Tag Archives: Japan

Its been so long!

Its been so long since I actually wrote a post. Life here is so different than being back in England. As well as the fact that I managed to find a guy I really like and the feeling is mutual!! Oh yes people!! Its MUTUAL!!! We haven’t started dating yet. We are just friends first because I meet the guy like 3 weeks ago.

On Friday, three weeks ago, I was taken to a restaurant by a local guy and the two male Interac employee’s. Being the only female had its perks, well it was less confusing any way. While we were ordering and I was talking to my Mother on Facebook (my social skills then were bad but there was some problems at home and it was the only time I could talk to my Mother). Anyway, I was told my friend Jay that I was getting checked out by a guy in the kitchen. I didn’t really think anything of it at first because this is me. I am totally not popular with the guys back home. So me being me, I kind of felt happy that I was getting attention (who wouldn’t) but I didn’t know what guy he was talking about. As the night went on, I managed to make eye contact with this really cute guy. He totally caught my attention (>___<). Once my pizza eventually came as it was the last one to arrive, OMG is he a good cook. That night went really well. My friend Jay was also able to find someone who caught his attention. So the following night (it might seem sad but who cares :P), the three of us ALTs went back again. This time we sat at the bar and got to know the staff. I was to see more of the guy and see his cute smile as he waved to me from the kitchen. We stayed for a bit, then we went to Karaoke. Well Jay, a new friend we made, the guy I like and myself (totally outnumbered again). It was an interesting night. The guy I like can really sing and rap! But he asked me if I was married and if I had a boyfriend. So he must have been interested right? After Karaoke he took Jay and I to have Ramen at like 3am >.<. On the way to the restaurant, he said "I love Sarah!". I was so happy that I blushed and hid. But we have been contacting each other everyday, so it must be a good thing right?! But this week I have seen him everyday. So fingers crossed!

Greetings from Japan!

farewell/Good luck cars

Greetings from Japan!!

The past two weeks has been rather surreal. I still think I am really in the UK but only the primary language is different. Of course there was a lot of trouble in actually getting here. I will never be flying via British Airways ever again! I am really disappointed in the fact I was not allowed to fly the day I wanted. I arrived to training a day late; however I wasn’t the only one so I felt a little better after hearing that. Although, seeing as training already started, that meant that I didn’t have any time to get rid of the jet lag and adjust to Japanese time. For the first week I had very little sleep at around 4-5 hours as I kept waking up around 3:30am or 4:30am. I was able to sleep better in Morioka. I think it was because the training was more relaxed and I felt less pressured to do the tasks. However, I was able to meet the most amazing group of people ever. As well as making friends with other Brits who are venturing off to other parts of Japan and the two other British ALTs who are in Iwate Prefecture. I was able to make really close friends in Morioka and I do miss their company over the past couple of days.

However, since I’ve moved to Kuji-shi, I’ve managed to feel more at home. I have been meeting other ALTs every day and have gotten to know most of them rather well. Having that little support group has really helped me. Plus it helps that they speak better Japanese than me. Although I have been told that I am more than a beginner at Japanese then I am. I don’t know if that is true. But I hope to improve at least over the next two years.

Today was a very big day for me. I introduced myself to the Board of Education in Kuji. I did feel a little out of place as I kind of interacted with people but I mostly just sat there quietly and tried to listen to what people were saying. Then I was taken by my IC (Independent Contractors or “Helpers”) to my schools to greet the Principle, Vice Principle and the head of the English Department.

The first School I went to was one of the JHS’, it seems like a very big school and I have still yet to find out which classes I will be teaching. But the Head of English seems very nice and supportive. I even introduced myself to the teachers in the staff room in Japanese. I didn’t really expect it but they all smiled at me and that made me feel so at ease.

The JHS I went to was very small in comparison. I think there is a total of 50 students through out the entire school. The 2nd and 3rd years only consist of 15 students in each year. Very small indeed, but that means I get to learn less names. I was shown my desk in the teaching room. It really made me feel like part of the small group of staff. I was even given a tour of the school and spoke to the 3rd years. They seem like a nice group. I think I might even get to help decorate the English room as it seems pretty bare at the moment.

