Tag Archives: England

Current difficulties

I know this is a strange reason to suddenly post something. But this year has be fun yet only recently has some challenges came to light.

The first challenge appeared shortly after failing the N4 test. To some it may not seem like a big thing to others. But as someone who worked hard and tried to study as much as I could. It was a blow. Ok, I know I shouldn’t have thought that I would actually pass the damn thing. But still. Now in my life, this is the fourth test I have actually failed.

The first time I was told my graded ballet exam, after my dance teacher ended the call, I burst into tears. This was ballet, which I had always been the one of the top students in my class. It literally broke me heart. However, I then went on to be my dance teachers first student to pass grade 8 RAD ballet. The second exam I failed was Social studies in Sixth form. But that was shit and I hated it. The third was failing N5. It was my first time taking the JLPT. But still, it made me feel worthless and a waste of money.

Now failing might not seen like such a big thing. But I take many things to heart and it chips away at me inside. N4 might seem like its ok to fail the first time, but I was doing well for the practice tests. So why did I fail the actually exam?????

Anyway, recently, I have started to play an online game in Japanese, to help me study. But once someone starts to talk to me in English, I slide into English mode. But then someone made me feel so small because I was having trouble and they said to stop playing in a server and change to another one.

I suffer from anxiety, so this made me worry even more. Thinking if my Japanese is even good enough? What if I am wasting peoples time trying to learn this language? What am I actually doing here? Will my boyfriend even stay with me if my Japanese is so bad???? Even now typing this has started to make me cry because I feel so hurt and out of place. Yet the reason for leaving the UK, was for feeling out of place and an outcast. That’s not the only reason of course.

I am trying but its never enough!!

This leads to my current problem, I can be socially awkward. I can only really get along with certain people and others can target me easily because I will do what they say under some degree of pressure. The last time I was pressured so much, I literally buckled. As in I had therapy. I was diagnosed with anxiety and mild depression. Never in my life have I been told that I am useless, until I was in my last job in the UK. I kid you not. My manager told me I was useless and that my pay rise was a mistake. It hit me so hard, that suicide was an option. I was doing my best. Trying to help other sections and my own. Running around and doing too many things at once. The best thing for me was to reach out for help. So I went to my doctor. Who just told me I was an easy target and too soft. Of course. I didn’t tell my parents because my mother was preoccupied looking after my Nan at the time and Dad had work. So I asked for an appointment to see the doctor.

Only after all of that, I got a job to work in Japan. I am so glad I came and I love my job. But anxiety is always difficult to deal with. I wonder if I am really doing a good job. If my students actually understand my English instructions and if the teacher understands what I am trying to do. Its just recently hit me all like a tone of bricks. Even thought my new company bosses has said everyone has done a great job and they have no complaints this year, I still wonder if its just in general and they hiding something.

Now, I wouldn’t say I am overly socially awkward, its just I have problems with dealing with some situations and it doesn’t help when I live out of the city centre and people think its easy for me to go to places quickly. I don’t like short notice. I don’t like intruding on people. Above all, I don’t like places where I don’t know many people and my paranoia creeps in. I know I should be setting an example to students and for my company. But there are times where its difficult.

Socialising with schools this year has been difficult. As I feel I don’t know many other staff members because I am in the English teachers staff room. Compared to last year where I knew many members of staff as everyone was together. I just guess insecure worry that my Japanese isn’t sufficient enough to handle conversations.

But the point of this post was to let of some steam. I just wish things were little easier but I guess I should try harder.

Spring Vacation

 

I can’t believe its Spring Vacation already. Its already been a bit of a roller-coaster.

To think that I’ve finished two years in Japan. I’m loving every minute and I’ve still not had the thought of really not wanting to go to work because of some people I work with. The students still make me laugh. But this vacation has been very relaxing being able to spend time with my family.

Starting my vacation was two days in Tokyo. I arrived after renewing my contact with Interac. In Tokyo, I went to Shibuya to see more of the shops and wonder around to see what was there. This time not being ill compared to last year.
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The only downside, was that I went back to my favourite place in Tokyo – Ikebukuro – to see Sunshine City and try to find food. Only Ikebukuro was too busy on both days, so I only ate quickly at any fast food restaurant I could find. But I went shopping really on the first day. Because I had a list of things I wanted to get and thought it would be best to buy in Tokyo as the stores are bigger and things are easier to find. Except in Tower Records in Shibuya, where they have 7 floors and I eventually found the things I was after. To only have to down to the first floor to collect my posters. Which does make sense, it was just difficult because there was going to be a LIVE event on the first (ground) floor and everyone was crowding round.

For the second day, I walked around with my camera and went to Akihabara to see what it was actually like. I think you really need to go with an Otaku friend and walk around the shops. I think I only went into their small Animate store. Before going back to Ikebukuro because its a great place.

The only thing that made me feel uneasy, was when I was at the airport and instead of going to JAL gates, I was directed to British Airways. But I went straight to the desk, I handed my ticket and passport (plus resident card, just in case). I kept replying in Japanese out of habit and got my window seat. I was so happy to have things sorted out quickly.

