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Long time to write ;_;

Sorry dudes, it's been pretty calm and casual. The thing about living on my own is that I don't do a heck of a lot. But it's been almost 11 months since returning to Japan and a lot of things happened. 

The Good from 2010-2011
- Visited Korea for the first time
- Visited Korea for the second time!
- Went to Nagano!
- Went to Nagoya!
- Went to Osaka/Kyoto/Nara!
- Went to Hiroshima!
- Went to Kyuushuu and Fukuoka/Nagasaki!
- Travelled all over Shizuoka!
- Have trolled Tokyo quite a lot actually. 
- Went to Yokohama!
- Learned more Japanese!
- Ate awesome food!
- Made great friends!
 - Liked my job!
- Made oodles of money!
- Paid off a good chunk of my student loan!

The Good that will come from 2011-2012 - AKA shit I need to actually get off my ass to do/ things I want to do
- I really want to go to Yakushima now. 
- Go back to Kanazawa for a visit
- Get my ass to Okinawa baby!
- Join the hot yoga studio in my town
- See about horse back riding lessons when I move to Gotemba
- Progress from not falling off my bike to riding it from point A to point B. 
- See Nikko
- Go back to Nagoya because it was pretty awesome
- Go to Yuki Matsuri in Hokkaido!
- Go see Hyakumon Goku Matsuri in Kanazawa because I actually missed it last time. 
- Singapore! Or Thailand!
-  Any suggestions?
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 Totally found out my awesome school with it's millions of super specific classes has a Disaster Response and Preparedness course on my free period. My JTE asked me to help her with an English lecture she has to do to the class about Mt. Fuji erupting. Which I think is awesome because it's supposed to help the kids out with helping English speakers out. But I'm thinking I might be sitting in on this class more often from now on...
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 Okay strange sleep last night. Yesterday was the first time back in my own bed since the big Shizuoka earthquake on the 14th so I was a little PTSD. But honestly. I was so tired I kept on consciously slipping into dreams. I have a lot of lucid dreams and what not but I don't really enjoy them. I usually end up in that weird paralytic state between sleeping and being awake. It sucks balls. But yesterday I was so worried I hadn't locked my door, I got out of the dream so I could check and got stuck in that in between. Then, pop, I forced myself awake. It was weird and unsettling. I locked my door and went back to bed and slipped right back into the dream. 

Fucking creepy. 

At least I've figured out how to wake up. That's good. I hated that part of it. It's weird though, my body does the whole sharp gasp and jerk people get when they suddenly wake up but I'm conscious through it. Gross. Totally not my favourite feeling. 

I'm thinking my insomnia when I was little wasn't so much that I couldn't sleep but that I kept on experiencing the lucid dreams and those weird inbetween states without realizing it. If Adult Me finds it unsettling I'm sure Little Me was freaked out. :D
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I don't think I've expressed just how much I love my new but unfortunately temporary JTE. 

First.

I mentioned a little about how cold my apartment was in the winter. She was shocked I only had a kotatsu and a small heater because my aircon is the pretty much the only unit avaliable without a heating function and I can't exactly carry a large heater from the train station to my apartment. Then I made a joke about my gas oven which has a tendency to explode when lit the wrong way. She took down notes and said that she would take me shopping soon. I told her she didn't have to because I felt bad. Afterall, she has two kids under the age of five and is currently due to have her third in a few months. She brush that off saying she also had a husband and as long as she was able to drive she was more then willing.

We also made plans to head out strawberry picking with her family one weekend but we decided to change it to lunch at her place. The reason? Her next door neighbor teaching Japanese to foreigners. She volunteers for Saturday lessons in Numazu that I can never make it out to. My teacher said she could probably arrange private lessons for me :D

Then, today, she looks up from her phone.

"Good news Alex! My friend is moving and she says she can give you her old heater and stove!"

When I asked how much she wanted for them, my teacher said, "Well, it's free because she doesn't want them anymore. But you can always give her a gift from Canada or something if you want."

<3 <3 <3 teacher.

My other JTEs are awesome and friendly but they are usually too busy or too shy to really help me out with issues I have outside of school. That's totally fine. I mean, it's not their job to drive me places because I want a new drying rack or call a million places for me to find a store that can deliver and install a new gas range. So I feel really lucky to have this one teacher, even if it's only for another month or so.
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Well, Lent doesn't start for another month but my taste buds are all ready craving vegetables. It's hard to remember that I've done almost eleven straight years of meatless springs (japan being the year I didn't) I think I'm going to try again this year. Sameish penalties I think. It just feel like a new year without spinach, chickpeas and tofu. Also, being veggie in japan means. New culinary adventure right?

