Settling into my new home
I apologize in advance if this post doesn’t have as many interesting photos for the first few days. I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures of my lunch and dinner with our BoE (Board of Education) staff. Nonetheless, here’s a small recap of my first few days arriving in the city that I will be living in for the next little while. I still keep waking up at 5:30AM… damn jetlag. Also, I apologize again for the shit formatting of this blog. For some reason when I increase the font size it doesn’t increase the spacing between the lines. If someone knows how to fix this… send help! Anyways, end rant here and begin story here.
From Tokyo, I flew to Oita Airport and with other JETs. The flight was a pleasantly short 1 hour and flew by super quickly. There are so many little things that amuse me… like sushi on the luggage collection belt. It’s conveyer belt sushi!
When I left luggage collection I saw a bunch of smiling faces holding out names and I was super excited! And then kind of sad when they told me that they didn’t have my name. Little did I know that a little bit further, holding a huge sign saying “Welcome Carole” was where I met my supervisor, the other ALT working for the same BoE and one more lady who works in the office.
Originally I thought that we lived close to the Oita Airport. Turns out, we really don’t and the drive was kind of long but we were treated to lunch which was a delicious cold soba with scallop and shrimp tempura. I have yet to be disappointed about Japanese food here!
As we were driving I was amazed at how green and lush the vegetation was. We were surrounded by so many mountains! I also noticed how symmetric and triangular some of the tree placements were. Is this natural??
We did a lot of little things and I learned a lot. I learned that the city I live in is a Mining/Cement producing place and that we’d be taking a trip on Friday to see it. We set up a bank account and notified city hall of my residence here. I’m really thankful for our supervisor because my Japanese is very limited but she was so helpful and kind with setting up everything.
Important phrases to know in Japanese when meeting people:
おはようございます ohayou gozaimasu - Good morning
こんにちは Konnichiwa - Good afternoon
こんばんは Konbanwa - Good evening
はじめまして Hajimemashite - Nice to meet you
よろしくお願いします Yoroshiku onegaishimasu - I look forward to working with you
Some of the BoE teachers, Tori and I had dinner. We had lotus, eggplant, calamari, seafood salad for appetizer. For main we ate sashimi, various tempuras and drank lots of drinks to the point we thought they were trying to get us drunk. Notable recommendations: asahi beer, peach drink (sorry for the lack of the name, I can’t remember it) and sake.
Sorta useful Japanese words from dinner: エビEbi (Shrimp), たこTako (Octopus)
At dinner they decided that Tori will be teaching ES (Elementary school) and I will be teaching JHS (Junior High school). I realized after dinner I had absolutely nothing to eat in my fridge and Ms. Yoshida took us to a Grocery store to get some basic items. I was in shock when I saw the prices of some of the fruits and vegetables… along with all the plastic they were wrapped in.
I spent the night unpacking my suitcase so that I could find my clothes more easily. Lots of cleaning is needed because this apartment has been inhabited by many past ALTs who have left a lot of miscellaneous junk.
The next day I l eft home at 8 although I had to be there at 8:30 and was absolutely paranoid I would be late. I met many of the teachers from both schools and even some of the students! School in Japan is a lot of hardwork and many of the students are in school even during this time of the year. The first teacher I met gave me my first bit of homework! I edited two speeches that will be presented at a speech contest in early September. I also might be judging a a speech contest in the town close to us!
I really need to work on my self introduction, as the teacher informed me that she wants me to speak to the entire school. As well, she would like me to deliver a small introduction lesson in each class. I already sort of messed up my introduction in front of the BoE so I want this to be solid.
At the BoE, they don’t really have work for us so we have to do a lot of self-study for the first few days. I studied some Japanese, working on my horrible knowledge of Kana (Hiragana + Katakana). I won’t touch kanji for a little while… maybe in a few months.
On Friday, I spent half of the morning meeting with a teacher. She recorded my voice for the speeches so that the students could practice with it and the other bit of the time I worked on some Japanese for a bit. I finally got the keys to my car which is super exciting for Tori and I so that we can actually go places! It’s a little bit expensive because I’m under 25 so the insurance is kind of a lot… and there was a name change fee but I hope it will be worth it. I’ll insert some pictures of the car later.
The other half of the day we visited a mine owned and operated by Todaka Mining Co. It was really cool to see but I had motion sickness most of the ride there because the road was very windy and I had to go pee. I swear I went to the washroom before I left the BoE!!! Unfortunately the whole tour was in Japanese so the only words I could focus on were numbers that they were saying. We dressed up in hardhats, this lab-coat type thing and some rubber boots which were gigantic.
Here are some cool pictures:
Okay, that’s all I got for now! I’m actually doing pretty well with writing out my thoughts and taking some pictures. Let’s hope I don’t get too lazy because I think these journal blog posts are really good memories for the future. I’ll write some more and talk soon!
Talk to ya later,