words in the songs that they sang.
So that was my free concert trilogy. As for the Hirome party, it was pure insanity. I’m too lazy to check if I’ve explained Hirome before, so here’s a quick explanation and possibly recap. Hirome is a large hall in Kochi City’s downtown area. Inside must be close to 50 food vendors, small restaurants and/or food stands. You can find Japanese traditional food, Chinese food, American food, Indian food and probably just about everything in between. However, Hirome is hardly known for their food. If you walk into Hirome almost any time of the day from open until close at 11PM you can find much more than a handful of people drinking (heavily). Kochi collectively has what most of the world would consider a drinking problem. But in Kochi, it’s normal, and entertaining. Most people here drink heavier than anywhere else- men and women (especially the women).
Enter: The Hirome Halloween Party. This event began when the normal Hirome hours ended. Needless to say, many people “pre-gamed” which in Hirome talk equals at least 2 people being dragged out because they were too drunk to walk within the first half hour of the party, and that’s just what I saw. Crazy drunks aside, the party was what many would call “off the hook.” There was a reduced entrance price for anyone with a costume, and these people went all out. In the weeks leading up to the party many people claimed it would just be lots of drunk girls in skimpy outfits, however, I saw far more men in skimpy outfits than women. Naturally. Anyway, Maki and I decided not to dress up (underestimating how many people were actually going to be dressed up), but the party was still more than entertaining enough without our own costumes. There were 2 live bands, a costume contest and a dance contest. All along with heavy drinking. Everyone in Kochi must have been there, and then some. I don’t have any pictures (regrettably), but my friend does so I will steal theirs and post them on my own facebook.
Otherwise, life has been chugging along like usual. Work has been slowly improving as I get used to my individual students’ levels, learning habits and personalities. The biggest frustrations are setbacks when new students are added to classes just as they’re making solid progress. Small problems aside though, everything is going smoothly. My apartment situation has also severely improved. When I first moved in I had ant problems and it was dirtier than anywhere I thought would have been inhabitable. I’ve cleaned it remarkably, got rid of the ants (knock on wood) and even got a couch and rug for the main room.
The only fun fact that stands out in my mind after writing this is that they serve beer at the mall food court here. After my previous explanation of Kochi’s alcohol love level though, is it really surprising?
Ironically, today I learned the Japanese word for intense.
It’s ironic because today was my most intense day of teaching since I’ve been to Japan. By “intense” I mean I woke up at 9:30AM to QUICKLY shower and down a cup of coffee before going to teach 2 classes at Kochi’s (and possibly Japan’s) worst high school. Usually these classes are bad, but I’m alone so there’s no pressure and I just chat with some of the students. They like me, they make an effort at English, all is well. Today of course, my boss joined me in class. Intensity boost #1.
After my two death school- I mean high school classes, we literally ran to the car and almost literally flew to the Kochi Airport (ironic again?). I had three private lessons in a row with air traffic controllers from 1-4PM. This was pretty cool, especially since I got to go look around in the air traffic control room and the air control tower. I’m sure that’s a fairly rare experience. Only problem is it would have been much cooler if I wasn’t doing it on a stomach that hadn’t had more than coffee and a coca-cola since 8PM the night before. I managed to make it through and luckily Etsuko stopped and got me food on the way back to Hello School. I haven’t mentioned Etsuko yet in my posts. She is a secretary at Hello School and a completely awesome woman. I feel that if I had a Japanese mom, it’s her. She buys me food and snacks all the time, always goes out of her way to help me with anything I’m having trouble with, and even shows off my ex band’s music to my students with the proudest smile on her face.
Anyway, after the quick food pit-stop we tried to rush back to Hello School in full on rush-hour traffic. Ironic again. I got back to Hello School 15 minutes late for my lesson (through no fault of my own-so no problem). I had 2 lessons back to back at Hello School then had to ride my bicycle downtown and meet a woman at her house for a 1 hour private lesson. I finally finished at 8:30, after my literally non-stop day from 9:30AM to 8:30PM. I am just very glad I managed to get food. For the record, eating McDonalds in a class of 10 year old girls gets a lot of giggles.
My private lesson was actually a very enjoyable and interesting end to the day. The woman is extremely rich. She owns 5 stores throughout Shikoku island and owns the entire 5 floor building in which she lives/works. Her apartment is at the top of the building and I honestly thought it was a fancy fancy hotel until she told me it was her home. She made me tea and everything. When I left she also gave me a very large bottle of Shochu, a Japanese alcohol. She said she got it a week ago but doesn’t drink it, so it’s for me.
