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Friday, 30 August 2013

Wonderex

I know this is a really boring post but im VERY BORED. School term starts next week thank god - I`ll actually get to do something for once. Ive been sat in this office for 3 weeks now doing NOTHING. YES ive been lesson planning and trying to learn some japanese, sometimes I get to make little trips with my supervisor to random places to set up all sorts of admin - theres also been the visits to the other schools I:ll be teaching at - at lest those days have been broken up with something, but some days, like today, there was nothing to do, so I completely lost motivation. Im bored of self-studying japanese, you can only spend so many hours in one week. my butt is sick of being on this chair. What else has happened this week? I went for a curry on Monday with this girl who lives in Mito. it was probably the best curry ive ever experienced. ran by an indian family - it was very weird trying to speak in japanese to an indian person at an indian restaurant. hmm. I also met up with daniel and Hana on wednesday for a few beers in my town. we went to this hawaiin bar and had some hawaiin beer - very nice. then we went to this trendy thai style bar which was playing reggae music and was full of indian-style throw things which partitioned off different tables - i thought tht was pretty cool - you get your own private booth thing. ordered some spicy chicken - it was good. and now here is a very boring story about a shop I went to yesterday. Usually I write this stuff to keep my parents in the loop, but Im just so bored at work, that writing about mundane stuff is filling up my time; I had heard about a second hand store in my area, and was very keen to check it out. As you might of heard, Japan`s a pretty expensive place to live (shock shock horror horror).. so the idea of a thrift shop is very exciting. Again, I forgot to take my camera, sorry. But we have adjectives for a reason. The clothes department, where I started out was somewhat of a let down. I didnt find the array of quirky vintage stuff I was hoping for. everything about this place was like a tk maxx, down to the displays, the layout, the atmosphere, the types of people (although japanese versions) TK maxx, which is depressing because I HATE tk maxx- so I think I:ll just stick to uniqlo for cheap clothe thank you. After feeling a little disappointed I thought I would see what else Wonderex had to offer, turns out it had the coolest bunch of stuff! There was a huge section of original star wars toys like what Joe used to collect - all for crazy cheap. They were all american - I was looking at the packaging. That stuff must be worth quite a bit no_? They had a lot of toys - I think all of the crazy collectors at forbidden planet would have been very thrilled. They also had all sorts of furniture, very useful to know about, and very cheap! Someone was explaining this to me the other day, apparently Japanese people like new stuff - second hand stuff is not worth very much AT ALL. the best was The electronics department, it was amazing! they also had a load of records and some record players -so tempted to buy one just so I could have listened to old weird japanese pop music - where else are you gonna find that sort of stuff?.There was also old games consoles with games, a big department of instruments, tvs, hi-fis, household electronics etc etc... great place to know about, and about a 10 minute drive from my place. This was some of the best second hand stuff id ever seen. Japanese people are so clean and respectful - that all of their stuff is kept in amazing condition. good work japan.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Dirt

Japanese people are so crazy about keeping things clean. I really like it - being a little OCD myself (only slightly) it's a part of the lifestyle I truly enjoy.

 However, they can be a bit over-sensitive about the whole thing. I'm in the middle of watching a tv show looking at "life in Hawaii" and they have pretty much based the programme on how dirty Hawaiian people's feet are. they showed a guy bringing sand onto the carpet in his house after surfing - the close up almost brought the presenter of the show to fall out of their seat with shock. Haha! 

They obsessively clean everything. They are especially crazy about the floor. All schools, homes and other places have a system where you have to wear a different pair of shoes inside and outside. The schools all have little lockers as you come in where you keep the shoes you are not wearing. If you don't have inside shoes they will provide you with a pair of guest shoes which are like awkward rubbery slippers. Most indoor shoes are pretty much slippers although I've been advised that I won't be able to get away with actually wearing slippers- so now I'm desperately trying to find shoes to wear at my different schools. The problem is that my feet are way bigger than japanese people's so shoe shopping is hard. Those Spanish shoes chez got me from Barcelona just before I left have been a total godsend. However, they are starting to stink pretty bad as I've been wearing them everyday during the heat wave- and stinky feet just do not fly well here so I better get something new and clean smelling ASAP.

Despite the obsession with clean floors, I've been struggling to find a decent mop for my apartment. I settled on this stick thing which has a flat rubber base and you attach wet wipes to it... They sell them everywhere, so I assume its what people mostly use here. I've tried cleaning the floor with it but it was pretty pathetic - I felt like a little girl cleaning the inside of a Wendy house with a little handkerchief or something... But a lot of stuff in this country has that feel, it's hard to describe. 

If your really interested this is what it looks like modelled on my tatami mat bedroom floor:

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A good weekend

Friday night met at the drunken duck in Mito with a lot of ALT's based in Ibaraki. Here's some photos I stole from someone else- I really need to get a camera 

Look at all my shiny new friends. A lot of them are baseball cap wearing Americans- but I guess I'll have to get used to it.

We also did karaoke until 5 in the morning- that was a little excessive but worth it.

On Saturday night we went to the Hitachinaka matsuri firework festival. And then to the other drunken duck in Hitachinaka. I had 5 American people sleeping on my floor afterwards.

I took a bunch of pictures on this guys camera, so I'm waiting for him to upload everything and then I can steal all the pictures and put them up here.

