Monday, April 29, 2013

an update on japan

If you haven't guessed already.... I'm in Japan. I knew after I ended my job back in Taiwan that I wanted to teach - somewhere different this time. This time around it was way easier to get a job - having prior experience definitely helped. I think it took roughly a month of applying for jobs and going through interviews before I got a job offer. Yay for experience and confidence in knowing what I'm talking about in regards to teaching.

I've been in Japan - specifically Ichinomiya, for a little less than a month now. In that time I got a week of training - a lot of which consisted of me teaching classes where the teacher I was following observed me. Then I got some more observations by the head teacher where he sat in every class for two or three days. Nerve wracking as all hell. It was really hard for me to adjust in the beginning because my predecessor's teaching method was so different from my own. When he observed me I had to do it his way and it was awkward and stiff for me. On top of that I had never really taught adult classes, pre-kinder or preschool aged kids so I was really inept in those areas. The level of English between my Taiwanese and Japanese students is huge. Its taking some time to adjust to the change but I love being able to get this experience working with such a huge range of students from 3-4 year olds to senior citizens. My schools pretty awesome and everyone is so nice. 

I also got to experience moving in Japan. Not sure how many people can say they experience a move within Japan. The movers were these tiny Japanese men but so efficient. Our apartment got cleared out in a couple of hours. They brought padding cloths to protect the furniture and even provided us with moving boxes. They moved everything out including the washer, dryer, stove, etc and help connect everything too. It was really annoying to have just moved to Japan and then have to clear out an apartment filled with 10 years of abandoned stuff from previous teachers. Good thing I have a good roomie to make up for it! 

The hardest thing so far besides the language barrier is the fact that I need to bike everywhere. I only learned how to bike once back in college for around an hour. The beginning was horrible and I was crashing right and left. Especially scary when there are people on the streets and other bicyclists that I could potentially harm. Streets that had no sidewalks were also dangerous because I was afraid of falling into the street and having a car hit me, believe me there were a couple of near misses. I'm proud to say I've started to get the hang of it and no longer crash and eat s***. 

reflection... you don't know how bad I wanted to quote the line from Mulan here instead

I guess its about time I updated my blog. A lot of things have happened since I last posted but lets start with home. I was back in the states for a couple of months and didn't feel like I had much to blog about so hence the lack of posts. I also reverted back to a vegetative state where I would watch tv all night sleep until 6am and then wake up at 3pm to do it all over again. I blame the tomb like nature of my room since I don't have any windows, I don't wake up with the light and then just fall back asleep if I do open my eyes, since its so dark.

I'm super behind on all my other posts but so much time has passed now that writing about them just seems tedious rather than something I'm excited to do. Being back home was different, some of it good and some not so good. I was definitely experiencing some reverse culture shock when I got home. Entering a Walgreens was mind blowing and I acted like some overseas tourist exclaiming at the prices. Forget restaurants and having to pay for both tax AND tip. Yup took some time to get use to it all. Least of all being back home with my family. For the past six years, with me living in San Diego and then Taiwan, I haven't been home much. When I was home I only spent a week or a month max with my family. So going from complete independence to living with my family for a record long five months was a hardship. EXTREMELY SO.

Honestly I'm not much of a planner more of a follower. Someone makes plans and I'm always down to join them. In the past year I've lost touch with all my planning friends and my close friends are all followers like me. You should know who you guys are cause we didn't plan diddly squat the whole time I was back in the states. It's hard to admit how lonely I felt when I was back home. Of course I had my best friends and went out some but that's not the loneliness I'm referring to. I'm sure others can relate to this after being away for so long. It's the loneliness of coming back home and seeing how everyone has moved on without you. Maybe there are inside jokes and stories that your friends with their shared experiences can relate to, which you weren't a part of, or just the fact that everyone has a job while you're just idling around. It's different since everyone is growing in their own way and no longer are we all tied together by the same experiences but rather by the sharing of the tales of our lives. It was difficult to even get together for lunch or dinner since everyone has to work. Definitely not like school breaks when everyone was back home and ready to mingle.

All in all I was glad to have spent some time in the states. To catch up with friends and family. But I'm also so happy to be out of the country, doing something productive. Japan is going to be an awesome adventure and hopefully I'll document it better than I did the my time in the states!