When I left her amazing house/apartment/building, I ran into Sunny- one of Kochi’s few black people. He’s a giant man from Nigeria. He’s one of the friendliest people here, and that’s saying something. He owns a hip-hop clothing store downtown but is usually just seen walking around aimlessly. He asked for my help setting up a Facebook account but tonight is no good for me, so we swapped emails and will meet up this weekend.
I’m finally home and I’m finally going to eat non-rushed. Then I’m not going to move for approximately 14 hours.
EDIT: The gigantic black man rides the tiniest bike I’ve ever seen.
Most of my students are fantastic. I have lots of really smart and really hard working students of all ages. Some have more energy than others but they’re all fun and it’s enjoyable to teach them through games, songs etc. Naturally however, there are the crazy students. I wouldn’t say “bad” because they’re just young kids usually. Young kids with the attention span of a goldfish and energy as if a can of mountain dew was shot straight into their veins.
I have a class with 2 boys age 5 or 6- actually, 3 boys since last week. The first time we met one student was late, so the first 10 minutes or so was one on one. The kid was great.. fairly smart and enough energy to make the class fun. Then the second came in. He must have slipped the first kid something when I wasn’t looking because the energy suddenly went sky high. Let’s just say the class ended with one student screaming at the top of his lungs as if I were beating him savagely lying face down on the floor. For no reason. He wasn’t mad, upset, sad- nothing. He was laughing. Also, his mother was sitting right outside the classroom and I was SO afraid she was going to burst in thinking that I was murdering her child. Maybe I should have just beat him savagely for real… Since that day the lessons have gotten slightly better but they still love to yell answers at the top of their lungs instead of just say them. They also love throwing flash cards and pushing the games off the table when we play. They WERE improving. Were. Then last week child number three joined as a trial student (and I believe will continue as a normal student). I never thought the other two children would appear more well behaved or have a better attention span that anyone. If a mosquito in the room hiccuped, this new kid would have got up and looked for it to see if it was ok. I could not get him to finish a single sentence without drifting off. It will be very interesting trying to regain control of the three of them.
I have another class with 5 students all around age 10. There are 2 girls and 3 boys. 2 of the boys are brothers. The girls are totally snooty- they won’t participate unless I make fun of them and make them laugh. I started calling one Sadako (like the girl in The Ring) because she always covers her face with her hair. It’s starting to make them participate a bit more. Victory #1. The two brothers have a clear skill level difference. The older is a great student. A bit silly, but mostly well behaved and smart. The younger brother could be smart but is just way too childishly energetic. I often have them teach me the Japanese word for their English vocab because they find it fun to teach me Kanji etc. and it breaks up the lesson a bit, keeping their attention level constant. This one boy however manages to draw unko (poop) all over the board when I’m not looking instead of Japanese vocabulary. He’ll also answer almost everything with the word “unko.” ME: “There IS one flower, there ARE two ….?” TOYO: “TWO UNKO” Yep. Fun class haha. The one boy leftover is a smart and totally well behaved and mature student. Poor kid is so out of place. I give him more actual educational attention when he needs it though so he’s not missing out. He likes the class but behave so drastically different.
Another class of mine is all girls except for one boy. This class is another real mix of kids. The boy is a totally good kid. He’s relatively smart for the class and his attention is easy to keep. One girl is well behaved and only speaks when spoken to, and she’s also very smart, but she simply sits and does her regular school homework the entire class! She still manages to answer questions and participate vocally though so I let it slide. Then there are Mao and Sayaka. They’re actually quite smart- especially Mao. They simply gab amongst themselves in Japanese constantly and don’t pay attention. If I call on them directly they always immediately know the answer so it’s hard to get mad but it’s entirely distracting. The last girl is little tiny Fumika. She’s adorable and tiny but the girl refuses to study English. I don’t know why her mother pays for lessons because she simply has no interest in it. I can get her to spit out a handful of words per lesson but mostly she doesn’t participate, not even in games, which most students love. She often doesn’t even come in the room until 10 minutes after class starts and she leaves without taking stickers (these Japanese kids go apeshit over stickers. Seriously. It’s so strange. Even boys love the glittery cupcake stickers.)