It's Sunday now- I'm really tired after going out two nights in a row so I'm just sitting in my apartment- feeling poo watching japanese children's tv (best thing in the world) and drinking green tea. 

Earlier I took marlys (girl from Texas) and tommy (new York frat boy) to the mall pet shop- which means I've been there 3 Sundays in a row... I really need to stop doing that.



Friday, 23 August 2013

Paper work

Term hasnt actually started yet. So I havent been teaching yet. In Japan the teachers do not get holidays off like the students. I know that sounds bad, but theres loads of bank/national holidays, so theres a lot of 3 day weekends, I heard somewhere that theres about 15, but I think its less than that. Also I get 20 days paid leave, so thats pretty decent I reckon. What I have been doing everyday is going into my base school and working in the office. 3 and a half weeks of just sitting in an office everyday between 8.30-4.15, getting on with things. thats a lot of time ive had to kill. But ive generally been already, I split it between trying to study some Japanese (although I really have to feel quite motivate to do so).. and lesson planning and then mostly going on facebook chat to other JET people (sorry to admit). I have already completed my self-introduction lesson, which I will probably be giving an easy 60 or so times. I know that sounds like a lot... but Ive slowly been getting parts of my schedule and it seems like I have a lot of classes to teach. I have to teach at 4 different schools, so thats a different school each day of the week, apart from wednesdays and friday where i will be teaching at the same base school. still following? theres more... Each school has a different timetable of rotations between the different classes I will be working at. For example, in my Tuesday school, I will be teaching 15 different classes, and each tuesday I will only teach 2 or 3 classes, this means that the rotation of classes is every 2/3 months - I have also been told that I can do the same lesson with every class - this sure makes things a hell of a lot easier. The same lessons every tuesday 2 or 3 times for 3 months. I have loads of sheets with different timetables. I have the general timetable, of which school I will be going to on each day. Then I have each schools calender, so I know when national holidays and special events are, I also have my teaching schedule for each individual school, which gives me which classes I will teaching in on which days. So yea, a lot to get my head around. One thing I have had to force myself to get better at whilst arriving in this country is going with the flow, not worrying too much about the future, just concentrate on each day at a time. Plus my supervisor gets a little overwhelmed and confused when I ask too many questions. I have learnt to just put my faith in her and trust that she will let me know about changes and events and all sorts of documents and insurance forms and whatever that I need to have or sign or display in a particular place or way or something I need to pay or buy or set up a standing order bla bla. its been a lot of paper work. But I have got this really cool stamp which says my name on it in japanese, and I get to stamp loads of things with it using red ink. Makes me feel like the mayor of animal crossing or something. Ill take a picture of it when I get home from school and post it up here.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Kawarago beach and sushi dinner



I had an accident just before this photo was taken:

After the beach we went for sushi:

Mini-Steak sushi:


After loads of yummy sushi- my plates totalled 750 yen (about a fiver) amazing!!





Monday, 19 August 2013

Omelette rice

Looks at this strange japanese food. It's actually delicious:

Stall at my mall:

You can get it with steak on top:

Here's Dyar eating one with tomato sauce and meat:


I'm not sure what was in mine, all I know is that it's delicious:




Saturday, 17 August 2013

Sylvanian families


I didn't realise you could actually get whole shops dedicated to Sylvanian families- so you can imagine my excitement when stumbling across one in Oarai:



Oarai beach

Oarai is a small beach town on the east coast of Japan, just south of Hitachinaka and Mito. During the summer it fills up with surfer babes and babettes.

At the beach shack you can get something to eat and a beer: 

I had some takoyaki, which is octopus in deep fried battered balls, it's really tasty:


These guys were playing a game with a blind fold and a watermelon:


The sand looks like dirty mud, but once you get to know it it's actually the silkiest softest sand I've ever encountered:

Cutest Japanese baby ever:

People come to Oarai beach to surf, I can't wait to try it:

This surfer let me take a picture of his very nasty tattoo:







Meeting the other Ibarakians

On Thursday we had to go for a big meeting at the Ibaraki board of education office. I was finally given the chance to meet all the other nubes in my area. Long story short- it went pretty good. Some people were a little weird, but generally I think ibaraki has a good crowd. I've also been told that there's a lot of interac people in my area, so Ill be pretty hyped to meet all those guys when they're back from holiday.

Annoyingly my ipad doesn't have a flash. There was a pretty massive group of us to begin with, but as people had to get back to various long away places it whittled down to these people:

This is the most American person I've ever met, the first thing I learnt about him was that he was a member of a frat house *cringe* :


Luckily there's some British people to keep me sane, Alistair and Chris live in Oarai (half an hour drive south of me), so looks like I'm gonna be spending a lot of time there. Alistair has already bought a futon so I can crash at his whenever I like:




Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pet world at the mall

My local shopping centre which is conveniently a 10 minute drive away- also with the biggest uniqlo I have ever been to - has the coolest pet shop I've ever seen. Check it out.

I stumbled upon this first:


And then went inside:


Puppies and kittens area:


They have an area for pet photo-shoots:


Play area:

Pet prams:
Aquarium:

Medium sized pet area:

I felt bad for this guy:

Bird area:

And finally a goat



The mall also has a studio ghibli shop and a cutesy toy shop: