To my friends I am known as Sazzy, to those online, I am Bu-Chan (Bu is short for Butterfly). Otherwise, most recently, people call me Sarah-San. So please feel free to call me by any of these names.
Since March 2013, I moved to this amazing country of Japan. After completing the basic TEFL course in August 2012, I was fortunate enough to be offered a placement in the Iwate Prefecture within the Tohoku region as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT or Native Speak (NS)) with the first company I applied for, Interac. I am really enjoying my time here and look forward to staying as long I can before returning to the UK.
Teaching was a dream of mine since I was in Primary/Elementary school. Although my dream a lot through the year’s. I never let go of trying to be a teacher. It might have changed from a plain teacher to Dance teacher, Art teacher and Music teacher. But I never imagined that I would be here teaching a subject I had difficulties with in High School. Yet it helps that it is my native language. I just wish I learnt more about the grammar structure.
Coming to Japan was a big deal for me as it is the third country I have ever been to. I left behind my family and friends. But most importantly, I will be in a new country where I don’t really know the language, I don’t really know anyone and where I will be left to deal with things without a close friend to help me.
My reason for coming to Japan is to learn the language. I know most people want to go to Japan because of anime and manga. That used to be me a few years ago. Until, I started to listen to the artists who were featured in the soundtracks. Then I ventured into the land of J-Pop and J-Rock. The first Japanese band I never listened to was ONE OK ROCK. I was blown away by Taka’s vocals and song writing. With the addition of Taka being able to sing in good English really intrigued me. After a few months, I started looking for similar artists to listen to. Thus, my music library expanded very quickly.
Then, I started to find that some artists also acted in Japanese dramas. The first Live Action drama I ever watched was ヤマトナデシコ七変化 starring 亀梨和也 from KAT-TUN. This opened up my world to romance, history, action, delinquents and horror of the Japanese culture even more.
However, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a very close friend who suggested I look for work here in the first place. In my last job I really struggled with depression and mild anxiety. Yet the only goal I could think of achieving to help me out of that situation was to try and get work in Japan. With the support of my best friends who were so helpful to me, told me to aim for this dream and make it come true no matter what.
Even with the only teaching experience I had is through a course as a dance apprentice with a Christian Dance company called Springs Dance Company, a small module at University and training co-workers in the role I was in in my last two jobs. Yet none were nothing like being charge of a class of 32 students.
As soon as I walked into the classroom for the first time, where a class of 32 male students looking at me, was daunting at first, but I soon settled in quickly. Even after teaching these students for a year, I still cannot imagine doing a different job at the moment. There hasn’t been a moment where I felt depressed because I was told I was inadequate in my job role. Yet I’ve been supported with the Japanese Teachers of English (JTE’s) who have helped grow in my teaching role.
As a graduate of Dartington College of Arts, I was able to follow my passion of dancing. Although I am too old to even try to dance properly like I did back at University. I still went to Ballet classes with my old Ballet teacher before coming to Japan. During my high school life, dance and playing musical instruments were the only things that I was good at and did well in. Both are important to me. Even more so in High School as I was able to study both subjects at GCSE level, although I was only able to study Music at A-level, as my HS at the time, didn’t have Dance as an option. Yet I was offered a place on a dance apprenticeship scheme in my final year at A-Level.