I have many more interesting students, but for now, there are a few of them. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Every day in Japan is entertaining for one reason or another. I’ve seen street breakdancing competitions, BMX bikers practicing downtown nightly, full fledged mafia members, grandmothers with purple hair, old women fall off their bike and a crowd of people ask “are you ok?” for 3 minutes before one person steps in to help her get up, guys dressed trendier than the trendiest American girl and famous Japanese authors talking to me for 30 minutes even though I only understand 15% of what they’re saying. This is all ignoring one of the most common forms of entertainment for foreigners: Japanese comical attempts at speaking English. Having studied Japanese for a while and my skill level being far from even conversational, I admire Japan’s level of English. Most people simply lack the confidence to speak English out loud and make a mistake. There are, however, many many many comical efforts made by those who perhaps SHOULD be a bit more unconfident. For instance, many stores seem to love writing their signs or advertisements or tag-lines etc in English (for what reason, I do not know), but for some reason they decide to do so without having any native English speaker check it! I’m not saying they should pay someone to come in and check a 5 word sentence they’re going to use, but why not at least wait until a foreigner comes in the store and just say “Hey, is this right?” before painting it on the wall of your building. There are examples of this all over Japan- grocery store signs boasting “Healthy food makekes you happy,” an entrance sign for a parking lot saying “NI” instead of “IN,” and Sega World’s giant mural misspelling several words. Japanese clothing also very often has English on it, but very rarely does it make sense (and if it does, it’s far from grammatically correct). One of my classes had me check everything English they had with them- notebooks, pencils, clothes etc- and of course there were several mistakes. What really shocked me was one girl’s shirt. It had a random assortment of words related to beauty or love (completely random) and many of the words or phrases were repeated. One phrase that I saw twice was spelled differently each time. On the same shirt.
Japan also seems very casual about sexual things. In the movie store they have a specific adult movie section of course, but for some reason the top few shelves of every section (and I mean every section- horror, comedy, suspense..) has “erotic movies” with nudity right on the cover. In convenience stores at any time of day you can often find more than one guy browsing a porn magazine right in the open (magazines are also located right against the window, so they’re visibly browsing porn to people inside and outside of the store). More than all this, what really shocked me was when I was browsing the ice cream freezer. Yes, I was sexually surprised by an item in the ice cream freezer. It’s an item called “Oppai Aisu.” Aisu just means ice, but oppai means breast. At first I thought I was wrong so I took a closer look and it’s a round balloon of ice cream with a nipple and everything. To eat it you cut off the tip of the nipple and suck the ice cream out. And yes, Japanese people think it’s A-OK. As far as Japanese sexuality is concerned, I’m fairly certain this is just the tip of the iceberg (no Oppai Ice pun intended).
I’ve also met some quite interesting people since I’ve got here. I have met people from Britain, Scotland, Ireland, China, Korea, Philippines, Canada, Denmark and most likely more that I can’t think of. One man that I met has lived in Japan for 42 years and is now retired. Over the years he has had many interesting jobs and has seen more of the world than anyone I know. He has visited 88 different countries, including Antarctica and the north pole. Needless to say, he had some stories.
Another very interesting but awesome person I met is the grandmother of a Hello School student. This grandmother must weigh no more than 70 pounds, has long black hair and is always dressed in some combination of a leopard print sweatshirt, a rock n’ roll t-shirt, jeans with a studded belt, bracelets or whatever else goes with it. She owns a rock/metal-themed bar and is almost always drunk or hungover. She is, however, one of the nicest women I’ve met (although I haven’t really met anyone who wasn’t extremely nice). She is absolutely unique.
Although I have had my share of frustrating moments, Japan is anything but boring.
I’m back in the 21st century. I now have Internet and even TV.
When I moved to Japan, I stayed in Osaka for about 11 days.. with occasional internet access, so I had a few updates here and there etc. I moved to Kochi to find the previous tennant’s internet still present and working! Assuming I would just take over his bill, I was pretty relieved. After about 3 days though that idea was taken away and “my internet” was taken out. I inquired about getting some new internet set up and was told to take a 5 minute bike ride and I could get it sorted out. Well, I should have never expected it to be easy. I found that there is a 3 week minimum wait between signing up for internet and GETTING internet. I was under the impression giving me a modem was no big deal (and in the end it was not- but I had to wait anyway). Not only did I have to wait three weeks, but I had to have my Alien Registration Card in order to even initially sign up. I arrived in Kochi on August 22nd, and filled out paperwork for my card on the 25th. I had a temporary paper which sufficed for getting a phone and bank account, yet the paperwork was not good enough to sign up for internet. Awesome. My actual card would not be ready until the middle of September. SO, after a long and annoying wait, it is October 7th, and my internet was “installed.” (They came and spent two minutes changing the plug in my wall, and the modem came in the mail) I also spent 3/4 of that time with no TV- no entertainment in my apartment whatsoever. My cable box will arrive in under a week and I will finally have not only internet, but enjoyable TV (the free Japanese cable is less than entertaining especially without understanding most of what’s being said.)
