Monday, August 10, 2009

Welcome to Japan

Welcome to my blog. Here you will find relatively low-key mind wanderings about my life in Japan, which is, I’m afraid, only slightly more interesting than my life in Calgary, so feel free to close this window and continue your Google image search of ugly celebrity children.

Japan has proved itself to be way more awesome than pistachios, as per usual. I’m settling into a routine now. In keeping with Japan’s doomsday image, the weather has proved itself to be a meteoric cock-up of catastrophic proportions. Since I’ve arrived, there has been two tornados in my city (I was not present for these, as they occurred during Tokyo orientation) and an earthquake. Luckily the epicentre was somewhere north of Gunma. So I’m still alive. For now.

Even though it’s summer holidays, most of the kids come to school anyway. They participate in club activities and get help on their summer homework from the teachers. Not only do the kids get homework during summer holidays, they take tests on their first day back. So be good or you might be reincarnated in your next life as a Japanese High School student.

The school I work for is a well-oiled machine. Every teacher is instrumental in helping the students, and everyone does their best to make the whole machine run smoothly. At this point, because I haven’t taught any classes yet, I contribute an approximate value of 0 to the team, yet they still let me come back every day to continue making a fatuous gimp of myself. I was under the impression that I had one supervisor who was wholly responsible helping me get set up and answering any questions I may have. I met her, and she’s delightful. However, the powers-that-be at this school determined that one person would simply not be enough to manage the amount of ineptitude ejaculating from my wee self, so they charged the whole of their sizable English department to be my handlers. Every few days an English teacher will come up to me and inform me that they are “assigned” to me that day, and will I please just sit at my desk quietly and not make trouble please and thank-you. I’m sure we’ll all get along just fine in the end.

As most of you know, I’m currently in the process of hating my apartment and looking for a new one. I’m not sure how my predecessor managed to live a year in this ill-conceived monstrosity. Lofts may seem cool in theory, but in practice they are just plain dangerous. When it comes down to it, our groggy cave-man brains have not equipped us with the ability to skilfully maneuver down steep ladders at 6:45am every morning.

One thing I won’t be able to escape are the ubiquitous cottage cheese walls that plaster every apartment I’ve seen so far.

Care to see what I made myself for dinner last night? No? Tough titties, here it is:

This is rice and pumpkin and salad. I spend unreasonable amounts of time inside grocery stores, staring dolefully at exotic foods I can't read for packaging for. This usually ends in me buying recognizable foodstuffs, like the above, and more than often means I end up eating popsicles for dinner. This isn't really due to my lack of kanji-reading ability, but I'm a grown-up now and I can have popsicles for dinner if I want to. So there.

I think I'll quit while I'm ahead. In the next few days I'll be attending a conference in Maebashi, the next town over. I'll be meeting a lot of Gunma JETs and there will likely be drinking and karaoke and butt dragging on carpets etc. Not by me, of course.


  1. I find it very strange that japanese pumpkin is more like an acorn squash than an actual pumpkin... When I order pumpkin tempura I expect large orange rindey bits, not little green and yellow bits, but alas...

    Do they celebrate Halloween in Japan? Do they even know what it is? Did they used to celebrate it and then stopped due to anti-american sentiment, like the French?

  2. Hi Chelsey! I am so looking forward to keeping tabs on you while you are in Japan! :P Not only can I live vicariously through Leanna in London, but now I have you, too. life couldn't be better!
    love Leanna's Mom (Linda)

  3. I don't think they really celebrate it, though they know what it is. The pumpkin here is awesome, I love it to bits.