One week before departure, here are my thoughts
I thought that it would be a fun idea to try and write out ideas, feelings and maybe even some cool facts about my time in Japan. I’ll be leaving on Saturday, August 3rd 2019 which is a week from where I currently sit at my laptop writing. It’s Saturday evening right now and I’m at home with Nikola and Honeydew in the dining room. Outside our neighbours are celebrating a birthday party. The weather is pretty nice with a cool breeze and Honeydew has decided to sit on my lap. Well, here goes my first post of rambling and floaty thought particles that come to mind.
Everyone keeps asking “Where in Japan are you going?” and I internally cringe as I see the excitement on their face change to confusion when I try to explain the location of the tiny town that I will be living in which is nowhere near the popular 3 cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
Then the next question hits, “Are you ready?” and “Are you excited?”
To the first question, I’ve been procrastinating with learning Hiragana and Katakana. I was planning on learning vocabulary but I haven’t really spent that much time working on my writing and memorizing. Instead I’ve been binge-watching some new animes and some shows on Netflix. I’ve pretty much finished my laundry and packed away a lot of my stuff but I haven’t weighed out everything or double-checked to make sure I have everything. I’ve spent most of June and July buying miscellaneous clothing pieces that are more appropriate for working in a school since my previous wardrobe mostly included old t-shirts and leggings. I renewed my drivers license and health card, and have withdrawn a lot of cash since I’ll have to pay my apartment deposit right when I arrive. I still need to get my International Drivers Permit which I’ll need to drive, but I was planning on doing that right before I leave since it’s only valid for a year and they issue it immediately.
All material/physical “are you ready” answers aside, it comes to the mental “are you ready?” and the “are you excited?”. I’ve travelled and have been away from home for many weeks at a time but I’ve never lived away from home. Growing up in downtown Toronto and going to University of Toronto, I was spoiled with the comforts of home. I definitely haven’t gotten any cold feet towards leaving but I’m also as excited as I should maybe appear to be. I may have accidentally released all my excitement in April when I finally received my acceptance into the program and broke down crying. Tears of joy, obviously.
I had this lingering thought in my head that those who know what degree I graduated with are a little bit confused as to why I decided to accept this job. I was reassured when I went to predeparture orientation in June when I saw a few more newly graduated engineers from Toronto.
Screw the perceived norm that we need a job in our field of study right after graduation.
I firmly believe that any experience is good experience as long as you are learning something that is benefitting you for your long term goal. I also think it’s really important that we have a few goals, both short-term and long-term to keep motivated at any stage of our life. And so here, I approach the topic of why I decided to even pursue this job, what I want out of it and any other thoughts that might pop out of my brain as I write.
“Throughout high school, I always wanted to be a teacher or engineer. I chose engineering because it would be harder for me to go back to school and become an engineer later”, is what I say to myself and others when they ask me why I chose engineering. In retrospect, this is a silly statement after finishing my undergrad degree in Mechanical Engineering and witnessing the number of mature students that exist. This statement is also silly because if I really wanted to be a teacher I would have applied to some other programs that might have had a concurrent education program instead of just applying to engineering programs.
This is my sort-of attempt of giving myself a taste of teaching.
My life has been a mess of diverse experiences. I was an Engineering and Science Instructor after first year and loved it. I was a TA in 3rd and 4th year for engineering and loved it. I was one of the coaches for Iron Dragons recreational dragonboat team and I really loved it. I struggled through my thermodynamics and linear algebra courses. I excelled in my Mechatronics courses. It was a very confusing time in my life. But I knew I loved teaching, so maybe I could do a masters in education or go to teachers college? After researching and talking to admissions offices, I lacked a fundamental course: ENGLISH.
So, I learned about the JET Programme and decided that maybe this would be a fun time and my best shot to really grow and learn more about myself. I would have the chance to travel, get some more hands on experience in the classroom, live abroad, learn Japanese and figure my life out. I could take online courses so I could eventually do my teacher qualifications or I could apply to engineering jobs (or maybe even a masters in engineering). I’d also face the challenges of isolation, loneliness and cooking my own food.
I thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to have choice.
If it wasn’t for my parents raising my brother and I in Canada, I definitely wouldn’t have had all these choices. As messy and confused as my decisions in life would be, it’s still better than having no choices.
Some of the skills I want to work on and improve upon while in Japan revolve around communication. I want to become a better story teller. I have always loved reading and I love listening to people talk, but I always struggle in organizing my thoughts and putting a coherent and interesting story together. I want to learn Japanese. I love languages and being conversational in Japanese is a goal I definitely have. I want to be able to make stronger logical arguments. I want to be able to express myself and my opinion with valid arguments.
I haven’t committed or decided to what I want to do after this program but I’m on the lookout. I’ll probably end my thoughts here for now and pick up on a next post in a few days.