Then lastly, after a 50 minute drive I arrived at the HS I will be working at. It is definitely the largest school of the three. Everyone seemed to be interested in this new Gaijin (Foreigner) in their school. Students were staring at me and smiling, to which I smiled back. Two female students seemed very happy to see me and said Hello to me. It is so strange to be treated this way. I was shown where my desk would be and introduced to the two other English teachers I will be working with.

I did have an interesting chat with my IC about holidays and going home. They suggested that I stay in Japan for the summer as I will be able to cope with that. However, going back to the UK during winter may be an idea. It gets cold in Japan and it is easier to get depressed during that period of time. Especially if I wish to stay in Japan for two years or more, going back home for a holiday will help.

Who knows what will happen over the coming year. But at least the first part of the greetings is out of the way. It’s the next part which is going to be embarrassing as it’s a greeting to the Students during assembly. I’ve heard stores that the students do something to greet the new teacher before they introduce themselves in English to everyone. I am so glad I have experience in being in front of a large group of people. However, that has been either singing or dancing. It has never been talking about oneself.

So wish me luck!!

 

 

Suitcases packed..

Well I’ve managed to pack my two suitcases. I honestly hope that I will be alright getting from Haneda Airport to Narita airport when I arrive in Tokyo on Sunday at 5am. I do have plenty of time to get to Narita from Haneda as I won’t be able to enter my room till 4pm. It will strange to be arriving in Japan and as my friend says “In 48 hours, you will be in in Tokyo”. Its so strange to thing how quickly time has gone by.

I have never been so worried about getting my lesson plan right till recently. I know that I should really have more confidence in myself as I have been able to get my dream job. But all the more reason to worry about messing up. I’ve gotten so worried about it that my stomach started to churn and I wanted to be sick. I can get upset while worrying so easily that I really hope I get through Saturday and Sunday okay.

Just a little sentimental

I honestly didn’t think I would get sentimental but its slowly hitting me. It is only a week till my 27th Birthday. I know its meant to be a happy time and celebrate being a year older, but I almost feel the opposite. Instead its a reminder of how much things have and will change. I have 11 days left in the UK.

Please don’t get me wrong! I really am excited to be going to Japan and living there. Its a dream come true. I cannot wait to move into my apartment and settle into my new life. I’ve always wanted a fresh start in a place where I don’t get reminded of things that happened in the past. Or feel like I am stuck in a runt and can’t escape. I can hopeful work in an environment where I won’t get stressed most of the time or be given guilt trips into doing something I don’t want to do.

2012 was the most difficult year I have ever had. Yet there was some people who told me to apply for a job I had always wanted to do. It had been a dream since I was young to be a teacher. I wasn’t really sure on what subject I wanted my speciality to be. It was either a dance teacher or and English teacher. It wasn’t until High School where I really felt inspired to be a teacher.

I had this amazing English teacher, Mrs Clarke. To me, she was a teacher who didn’t treat me like some child they had to teach. She would push me to try my hardest and help me in any way I could. I even took extra classes after school so I could get more help with my assignments and get the highest grade I could. I passed my GCSE English with two Cs, which to me made me really happy, even my form tutor was really excited and praised me for my hard work. It might not seem like much to other people. But for me to have someone reach out and help meant a great deal than I could ever express.

I even more grateful to my friend Kaytee R. She has helped me through a lot over the past three years. Be it deciding on if a relationship is good for me or applying for work. She has always listened and given me honest advise. But I am going to miss her so much. She supported me through my counselling sessions and helped me out of my little shell that I cocooned myself in. I owe her so much and I will be totally lost without her. I won’t have my drinking, dance and shopping partner with me any more. Plus I am going to miss her adorable little baby girl. She is just as beautiful as her mother, whom I am so proud of. Love you my one and only <3

If it wasn’t for Nessa, I don’t think I would have understood what it was like to have a friend from the very start. We’ve known each other since we were four years old. We used to live across the road from each other and play everyday. We may have lived apart from each other for a long time. But we have always kept in contact and kept each other up-to-date with how things are going. She moved back to the Island well over a year ago and she helped through counselling too. She knew how troubled I was and how it was making me really depressed. Plus she knows me better than anyone, well she has put up with for the past 23 years.