Otherwise, I’ve settled into Kochi very comfortably! I’m adjusting to my job for the most part, and even enjoying it usually. I’ve made lots of friends (American, Japanese and a wide variety of others). I’ve been driving to some of my classes (at local schools or other random classrooms) and even though everything is reversed, driving has been easy. I’ve been able to explore the city quite a bit and it has some really fun areas and also some really scenic ones (especially if you’re willing to make a semi-long bike ride). I’ve seen a lot of very rare and interesting things (and people), my Japanese is improving daily and my apartment is starting to feel a bit like a comfortable home.
I have a neverending list of funny or interesting stories but I’m not going to write them all out now. I’ll try and write about them when I’m up to it or when something new happens, or you can just ask me about them. I’m tired and there is a typhoon outside my window right now though, so this is it for this post.
I’m alive and well and finally back in modern times.
I’ve finally made it to my apartment in Kochi City! I got in last night around 5 and I basically haven’t stopped besides sleeping since then. I was picked up at the bus station by my boss and brought back to the school. They were just finishing up Saturday’s lessons so I was able to meet some kids and 4 or 5 teachers. Everyone is so so nice and laid back! After that my boss brought me to my apartment to drop off my bags and talk to my landlord (her translating for us was easier than a broken English/Japanese convo). I had to rush back out on the bike that was loaned to me to meet Rosie, another teacher at my school, for her to show me around the city. We got dinner and a few drinks and she told me all about the school and the city. I rode around for a bit, but it was late so I came home and VERY semi-settled in before falling asleep.
Today I woke up and hopped on the bike to ride downtown. It’s about a 3 minute bike ride which is awesome, and the downtown area is huge. I parked my bike at the end and walked over one block to go down the mile long open air market. It was mostly fruits and veggies so I didn’t get any of that, but I did get a really nice Japanese chef’s knife for cheap! A few people who read this will know how much that excites me. I bought almost everything in the dollar store and was forced to walk back to drop it off since it was too much to carry on the bike. When I came back I found a really nice bedside table, again for really cheap, so I got that and once more walked it back to my apartment. I FINALLY got back to my bike and rode around the city a bit more, found a store that must be made for chefs because it had the biggest collection of FANCY plates, bowls, utensils, cups, pots, pans etc. Again, even though I’ll never buy most of it, some people will know how cool this was for me. I ended up getting a good sautee pan there because the ones that were left for me are pretty old and I don’t trust them. Then I went to the supermarket for a few more small things and met another American guy who invited me to dinner. I had too many groceries and didn’t feel like eating Cajun so I passed, but got his number to hang out in the future. When I got home I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom for about 2 hours, because it needed it. And now I’m finally relaxed.
It’s been a crazy couple of days, and I’m sure it will get crazier. Tomorrow I will go get my alien registration card, bank account and phone. Tuesday I start “training” (aka watching and actually teaching). I have pictures on facebook and I’m far too lazy to upload them here now. Go check them out and see where I’m living!
Tonight and last night were so much fun! Last night, we went to a place called Spoccha with Nahoko’s friends Kashitani and Haruka. It’s a huge building with almost every sport/game you could think of and we spent from around 11PM to 3AM there. There were normal sport things like tennis, pool, soccer, roller blading, golf, mini-golf, batting cages, darts, bowling, ping pong, basketball (full court and the little ones like in arcades). There were also some more random things like a room that reminded me of a paintball field (with places to hide) and lots of balls to throw at the other team, fishing (big fish too!) and a balloon filled room (although this part was for “kids only” we went in since there was no one there). There’s not much to say about it which that description and the pictures won’t say. It was huge, awesome, fun and Nahoko’s friends were really cool.
Check my facebook album “Osaka” for pictures from Spoccha -I’m too lazy to upload the pictures here right now. It’s 1 AM.