I arrived back in England safely and I surprised my Parents as they weren’t looking in the direction I entered. After a long almost 13 hours flight, my parents walked me to the car as they drove me back home. It was so strange to notice the real differences between Japan and England. The fact that I could understand most people threw me off a little. Even the little things in Japan I missed. Like the organised queues on the escalators and being able to find vending machines everywhere. You think I would find it strange the other way around. But living in Japan is more like a home. I guess I just adapted a lot more.

Since being in England a lot has happened. I’ve tried to spend time with the friends that I’ve missed. I even had to get new glasses to get a stronger lens for my right eye. I even celebrated my 29th Birthday with my parents and my best friend and her family. I had really missed my best friend. The year has gone by quickly, but it felt like forever since I saw her last. Her little princess has grown up so much. She is so cute and she has grown up so much since I saw her last year.

For my Birthday treat, My mother and I went to Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, UK. I was so gutted last year when my parents went soon after I returned to Japan. It was amazing! I loved seeing parts of the sets, costumes, props and creations used for the movies. We spent almost four hours just walking around and taking 376 photographs. I took a lot of selfies with my handy selfie-stick.

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Yet, something’s don’t happen as planned. Last week, I was spending time supporting my Mother as we both spent time with Grandmother before she sadly yet peacefully passed away. All of her family, only a few members who weren’t able or respectfully had space, were with her.

 

There are a lot of moments that surprise you. But others you will treasure and never forget for the rest of you life. You will always have those who support you. Who will be a shoulder to cry on. Who understands how you feel. You just have to be there for each other. Because you never know when one might be too stubborn and fight OR give in and let go. But waiting for that peaceful moment is the hardest. As you don’t know when things are going to happen. Yet words are always hard to find.

 

At the moment, I am waiting to hear news about possibly getting funeral dates, which might not get sorted till I have returned to Japan. I am also waiting to hear about my year schedule for this year. I hope it hasn’t changed much, but I only know that my schools haven’t changed. But I am looking forward to meeting the new students this year but it will be the last year I see the students who were in their first year when I arrived. To see them graduate will be something special next year.

The things I’ve learnt

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently. Well, trying to at least. It tends to get really complicated and it all gets confusing. So here are the things that I’ve learnt.

First of all, Life is never going to be easy. Nothing will pan out EXACTLY how you want it to. Because you can’t consider everything clearly on the spot. There is always going to parts that we don’t think about it. Its not like we are super human and read all the different outcomes of one decision. As much as I wish I could see how things turn out or learn more about a situation, then that will definitely help me. But sadly that is not the case T__T

Second, If you are a foreigner in Japan and came for the possibly trying to settle down here… yeah, I am giving up on that right now. Most Japanese guys are interested in sleeping with a foreigner as some kind of trophy and never think that those who actually stay in Japan for longer than a holiday and the ones who are not those kinds girls. So guys should just stop even trying. It kind of makes me not want to be sociable here in Japan. Because I’m going to see at that horrible kind of prize. I am sure there are some guys who would like to be in a relationship where they want to settle down with a foreigner. But its even harder to find such a guy where I live. Sorry to say it.
(This is more of a reminder to myself than anything, I’ve just had horrible experiences with guys here so far, it could change in the future. But it most likely won’t).

Third, I really need to decide on how long I stay in this country. There have more moments than I like, where I do feel alone and like an outcast. But that is not just in the staff room at my schools. During my first year it was a lot better because I had a friend who I met up with a lot as we both arrived in Japan together. But since they left, no one has filled in the gap and I am at a lose at what to do. Now, I have been visiting friends in other cities and they have been a great help. Its just there are now some other factors creeping in where I feel like I just want to curl up into a ball and hide away.

Recently, I was asked if I could do more English lessons at my second job. Now I was very reluctant to say yes. I was basically asked if I could 6 days of the week. No offence, I love helping people learn English and have English conversations with them. . I was then told that it would move to Thursday’s so I would then get the weekend off to help plan for Monday’s lessons. This week however, I was asked to continue with the Saturday. Am I really over worrying about this? Because I work at three High Schools, most days I have 3-4 lessons I have to plan the whole lesson and worksheets. For myself, I also add in drawing pictures to help the students learn new words. All of this takes up a lot of my time. Recently I’ve been awake at 1am trying to finish it all and have the alarm sent for 5:40. That’s only a little over four hours sleep. I honestly don’t know how long I am going to last with all of this.  I signed a contract where I told my company that my second job would not interfere with my primary job. I just hope that it doesn’t or I am going to be under so much pressure that I hope I can cope with it all.

Fourth,  I really would like to try living in Korea after my time in this city is up. I really enjoyed my week holiday there during the summer and would like another holiday there to see different aspects that I didn’t get to see the first time. Then I will make the final decision of trying to apply for work there and move there for two years or more. The only uncertainty I have, is that most foreigners who have lived in this city in Japan can stay here for 3 years and then move. This is my second year and I don’t know if I have a longer limitation because I don’t work for the same company. That’s the only annoying this is that, I honestly don’t know how long I can here for. I don’t know if I can ask someone.