The Great Japan 2011 40 Day Vegetarian Challenge Rules
1. Dairy and eggs ok if they are using in cooking progress/no other option.
2. Meat only ok if it would be insulting/uncomfortable for the host to refuse BUT
3. 3 day penalty for each meat meal! (so far I've only voluntarily broken down once when i was 13 but there have been a few unavoidable dinner parties I've had to eat meat at)
4. Fish ok as a last resort (it is japan after all)

This year lent starts in march for some reason and ends around my birthday. Most years Lent ends two weeks or so before my birthday but I usually have one or two penalties to deal with so I hold out for a meat filled birthday dinner. I really hope I can keep this up :D

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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I only teach with four different teachers and collectively we teach 8 classes the same lesson plan. I teach two classes with two teachers, three classes with one teacher and one class with the last teacher. Thank the Lord the one teacher I teach three classes with is AMAZING. She's a pro at team teaching and we play off of each other really well. I've learned a lot about teaching just from watching her. The one I teach 1 class which I get along with really well. We have the worst class to teach and our relationship feels like comradeship. One of the two class teachers- well, we get along, she's a wonderful person. But her spoken English isn't fantastic and I hate switching to Japanese with her in front of the class. The two classes I had one teacher before the break and a new teacher after the break. It's a long story involving maternity leave and such but for all intents and purposes, Teacher A is in Canada on break and Teacher B is back from maternity leave for her first two kids but is pregnant again.

Teacher A and I, well, we sit next to each other and her English is the best of all the teachers. Plus she's friendly. But she hates teaching high school. With a passion. It's the first thing she told me when I was picked up. My pred also told me this. She blames all her health problems on the stress of the kids. I dreaded her classes. Though I really liked the dumb but earnest 13HR and the obnoxious yet brilliant 11B, she made things insufferable. She would always scream at 13 for being stupid even if they were trying their hearts out and she gossiped with 11B WHILE I WAS TEACHING. Then Teacher B came along. I love Teacher B. With a passion. She's fluent. She speaks English and Japanese with me. Her sons are adorable. She asked me if I could include her in lessons more. She speaks English with the kids. She explains the local gossip if I don't get it. She lets me rant. She's awesome. She also loves 13HR for the same reasons I do. Even though they are really kind of dumb as a stump they always try, even though they are wrong each and every time. And 11B now has to behave :D

But she's leaving! To have her kid. In April. And I was totally willing to roll the dice and see what kencho through into the Land of Susono. What poor, unsuspecting teacher is going to be the new Alice in this very un-Japanese school with it's very un-Japanese kids and very un-Japanese brother in arms teachers' room. Crabby old man JTE? Bring it. Young, doe-eyed college grad? I'll take it!

But no. Teacher A is coming back. 

She broke the news to me before the break. She said that they asked her if she would be willing to come back as a full timer instead of the temporary work she has been doing for Teacher B's maternity. She hesitated. Hesitated! First mistake! You can't show weakness. If they give you an out, you take it! You can't get worst then Susono! We have a reputation. Teachers who have heard of us wince and teachers who haven't, well, you're a prime target to get sent here. 


(BTW, I totally love my school, delinquents and all. An example from today. We have one actual bad first year student who can get moody and grumpy if forced to do something. My JTE had to speak with him pretty severely while I was teaching a game to the class. In order to overcome the sudden tension, students who normally name started to participate. It warmed the corners of my heart)

So she's coming back. She had a bit of a meltdown her last day to me. She was wondering if she should speak with her old junior high school to try and get the decision reverse. I totally told her to go for it. Fight for your health and happiness! Don't give up! Courage!

... no hidden agenda or anything here...

I'm hoping she did. I hope they reverse it. Because I quite like my life and my job. And my kids. Who I'm pretty sure some will be taking an Elective English next year which means I get them back! A whole 10 or 20 of them! I'm excited. I have three weeks left with them and I'm quite sad to see them go. Like I said, dumb as bricks some of them. But for the most part, even when they try to bolt out the door at the end of class, I never really have class participation problems. 
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Spent the day doing nothing. That would be awesome if it wasn't the norm. I was planning on heading to Tokyo to grab some new glasses but, alas, the lure of catching up with some TV and laundry compelled me to stay. I tried to at least go for a walk but that didn't pan out either.

Tomorrow I definitely have to get out because my phone bill needs to be paid. I would go now but for sure my delinquent students are chilling at the Seven Eleven. Tomorrow it is. And I'm going to figure out how to take the local trains to Tokyo. I'm sick of the bus. At least on the train I don't have to sit in traffic. Plus, it's prettier.

Yesterday was fun though. My teachers are starting to open up. The scary PE teacher called me up in the teacher's room to invite me along to a drinking party. I caught a ride with the guys who live in my apartment building and discovered hot teacher lives above me! And we got to chat which was a first because he kind of avoids me. We went out for nabe at my favourite nabe restaurant and my Challenge eating skills apparently improve upon drinking. I managed to down level 10 nabe with the chem teacher which makes us badass and our picture is now going up on the wall of fame :D Also, I apparently like intestine. And kimchi. Two things I used to avoid.

It ended up being me, a female history teacher, the young female office worker and all male teachers which is a riot. I can out drink them all which, again, makes me badass. Also, one of the PE teachers is a full eleven months younger then me. He was all excited. When I was on exchange here we would have been in the same grade. I suddenly felt old ;_;

Then we went to the second drinking party and cheered for Japan in the FIFA Asian Cup. Still loads of fun. It's the second time I've been out with them and I really do enjoy it. They always try hard to include me but at the same time it doesn't feel like I'm dragging the conversation down. It helps I've lost any sort of self consciousness or embarrassment about myself. I think I broke when I put my IC train pass in the ticket booth instead of scanning it though and brought a whole train station to a halt. In front of my new foreign friends as well. Don't worry though, now that I've actually put that claim in writing I'm sure I will embarrass myself spectacularly very soon. I predict tripping over something and falling in class.