Then there is my family. We seem perhaps a little dysfunctional and we aren’t that close. But there is one person who I am going to miss so much that I really hope they will be fine while I’m away. Since I came home from Uni, I think I’ve become more close to my Mother. We spend a lot of time together and I don’t just mean at home. We go shopping, out for meals and go watch movies. We have never been this close and she is definitely my best friend. Although it did take a lot of time to convince her that 3/4 length trousers didn’t suit her, but I go there with determination!! The past couple of years have been so difficult for her as she has struggled looking after her Mum who now has dementia. Yet she has become strong in dealing with it all that I hope she doesn’t crumble while I am away. Mum has always put others first and then later herself. She can get angry at times but that is because she been strong for far too long. She may not like my decisions in life or the boyfriends I’ve dated. But she has always done anything she can to help. She may be overprotective at times, but it only means she cares. I really do love my Mum and I hope that Dad and younger Brother are going to look after her while I’m gone. But its going to be hard to get used to her not being around.

Of course I am grateful to everyone else who said I should go for this job and do something more with my life. Especially friends I have made at my old job. Their support and kind words really mean a lot. Even more so I felt a little out of place at times because some didn’t understand me. But thank you all so much!!

At the end of the day I am only going to Japan, its only a long plane ride away. I will be coming home when ever I can. And it may only be that I will be away for a year. If its more than I will be sure to come back and surprise you all.

Sorry for being sentimental but I wanted to say something now.

 

 

Moving to Iwate Prefecture, Japan

Japan-map
Map of Japan

I received a phone call from Japan yesterday morning from Interac Recruitment and Placement Department. I was offered a placement, which I could accept in the next 24 hours. I will be moving to Iwate Prefecture, Japan. I will be working within two High Schools and will need to drive. It will be an exciting new challenge to be teaching in a High School. I am completely new to teaching though. But I am still very excited to be given this opportunity to work in such an environment.

Luckily, yesterday was a day off work so I was able to look for all the information I could find on Iwate Prefecture|岩手県. Its very interesting to see what the climate is like. It was closer to the Hokkaido than I thought it was. But that means that I get to enjoy Snow 6 months of the year.

From what I’ve read on-line, Iwate is the second biggest prefecture in Japan after Hokkaido. So it comes to no surprise that so far I will one of six ALTs of Interac will be placed there. I am looking forward to working with so many people and meet the current ALTs who are already working in Japan. It will be interesting to see where the intense training is going to be held. But I am sure once its over, the group of us will be able to travel to Iwate together and have orientation at the Morioka Branch (well I think that is what is going happen, nothing has been confirmed yet).

Moving to Iwate Pref. is probably one of the biggest steps I’ve ever taken. I know it took me a while to get here, but somehow I managed it. I was sure that with the troubles of collecting paperwork and references that I wouldn’t seem eager enough to want a job with Interac. Yet I guess I was proven wrong. People have told me to have more confidence in myself. For me to get this placement must prove something. I am clearly able to do more than I think. Hopefully teaching will help me build up my confidence and faith in myself. I will definitely be building up courage to speak in front of students ageing 15-18 years old. But at the same time, I can relate to the age group more. Although I might feel really old compared to them, I will just have to get used to that though.

I really cannot wait to move. I will be looking forward to be able to explore what Iwate has to offer.


A Trip to Iwate – Iwate Prefecture Tourism Portal Site
Excursion in Zipangu, the Land of Gold Explore the modern-day Zipangu around Hiraizumi where Golden Culture still thrives

Looking through this website, I am looking forward to learning how to Ski during the long winder. As well as being able to go to the Onsen’s and temples which are in such beautiful surroundings. I am really glad to have bought my Nikon D3100 now as I can really put it to go use.

As I’ve yet to have from the Morioka Branch for further info, I am sure to update this blog very soon ヽ(^Д^)ノ

Hate it!

