My Thursday school - is my second favourite school (of 4). The kids are a very lowest level - they have no motivation whatsoever, Im very luckily if they are all still awake by the end of the class (that is NOT a reflection of my teaching skills!! japanese students have a weird habit of just sleeping whenever they are not interested - i wish I could just fall asleep so easily - trust me!) .. the kids here are cheeky, naughty and badly behaved. On top of this, my Thursday schedule is not easy - I have 4 lessons back-to-back and it is exhausting.
So why do I like it here so much? The teachers of course!
In my other schools being the only non-native with no Japanese I am naturally isolated - I cannot join in the teacher office banter - I do not understand announcements - I am a loner. I often just fall into the background. (although I dont mind - because now that I actually have work to be getting on with I can get on with my work).
here - the teachers are very sweet.
The English teachers talk to me all the time - after school today I am going out for dinner for two of them - this is almost the only case of teachers actually wanting to spend time with me outside of school (although I imagine I will be invited to a few things via my base school)... One of the teachers at this school is a really old japanese lady. She literally treats me like I am her grandchild - a pleasure I have never experienced in life before.
This is the only school where they dont order bento - so im expected to bring in a packed lunch. Although really, I shouldnt bother as my grandma is constantly feeding me - its great. She waits on me hand and foot - hot drinks - cold drinks - fruit- cakes - treats - yogurts etc. its great. Im treated so well here. Grandma is amazing at english too - she has spent a lot of time in the UK and loves it there. Shes loves Winston Churchill and has more or less told me his life story.
I came in today expecting her to give me a biography of him, as she promised last week. But instead she told me that her book is very old and in bad condition, so she has ordered one online to lend me (possibly give me...not sure) how sweet is that? seriously? Thursdays are a pleasure. The kids can be as crap as they like, Ive got grandma to protect me.
Slowly easing into life here- still adapting- I think it will take all the way until Christmas to feel properly normal- maybe longer- maybe this place will never feel real. Trying to orientate myself here is hard in some ways- as soon as you think you've figured something out it changes. I thought I had figured out the general vibe of mito- but I've just found out that it's the punk capital of Japan- and now Im very excited. I've also just found out that I'm an hours drive away from the largest ostrich farm in Japan. Apparently you can go there- pet the ostriches and then eat ostrich meat- haha!!!
I visited the beach in my town for the first time today- I didn't go swimming in the sea before you go all crazy about radiation- I just sat on the sand with Dyar (new amigo). It was really nice. It's always been a dream of mine to live near a coast- have my own beach- somewhere I can go whenever I want. And now I have it. How did it take me two months to finally go there? It's a 15 minute drive from my flat. What a beautiful place- I can't wait to go in the winter- when the beach is empty of tourists, families and surfers, and it's just me and the winter sea. My only exposure to beaches has been on hot holidays; bikinis, kids splashing around, people sunbathing etc.. I've never spent time at a beach during a different season- I'm so curious and excited. I can enjoy that incredible sound of waves crashing whenever I want- what a luxury.
There is no rubbish here- things are clean- people are respectful- no one enters a home or institution without removing their shoes or putting on indoor shoes. Eating and drinking in public is rude- the train is dead quiet as everyone obeys the rules. Transport here is immaculately timed. I am 15 minutes early to school each day- being late is unthinkable. Society works- everything has a perfect little system- everything is so well figured out- there are no gaps - every angle is covered. You just have to go with it- be flexible trust in Japan and Japanese people and it will work out- and it always does. Things happen as they are supposed to. The bus arrives on time- every time. There is no stress- just behave as you are expected to and all will be fine. You throw burnables out on Mondays and Thursdays in green bags. Unburnable rubbish is taken out on every 1st and 3rd Friday in a yellow bag. Recycling is every other Tuesday - you must clean everything and put it in the right bin- there are about 15 different recycling categories- bottles get recycled separately to their lids. You don't make a mistake. Everyone throws rubbish out correctly. You must throw it out between 6 and 8 in the morning- no other time - never the night before. Everyone respects all the little rules- everything runs smoothly. You never j walk- you always wait at the light. Even if there's no cars for miles. Every shop, restaurant bar or service place you walk into - you will receive the best service you have ever experienced. Everyone has a good time, is in a good mood and is willing to help. And you bow all the time at everyone. You apologise for your existence in any situation and you are grateful and respectful of everything. Everyone is nice. These are the nicest and most considerate people I have ever encountered. There is no crime. My students are insanely sweet. The teachers- incredibly nice and very open-minded to my ideas. I receive gifts all the time- it is customary to just buy gifts for everyone in the office- always weird snack food. It's great. It's called omiyage and you receive it gracefully. From the moment I leave my house I say ohiyo goziemas (good morning) to everybody I encounter.