**Note: these posts may be a little out of order but at least I am catching up right?**
The first week of school: August 30,31 September 1,2,3,4
For the first week of school I did my self introduction lesson to each class and let the students ask me questions that they had like, “are you married, what is your favorite animal, what is your favorite thing to ride like a plane or bicycle” and the infamous do you have a boyfriend or is there someone you like question. During recess at some schools the kids would ride their unicycles or they would invite me to play with them on the playground. At different schools I will eat in the teachers room or in the classroom with different classes.
Eating in the classroom with the students was a lot of fun but I don’t get much eating done because the students are staring at me and watching everything I eat all of the time like my granola bars. So sometimes I have to turn away from the students so I can actually eat without cracking up the entire lunch hour.
Saturday, September 3rd, Seong and I took a trip out to Costco in maebashi and it was a nightmare to say the least!! Initially we had gone in before and tried to sign up for membership but we only got a temporary card because we did not have our alien registration cards yet. With this “temporary card” we were told that we would be able to come in when it is open and get real cards easily after getting our gajin cards in the mail. Well that was not the case because apparently they had lost all of our information and none of it was in the computer. After about an hour we finally were able to get cards and start shopping, which was another mess. The place was packed with people and it took about an hour and 20 min to shop and then another 30 min to wait in line to pay. After our many hours spent waiting and shopping we were hungry so we bought some of that delicious Costco pizza and had dinner. It was interesting because as I was sitting, eating my pizza I realized how much I missed Minnesota. The smell of Costco, the taste of real pizza and all of the American brands surrounding me it felt like home. All I had to do was close my eyes and I could picture it. Overall it was nice to feel back at home if only for a moment.
Sunday was my lazy day.
At one of my schools on Monday the 5th we had a meeting at school and it was only until after that I realized that the meeting was about being careful and watching out for wild boars near school (いのしし).
September 6th, I had my first English lesson this day and I basically bombed it. I went in not knowing how much the students really know and having to start out teaching them I can and I can’t, and that did not happen. It seemed like I didn’t teach them anything but the good part was that I only had 2 lessons that day so I didn’t confuse too many kids. I was a little nervous that because of those bad lessons, that my fellow teachers would not have confidence in me, but all I can do is try my best from here on out right?
Later that day I had free time so I went to watch my students practice a dance called soran bushi, which is like a fishing dance. They are practicing because we have the sports festival coming up this Saturday the 17th. Almost every day I have a fair amount of free time so during that time I usually try to plan for upcoming lessons. For example I wanted to do a color lesson with my younger kids so I made flashcards with colors on them. The next day I used those cards in 3 of my lessons for my 2nd graders. The lessons all went surprisingly well and I have more confidence in my teaching.
I have noticed that I drink a lot more coffee in Japan then I ever did in America. I say that because I stopped writing to make myself a cup of coffee…its very hott in the teachers room and I was beginning to fall asleep.
Up to this point I feel pretty proud of myself. I have been doing my best to adjust to my new life. Although I haven’t really gotten to the point where I am at stage 1 where everything is new and great and I love everything, I am also hoping that means that I won’t experience such severe culture shock in terms of going the opposite direction and hating everything and being frustrated all of the time. Now I am simply content with how things are going and I am enjoying my new life. I really like my schools and don’t mind going to work because the kids make teaching fun. Even though I like my life here I find myself wishing that I was back at the U of MN sitting in JPN4 with Shilyn and Marc and Steph. That seems like such a comforting feeling. I never thought that after 3 years of 19 credits a semester I would ever miss the University but I miss my classes and my friends and teachers and I also miss learning. The papers I don’t miss so much but I do miss going to class. I guess that being around teachers that are all much older than me makes me realize why I enjoyed the U so much because that is really the last time I will be will a large group of my peers. I have started to think that I want to go back for my masters when I finish in Japan.
I often find myself thinking “If I were in Minnesota right now what would I be doing”. After school I would probably go back home and cook something for dinner, change into my comfy clothes and watch Netflix. All very similar to what I do here in Japan but the feeling is very different and I wonder if I will ever feel the same way I did about my apartment in MN. Will I ever miss my apartment here like I miss my place in MN? Will I miss my everyday life in japan when I return to America? ..”When I return to America” saying that is so strange because sometimes I can’t really believe that I am here doing what I always wanted and also doing something I wasn’t sure I could do.
As it gets cooler ☃and the seasons change I feel a bit nostalgic about America and the feeling I get when it turns to fall. I like the cold because then I can go home and curl up on the couch and watch a movie. I have no TV and Netflix is a buzz kill because of their regional constraints so I will resort to dvds on my computer but its still the same idea. Dad said that I should be getting my package this week and I am also supposed to get a package from Car, so I am really looking forward to both of those things. I wish that all of my friends and family could come to Japan and see what I am doing so I hope that my pictures and this blog are helping to stand in at least a little. I am going to start doing video blogs too maybe a tour of my place or something like that. I have made a few close friends here in my city and I have to thank them because it’s partly because of them that I enjoy my life here and enjoy getting off work so we can hang out. GOOOOOO team Cameron.
This week is coming to an end but that means my first lessons are too. They have gone well and the kids seem to like my ideas and they seem to be learning a thing or two. I am lucky because all of my teachers are so nice to me and are always willing to help me with anything I need.
This weekend September 10-11 has been a lazy one. I was just thinking that today is September 11th and that’s when America had its catastrophe but also the 11th is an important day for Japan as well because March 11th was their earthquake…..interesting coincidence. I did some cleaning in my apartment and then slept most of the day on Sunday. I have been accumulating a lot of recycling because I have no idea where my recycling goes and I have been checking but haven’t figured out which days the recycling goes out so the pet bottles are overflowing and I have an abundance of cardboard in my poor little kitchen. Today is Monday and I have been informed that I have no classes today because the student’s are preparing and practicing for their sports festival day this coming Saturday.