My DreamsI starting to really hate things at the moment. I thought I was unsure where I belonged before I got a job in Japan. Now its even worse, I Hate it!

Most people are telling me “Do what you think is right” or “Do whatever makes you happy”… Getting a job in Japan is a dream. To be able to help children learn more about English culture is something I never thought I would be able to do. But what about my home in the UK? Can I really call it the place I call “home”? I am feeling a little lost and confused about it all.

My father asked me when I thought it was best to put my car up on a local e-bay type site. Now to me, my car is a precious thing that I don’t want to loose. I bought it will all my own money and worked hard to get it. If there was a way to import it back to Japan, then I would definitely do it. But selling it just doesn’t seem right. I know I plan to stay in Japan for a year or more but does that really mean I have to sell it?

I’ve also had my Brother tell me that I should sell everything I own to get the money to use in Japan. But wouldn’t that mean loosing every reason I have to come back? Do people really not want me to come back after a year?? Am I really that loved??? I know it might seem that I am really twisting people’s words, but its what I am feeling at the moment.

Maybe I should really sell everything I have here in England. My computer, my car, my personal belongings, and maybe even my house, which I probably won’t ever get to live in. I thought having things here would make me feel like I will always a place to come back to. A place that is familiar. Was I really just imagining it all?

Its probably for the best. I have always thought that going to Japan would mean a new start and a new life. Where I can meet new people and other people who love Anime, Manga, J-Rock, J-Pop and even K-Pop like I do. I get to go to Karaoke bars and have a laugh with my new co-workers while still trying to keep up with social hierarchy.

I am going to Japan!!

daisuki

Oh yes people, I am going to Japan! I will be leaving in March to start work in April. I really couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got an email from the Recruitment office in Japan offering me a job. I really did think that I didn’t do well in the demo lessons that they wouldn’t offer me any placement at all. However, my friends kept telling me to believe and have more confidence in myself. I have tried for a similar position in Japan via the JET programme but I didn’t even get to the interview stage. Now that I have a TEFL qualification and have applied for work via one of the biggest companies who send ALTs to Japan, I have been more successful. One thing I am most unsure of, is my level of Japanese. I’ve tried my best to study the language myself. Yet when I had to introduce myself in Japanese for the presentation part of my interview.. I so hope it was good enough for them to understand. I have never spoken to anyone who is Japanese in Japanese before. So I wasn’t sure of what level my understanding actually is, so I went for Beginner as it is true in some ways.

The most exciting part now is beginning. I have to sent the last three forms of my application to Japan before the 10th January. Then I have to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility and apply for my visa before arriving in Japan. Once the CoE is completed, then my placement will be confirmed. Hopefully then I will find out where about in Japan I will be placed. I am not too fussy as to where I want to go. To me, as long as I get to experience life in Japan and do my best at my job then I will not mind at all. Its going to be a fresh new start for me where I can finally relax and become stronger in myself.

This past year has been the most difficult year of all. From hitting the lowest of the lows in life and doing things that I never thought I would do. To actually taking that jump, getting a qualification and being offered in a job that is my dream job really. I have always wanted to be a teacher from a young age because I want to help children learn more about the world and help them out in any way I can. Its amazing to watch a child grown and mature. Plus they can be so unpredictable that it makes life more entertaining.

So wish me luck for the future and please still contact me when I am there. I will miss my closest friends and family above all. So please don’t forget me!!

TEFL Course

Well I completed the 20 hour weekend TEFL Course!!! Although it was a lot of information given. I think I actually remember most of it. And now, It also means that I have basic teaching qualification in English!!!! I can now apply for jobs in Japan. However, I think I might take the other on-line courses available. The weekend course was great. But I think I need as much help as I can get. I am just glad that I passed the weekend course. Its really worth the money!

I just have to worry about when I actually go to Japan. I was looking at the jobs TEFL England has listed and they said that it would be leaving for Japan between March and July. But something else has come up to get me used to teaching. Someone on the course is actually the Dance teacher at my old High School. And I’ve been asked to go along and help with the Choreography classes. To help be an extra pair of eyes and help out. Everything is falling into place at long last. Its took its time but its getting there.