Just a quick one

I’m here and I’m all right. I have to run in just a bit, because they’re delivering some new appliances to my apartment…my predecessor moved this past week, so they finally got to go through his things and see what they could give me, and they deemed many of the things to be too old, so I’m getting his VCR and space heater, and otherwise I’m getting all new things–TV, 2-range gas stove, microwave/toaster/oven, washing machine…it’ll be wonderful. Though I’m struggling with making the optimum use of my limited space, but I’ll figure something out. I’ve spent less money than I realized, so I can splurge on some space-saving furniture (like a small entertainment center/TV stand and a wardrobe for my clothes).

In general, my weeks have been really uneventful, but my weekends have been extremely busy. Oh, I’ve been posting photos to my Flickr account, so please do take a look…I have about 100 more from the past week or so that I have to put up (and I tried last night, but it didn’t quite work). Let’s see…2 weeks ago we met up in Tokushima City for a get-to-know-you evening; we’d split up into 6 groups (of my group of 8, I was the only girl, though the guys in my group were just great) for the English camp we worked at last weekend, so the 2-weeks-ago meet-up was to let us get acquainted with our groups and to tour the city a bit. Last week was an English camp from Friday through Sunday for junior and senior high schoolers, and then dancing the Awa Odori in Tokushima City, and then some orientation on Monday, and this past weekend was a homestay in a beautiful, beautiful town called Kamiyama.

I’ve been meeting a lot of people and I still don’t have everybody’s names down…it’s funny, because before I got to Japan, I’d posted to our AJET messageboard maybe 7 or 8 times, but people would go, “Oh yeah, I recognize you from Sudachi!” I also had people who’d found this site (probably through Sudachi as well) and would say, “Oh yeah, I found your website–I feel like I already know you!” It’s been surprising but kind of funny. But the JETs here in general are a great group–there’s nobody that I don’t like and we all get along so well.

I’ve also visited all of my schools now…I’m currently in the process of figuring out how to get my first eikaiwa (community language classes) set up for this Friday, and figuring out my school schedule. I’ve been going to my junior high, Ikeda Daiichi Chuugakkou, and coaching these 2 wonderful girls for the upcoming JHS English speech competition. My elementary school situation is still ambiguous; my board of education cut back on those classes for me so that I wouldn’t have to drive through the really narrow mountain roads a lot, but it’s effectively screwing over the students as a result, because they’re going from having weekly classes to monthly ones and they’ll never learn anything that way. I already told my boss at the BOE that while learning how to drive on those roads is quite a challenge, I wouldn’t mind doing so if it means that the kids get more classes.

This is sort of a vague entry, I know…I’ve kind of decided that I’ll wait to start putting entries up until I set up internet access at my place. Though if I get a chance to post them beforehand, of course I’ll do so…I just spend all my time using Hannah’s computer on catching up on websites, replying e-mails, and uploading photos, so by the time I finish with that, 2 hours have passed and I don’t want to intrude on her kindness any longer. I’m on a laptop at work now, but it’s old enough that it won’t support my USB flash drive, so I can’t bring the entries to work and format/put them up from here. I have to run, though–thanks for reading, and I’ll definitely write more soon!

I’m in Ikeda

I should make this short, since I’ve probably spent more time than is appropriate online to respond to e-mails and check in at my usual websites…but I’m here. I just have very little internet access, and I sort of forgot that “very little access to e-mail” also means “very little access to this journal” as well.

Japan has been wonderful so far…but you know, I’m still sort of in denial that I’m away from home. There’s a bit of a language barrier, the architecture is so different, vegetarian food isn’t nearly as prevalent as in the US, I walk everywhere and maybe get rides from people or take a train for the really long rides, I have to bag my own groceries and only buy what I can carry…but it hasn’t been a rough transition at all.

My apartment is much smaller than I thought it was going to be, but I’m managing…there are quite a few things I have to get from my Board of Education that they promised me in my contract but didn’t provide me. But I’ve been managing, and mooching off Lindsay, my at-one-time predecessor, and Hannah, the other ALT 2 floors down. And Dave, my actual predecessor, is trying to shed as much of his stuff as he can before he moves back to Canada in 2 weeks, so he’s been selling a lot of it…I got a bookcase yesterday and 2 plastic shelves I can use as chests of drawers today, and he donated a bunch of hangers and an ancient rice cooker, and I may be getting his washing machine as well.

The community here has been so warm–people have really helped me settle in and have made sure I had food to eat. I’ve so far met the 2 eikaiwa (adult conversation) classes I’ll be taking over, and yesterday I met my Japanese Teacher of English, who I’ll be team-teaching with at the junior high school. I’m going over today to help out with the annual speech competition–I’m looking forward to that.

I apologize that this is so short, but I’ve been online for 2 hours and probably should go back downstairs to get other things done. Plus, I’ve been responding to e-mails and such all morning and feel like I’m getting really, really redundant. I’ve been keeping up a daily Word file journal on my laptop–I’ll try to post as much of that here as I can, though parts of it are sort of personal, and though this laptop is old enough that it doesn’t even read my USB jump drive, which I was hoping to use to upload my photos. But yes, more later. Take care, everyone!