Today I saw the first white person since I got here exactly 1 week ago! It’s kind of a funny story. We had plans to go eat dinner at Nahoko’s friend’s house and we knew there would be an English teacher there. Neither of us had ever met him before so we had no idea what he looks like. Anyway, earlier today we were driving to the electronics store to figure out what kind of phone plan I will be getting when I get to Kochi, and on the way I saw a white guy. I got really excited and said “Look! American!” (he may or may not have heard me, but he definitely looked at us.) Nahoko jokingly said “It’s probably the teacher that will be at my friend’s house tonight!” We laughed and forgot about it. A couple of hours later we showed up at her friend’s house and when we opened the door guess who was there giving her daughter a pre-dinner English lesson! Yep, American guy! He even remembered seeing us earlier! Turns out he was a really nice guy. He has lived in Japan for 9 years and he now owns an English school with his wife. He was able to give me some good pointers, advice and just helpful knowledge about adjusting to and living in Japan. Nahoko’s friend and her family was really nice too. An older gentleman who is 65 knew some English and I am pretty sure he didn’t stop talking to me the entire time. His English was VERY broken so it took him the whole night to make what could have probably been a 10 minute conversation about how today’s generation isn’t as good as his was, but that Nahoko, the high school girl who was also there and I seemed to be good kids. He also told me that he has traveled abroad over 60 times! He’s been to probably every major tourist attraction in the entire US including Yellowstone park, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and various other cities all over the country. He was raving about lots of American things and how great they are. It was a really funny conversation. We had lots of food, beer, ice coffee and as usual everyone was very friendly towards me. The 3 young kids were playing the whole time and they were so cute, and the high school girl who visited was really nice even though she was very shy. She is studying English so we were able to talk a little bit as well. It was fun, but I don’t have any pictures from tonight. That’s all for now, time is flying by!
I finished my first whole meal last night! It had nothing out of the ordinary in it, which helped, but still.. it was nice. I had chicken yakitori, which is just chicken on a stick with some sauce on it, a meat/potato soup, rice and some Japanese pickles. Thursday night Nahoko’s friends visited and one friend who I had met before also brought me a large bag full of cookies, chips etc, so I’ve been enjoying those! Being around 4 Japanese girls who talked non-stop also helped me figure out another cause for my sleepiness. Being surrounded by 97% Japanese speaking people, almost all of what I hear all day is Japanese. Since I know some Japanese I can’t help by listen and try to understand whatever I can, and I am constantly reading signs and words on TV. After I thought about it for a minute, I realized that this is basically the same as studying the hardest I’ve ever studied, but for the entire time that I’m awake. I’m surprised my brain hasn’t completely shut down from me overworking it. So whenever I don’t think someone will be talking to me or about me, I’ve started spacing out a little bit. It helps. I’ve also realized that I like sports a lot more than I did before since it’s one of the few things that I can watch on TV without having to try hard to understand what is going on.
Anyway, yesterday was a pretty laid back, but fun day. I slept until noon instead of waking up at 8 AM like I have been since I got here. After browsing the net for a little while and taking a shower we went for a walk around Nahoko’s neighborhood. We walked through the park, played on some of those spring horse things, and walked by the elementary school where the kids were outside playing baseball. I think that I’ve mentioned how loud the cicadas are here, but I didn’t think I would actually SEE them as much as I do. They’re gigantic bugs and I see them flying around all the time, and I’ve seen some on the road and even in bushes as we walked by them. They’re harmless I think so it’s okay, but still… a flying bug the size of half a hot dog is pretty gross. We stopped at the supermarket to get some food for dinner and we saw a sign on the wall which read “Healthy food makekes you happy.” I’m surprised by some of the spelling errors that actually get posted places. I understand that mistakes will be made often, but if they’re going to put up a sign or paint English on a wall somewhere, I would think they would have someone check it first. (I also saw a big picture of sonic that had “needdy” instead of “needy” as well as “dose” instead of “does.”) When we got back from our walk, Nahoko’s dad was outside cleaning his motorcycle, so Nahoko decided to teach me how to drive hers. It took a few minutes to get used to it, but it was a lot of fun! In Japan the motorcycles (scooters) weave in and out of traffic even driving between cars to get ahead, so having one is really convenient. They’re too expensive for me to get for a while, but if I decide to stay here longer then maybe eventually I will get one. Last night we ended up going to Yuki’s apartment to visit Saki before she went back home (she had been staying there for a few days). Nahoko’s aunt, uncle and Saki were there, but Yuki was out somewhere. I taught Saki how to say some English words, she learned to write my name in English and tried to copy my cursive signature. Then she taught me her name and Yuki’s name in Kanji and also a bunch of other words. Her aunt was laughing because she taught me “death” and “blood.” It was a fun night and finally not too exhausting.