If I do get only 3 years, then I will certainly move to Korea in two years time for maybe 2 or 3 years. Before moving back home to England and finally move into my own house which is currently being rented. I just want to experience these two cultures before moving back (or if I go back depending on how things pan out). I feel like I wasted most of my life and wondered around in circles. Even last night I had a dream I was back at my old job and it was yearly review session with the head of my department. When someone I knew came into the room, sat down beside and then elbowed me when I started to agree that I was crap at my job. Instead, he flipped my switch and told my head of department what I really thought and got so angry that I punched them in face because I had enough. After that I woke up. I hope I never have a dream like that again. I want to be in a job that I enjoy and teaching here in Japan is something I enjoy and its a great life experience. I just wish I can make a decision on what the next chapter is going to be and when so I make more concrete plans.

First Day Back

Well it’s the first day back to the grind stone. I know I’ve only had 3 weeks off. But it has all gone by so quickly.

 

I thankfully arrived back in Japan with no problems, my flight wasn’t overbooked and I didn’t get delayed a whole day. The only down-side was that I wasn’t able to sleep as well as I would have hoped. I was one of the few who were fortunate enough to be sitting with an empty seat next to me. So after a while, I gave up trying to be polite and try to sleep in one chair. But I really needed to sleep to help with jetlag. It was just that finding a comfortable way to sleep was difficult. I was seated in the middle 4-seat width column on one side, while on the other side; the person didn’t seem interested in sleeping at all. He was far more comfortable reading his book with the light on. I think he did sleep for a little while, but it wasn’t very long. His light was bright and it didn’t help that I was sat near the toilet in the middle of economy. So I also had the light to show that the toilet was vacant or occupied shining on me. I didn’t really fancy wearing a night mask, so I tried blocking the light with my hands in front of my face or just throwing the blanket over me to dim it out. Overall, I think I got a few hours’ sleep, but it clearly wasn’t really enough. I slept more on the train from the airport to Ueno Station, the shinkansen and the bus from Morioka to Kuji. I guess I was more relaxed than on the plane even though I am sure that it would have been better to sleep on the plane because I didn’t have to worry about missing my stop. Oh well, it’s just one of those things I guess. I am just glad to be back in Kuji safely.

 

Friday was so hectic. It didn’t help that I had bad jetlag and felt dizzy most of the day. But in the morning I had to meet the new school principals and head of English, which finished at 11:40am. Then I had to go home and then go to Morioka for a health check and to sign my contract. When arrived at the office, I just saw a bunch of smiling faces and frantic hands waving at me. It was great to feel welcomed, but it seems that most of them wanted to talk to me. I didn’t get that finished until around 5:40pm. Then I really wanted to make the most of being in Morioka and near my favourite shop “The Body Shop”. Although google maps hated me and I almost went to the wrong Aeon mall, which was in fact a super market. But it took a fair bit of my petrol while trying to drive around on roads I don’t really know. But once I stopped at a Lawson, and managed to find where the right Aeon mall is. Once I got there, the mall was quiet and I was able to get what I wanted in the Body Shop and then I went to Tower records and found Super Junior M’s Swing mini-album. After that, I went to get a quick snack before the drive back to Kuji. Although, I tried to save the little battery power I had in my phone and not use the GPS to help me find my way back. But I was getting annoyed by the lights of the car behind me instead and ended up turning when I wasn’t meant to. Luckily I didn’t go far and was able to turn around and get back on route. I didn’t do too bad and got back to Kuji in two hours and thirty minutes. It would have been quicker if I had not taken the wrong turning and gotten stuck behind a really slow driver.

 

Thankfully Saturday was a little bit more relaxing. I did have an Eikaiwa (Adult English Conversation Class) in the morning. I felt a little bad by just leaving instantly. But I was given a Bagel to try and I really enjoyed it. Then I noticed someone was watching Finding Nemo, so I was intrigued to listen to it as it was in Japanese. Afterwards, I was finally able to go shopping and buy all the food and drink that I needed. I arrived too late on Thursday to go shopping and I was also exhausted. Then I definitely didn’t have time on Friday, so I just had to wait. When I got home, I was also finally able to clean the mess that I left before going on holiday.

before After

As you can see, I really did leave it in such a state. In addition, as it was finally warm enough to sleep without using a heater on a timer, I could move my bed back into my tatami room and make way for getting a better sofa into my apartment. Even though I only moved my bed into the room just before Christmas, it was strange to be back into the tatami room.

 

Today was my first day at a new High School. It was really nerve wrecking to have to start all over again. There isn’t a teachers seating plan, so I can’t try to learn all the staff’s names as it’s a huge staff room and so many faces to put the names to. Luckily I only had two classes to teach today and the students were shy, but I think I managed to get them to open up, even if it was only a little. However, I am still nervous about teaching them from their text book. Although I might know the second years textbook as Taneichi is using the same book. I might be lucky and be able to use the same ideas for the different schools. I am hoping I can get away with that.