Here’s a few pictures from the past couple of days:
It’s been an eventful few days since I got here. Jet lag is a remarkable thing. I’ve been falling asleep whenever I’m not doing something for more than 15 minutes. My stomach is also struggling to adjust to Japanese food. It’s not that it doesn’t taste good, but when I eat it my stomach starts feeling weird/crappy and i feel like I’m full or sick. It’s getting better though, little by little. Yesterday we drove around the city for a little while and then went to a big 4 floor mall. We visited Nahoko’s cousin where she works and then just looked around at a few stores. When we went to Tower Records I found the new A Loss For Words CD… I knew it should be there so I wasn’t surprised, but it was pretty cool to actually see it. After that we went to an electronics store to figure out what phone/plan I will get once I get my alien registration card. The plans are much more confusing than phone plans in the US, so we’ll see how that ends up working. Then we went to pick up Nahoko’s friend Ichikawa to bring him to the supermarket, came back to her house to eat dinner and then went back to that same friend’s house to hang out for a while. We had some Japanese beer and Nahoko’s other friend Tsuboi came too. They’re both really funny and really friendly. Everyone I’ve met so far has been really easy to get along with.
Today me, Nahoko, her parents, her 2 cousins (Saki and Yuki) and her aunt and uncle went to visit her grandparents’ grave site. It was a couple hours of driving and that part of the trip took about 1 minute, so we all went to eat at a really fancy French restaurant. There was a 5 course meal with corn soup, salad, some kind of potato salad (?), steak and ice cream. The restaurant also served a huge variety of all you can eat bread. There was regular bread of course and also cheese bread, blueberry bread, croissants, tomato bread, british bread, maccha bread, green tea bread, chocolate bread etc. After that we all went back to Nahoko’s aunt and uncle’s house, which is an 80 (ish) year old very traditional Japanese style house. I took a few pictures, but should have taken more because the parts in my pictures are the least interesting parts of the house! Nahoko, Yuki, Saki and I even got to climb up a tall scary ladder into the attic (which had almost nothing in it) but it was something straight out of a Japanese Horror movie, so it was pretty cool. Saki, Nahoko’s 10 year old cousin, also taught me some Japanese games similar to rock-paper-scissors (but more elaborate). Actually, she she did also me the Japanese version of rock-paper-scissors, which has a few more steps than the one I learned growing up.
I’ve been pretty amazed with Japanese driving and their cars. Lots of Japanese roads are really narrow, except for city streets and highways, but the road that Nahoko’s aunt/uncle’s house was on was barely wide enough to fit 2 bikes (not exaggerating). I don’t think that there was more than a few inches on either side of the car, with a tall stone wall on one side and a half-a-foot wide ditch on the other. If driving down the street wasn’t hard enough, backing out of the driveway was even more insane. It took us about 20 minutes to get out and it was what I would call a 75-point turn. While talking about driving, I want to mention how there are close to NO Japanese cars on the road that have even a scratch or dent in them. All the cars are in perfect condition and even clean and shiny! A lot of their cars also have live TV and some kind of card or chip in them so that when driving through toll booths they don’t have to stop and pay, it just gets automatically charged to them as they drive through.
I’m still trying to catch up on sleep and force my stomach to adjust slowly, but other than that I’ve been having a great time, made a few friends and got to see everything from the big city of modern Osaka to an early 1900’s traditional Japanese house/neighborhood. Other than Nahoko, no one that I’ve met speaks anything close to fluent or conversational English. Her mom can usually translate what other people are saying in very simple words, but making back and forth conversation that way is tough. They still try really hard to communicate though, and any little English they can gather together will come out when I’m around. Trying to communicate also forces me to remember Japanese and string together sentences that I haven’t used before, and being surrounded by it really makes remembering vocabulary and grammar so much easier.
Before this gets deathly boring, I’ll stop here. I’ll include a few pictures from the past couple of days, probably more to come.
It’s 7 AM on Wednesday and I finally woke up from the coma that I fell into after arriving and eating last night. I’m thinking that maybe not sleeping the day/night before my flight was a bad bad idea, because it not only made me delirious from lack of sleep, but gave me a killer headache on my 13 hour flight and really messed with my stomach (which still isn’t 100% right). Other than that, my flights were great. I had a window seat on every single one and even had my own row on the 2 shorter flights. On the middle (13 hour) flight I had a really nice Japanese kid about my age sitting next to me who spoke some English, so we managed a little conversation. I also got to watch 2 episodes of the office, 1 of 30 Rock, the movie Push and played video poker for about 5 hours. Notice how little of that time I managed to sleep? Plane seats need to recline WAY more, I don’t think my neck has ever been so sore!
Anyway, I finally got to Tokyo and I experienced the first of what I hope doesn’t accumulate to many experiences of Japanese people simply agreeing with me when I ask questions instead of them having to try to explain in English. I was under the impression from the flight attendants that I would need to get my bags at baggage claim in Tokyo, go through customs, re-check my bags, go back through security, then board my last flight on Japan Air Lines. This kind of made sense to me since I knew that I would need to go through customs in Tokyo and I assumed that I needed to have my bags with me. Also, since technically I was changing airlines, I thought that getting and re-checking my bags didn’t seem insane. Well I got to the Passport check desk and asked the worker if I was correct that I would need to do that, and he said “Ya, go down there!” So when my bags didn’t come, naturally I was freaking out a bit. I went over to the desk and asked the American Airlines worker what happened and she quickly explained that my bags would continue to Osaka and I would just get them there. She was so helpful that when I needed to find out the address I was staying at for the Customs paperwork, she let me use her own cellphone to call and find out. I had a few more misunderstandings like that trying to find my gate for JAL but eventually found it and boarded my last (and most pleasant) flight.
When I got to Osaka everything went quickly and problem free. Nahoko picked me up and drove me back to her house, then we went to eat with her parents at a Japanese style barbecue restaurant. I felt bad because my stomach wasn’t feeling normal and I couldn’t eat too much, but what I did eat was delicious. There was SO MUCH food brought to the table, I thought it would never end. Japanese style barbecue is just like a normal restaurant but there is a grill in the middle of the table and the food brought is all uncooked meat, fish and veggies. You throw it all on the grill yourself and dip it in the different sauces they give you. There was also rice, soup and lots of things that I do not know what to call. I ate cow tongue! It was actually delicious! I also had some BBQ squid, which was okay. I’m not a huge fish fan so I think I’ll have to acquire that taste pretty quickly. I had melon soda too which was really good. We came back and watched a little TV, I used their massage chair and then I soon PASSED OUT. I woke up at 7 AM because the cicadas are so so loud here, but I wasn’t too tired anymore so it’s okay.
Well that’s about all for now, I have a couple pictures of the room that I’m staying in for now. I’ll write more soon I’m sure. Thanks for reading!
My last week in the United States has passed, and with a busy day tomorrow and a day comprised of mostly sleeping on Sunday, I feel that my time here is essentially over. I’ve been thinking about moving to Japan since last August (or earlier) and the time is finally 2 short days away. I’ve seen most of my friends for the last time before I leave and this whole summer, especially the past few weeks, has been incredibly awesome.
I originally was going to write a long detailed sappy post before I left, but I decided against it. What I really want to say is much simpler than all of that. To all my close friends (you know who you are) I will miss you terribly. You’ve all been there for me through thick and thin, supported me, had fun with me and taught me a lot over the years. To all my family who has supported me and helped me out especially this summer, I can’t thank you enough. You’ll be missed as well, but will be hearing from me plenty. You are always welcome and encouraged to come visit me. I’ll give you a place to stay and show you around. I hope that over the next few years (if I end up staying that long) that I will see at least some of you.
With that said, I’m totally excited to be moving and even though my flight is only 2 short days away I’m very impatient! I’ll be missing American TV and not having to work, but I’ll finally be making good money, I’ll have my own apartment and I’ll get a chance to live in Japan!
I’ll be staying in Osaka for 10 days with Nahoko and her family, and then will move into my apartment in Kochi on the 22nd. I’ll have internet at Nahoko’s house so will most likely post pictures and other stuff on here and on facebook. Once I get to Kochi there will be many more to come. Until then… I dunno, It’s 2 AM and I can’t think anymore, but this post is done!
Apparently I’ll be teaching a junior high school class once a week along with their normal teacher, not just the one lesson. I guess this is good because I’ll get experience as an independent teacher and an ALT. I just hope that my ALT experience is limited to junior high school; I heard that the high school students are almost 100% uncooperative in English classes since they have so much stress on them already to prepare for real life. Junior high school should be a little more fun, even though it’ll of course have it’s own problem children. I’m completely anxious!
I woke up this morning to an email telling me that I have to put together my first lesson plan! I’ve been scheduled to teach a class at a Junior High School alongside a Japanese English Teacher. Their class has been learning about John manjiro and since he is famous for his time spent in New Bedford and Fairhaven, they want me to give my own lesson on his life. I have to do some research and go take some pictures to incorporate into a Powerpoint segment, and the rest of the lesson will be planned with their normal teacher. It’s not quite an English lesson (although it will be done in English), but I guess it’s a little exciting. Who would have thought that all those powerpoint presentations in school would actually prepare me for real life!? Anyway, I felt like sharing that, but that’s all for now! 17 more days until I leave!
Of course, I’m getting to Osaka 2 days AFTER this huge three-day concert. There are so many awesome bands (and a lot of weird ones or ones I don’t care about), but I’m sad I can’t even go watch from the fence like I thought I was going to be able to!
I set up facebook to show when I update this blog (where I’ll be posting stories and pictures from Japan), and this post is my test to see how that works. Thanks to everyone who replied that they would read about my experience in Japan. For those who aren’t signed up for Tumblr, this will now post on facebook as a notification every time I update it here. I might post a few more times before I leave (August 10th) when I have something semi-noteworthy to say, but I’ll try to keep everything moderately interesting so it’s not wasting anyone’s time! Thanks for reading.
I made a big deal about trying to figure out the whole comments issue. I even tagged about a million of my friends on Facebook in a note to find out who would bother following me if I made this blog on another site where commenting was easier. Sorry if you were one of the (approximately) 1 million people tagged in that note. I figured out commenting on here with possibly a little more effort than it took to tie my shoes this morning.* Anyway, commenting on my posts is now 100% up and running, and while not much that I’ve posted so far is necissarily comment-worthy, if you feel so inclined to comment me with your thoughts or how much you hate me from time to time, I’d feel special.
*Note: my shoelace did decide to snap on my yesterday, so I’ve been trying to tie them with one regular loop, and one microscopic barbie-shoe-sized loop instead of just re-lacing for even sized loops. Being said, figuring out the comments issue was still really easy.
I’ve heard lots of comedians make jokes about commercials that make guys/husbands look stupid. I’ve seen plenty of these myself, with the woman explaining how easy the product is to use and the husband in the back tangled in the blinds. Or the commercial that claims “it’s hard to keep your house clean with kids, pets and husbands,” not only listing husbands after pets, but showing the husband trying to make something in the blender only to have it explode all over the place. I used to think this only worked one way, but I think that men have at least started to take their dignity back by publicly labeling women, specifically wives/girlfriends, as difficult and needy bitches. Case in point: the Sears price-match commercial that implies if the husband comes home too soon with what is realistically the best price on appliances, she won’t believe him and he’d face something worse than death (so the husbands all hang out playing ping-pong in Sears to fake being out on a long day’s search.)
This has nothing to do with my proclaimed “Japan themed blog,” but I felt proud that things are finally becoming fair and two-sided, so I wanted to share my excitement. Also, I’m far too bored.
I was just informed that the Work Visa paperwork that was supposed to take a month (and in some cases takes 2-3 months) is done! It was about 2 weeks, that’s it. I was semi-nervous that I would be ready to leave and still not have it done, so it’s a huge relief. Now I’ll be getting it delivered here in a week or so and just have to go finish up my part in Boston and I’ll be officially allowed to legally work in Japan! Woo
I will fly out of Boston Logan Airport on August 10th at 8:20am, arrive in Kansai International Airport at 6:05pm, Tuesday (Japan time; US time is 5:05am Tuesday)! So excited ..now just to wait on that damn work visa paperwork…
The job is in Kochi, on the Shikoku island right on the southern part of Japan. I’ll be working at Hello School teaching English classes to small classes of 5-10 students. Classes will range from 1 to 85 year old students (each class at the same age/skill level). I’ll have my own apartment in the city, get paid pretty decently and I’ll get to participate in some cool stuff like promoting relations with US schools, encouraging study abroad, christmas and other holiday parties, cherry blossom viewing party and even a “beer garden party” (yes, it was in my contract to go to a beer garden party!) I start my job officially on September 1st, but I will be leaving in the first week of August to go stay with Nahoko for a couple of weeks, then move to Kochi for about 10 days of settling in/observing/training before I start. I’ll be posting all sorts of pictures and stuff about where I am and what I’m doing. I just sent back all my completed contracts and visa applications today, so I was excited and figured I’d post now!
Now I really don’t have any more to post for a while…
I got a job teaching English in Japan! I will be moving to Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku Island, Japan in early August. I made a tumblr because I think it is a pretty trendy and convenient way to post pictures and blogs about what is going on in my adventure. Much like livejournal however, I will probably not post much here except for what’s going on in Japan. Before I leave I might post very occasionally about updates with job info and exciting things like that, but that’s probably it. I have some info already about the job but I’ll save it as an excuse for another post! That’s it for now. Fun fun.