Monday, October 22, 2007

The Big City

As I sit in my local Internet cafe eating the complementary Miso soup and drinking unlimited glasses of coke, I decided it was time I graced the pages of my poor neglected blog. While I can't guarantee anyone will read it (and nor would I blame them since the last entry was May!) I'm going to give it a try.

This August presented me with some of the hardest months I've yet had to face. Moving house and starting a new job is always taxing, doing it in Japan was certainly interesting, and if things weren't stressful enough my year and a half relationship came to a somewhat messy end at the beginning of September. Finding myself alone and penniless in the big city was intimidating, and part of me wanted to throw in the towel there and then, head back to the UK and try again at home. As soon as I started taking the baby steps of a New Start though, it all began to fall back into place, and while there are still rocky patches, I'm slowly making my way down the mountain I thought I was stuck upon only a month ago. Here are just a few of the reasons I managed to stand firm in Japan.

My New Job

My two years of working on Goto never really felt like real work. I never felt respected as a teacher (except at Primary school) and I was tired of spending days at Junior High School sat at a desk wishing I could be at home doing something productive. For 2 years the work was bearable because the community and cultural experience of living on an island was so rich. I would never change my placement and have no regrets about my time there. I had, however, grown tired of doing nothing but make endless lists of things I should do (and could have done had I been able to use e-mail at work or been at home) and that's one of the reasons I moved. Seiha is a world away from the work I was doing before, and while I'm getting paid less, I'm happy. Everyday I work at a different school, and the classes are full of singing, dancing, games, and the students English is great! Some days are long, and catching the right bus can be a bit of a mission. My Wednesday morning often begins with a 10 minute stress, running from bus to bus asking if it goes to Himi, before I finally find the right one! Some days involve long train or bus rides, and others have lots of downtime between morning and afternoon classes. which is fine when I'm close to home but a bit pants when I'm further away. The Japanese teachers I work with are all really fun though. I love that I have someone different to chat to everyday, and that there English is good enough to joke and natter together. My favourite days are at Yumesaito, the shopping mall near my house. Those classes are always full of fun and enthusiasm and the teachers have great lesson ideas, plus the food court on the bottom floor has amazing foods from different countries with lots of free samples, yum! I really like feeling like a real worker, heading into work with everyone else at the start of the day, knowing people rely on me and respect me as a real teacher. No job is perfect, but I'm certainly enjoying this one.

My new Apartment.

I was originally supposed to be living with my now ex-boyfriend when I arrived back in Japan, but the break-up meant I had to find a new place all by myself. Thankfully the housing company I went to were really lovely and very patient about any communication problems. They found me a lovely little place only 7 minutes from the city centre. It came with a TV, fridge/freezer, washing machine, gas stove and air conditioner, all included in the rent! My first night was quite daunting, I didn't have anything except a futon and my suitcases, not even curtains! The next day I moved my stuff and bought essentials (like curtains) and it feels more like home already. Being close to the city is really nice, but it's still very quiet. All the houses around me are traditional Japanese style and it's like walking into the past as I pace the narrow alleys that lead me home. There are always lots of cats around to say Good Morning to, and the sound of a piano always fills the street in the afternoons. I haven't got everything I need yet, like a rice cooker or a table, but I have enough to get by. I'm enjoying little things, like having a bath that I can use, and a balcony to do laundry. I just wish I could keep the place a little tidier, but some things never change!

Time has flown by and I have to go back to work already. I have a day of Halloween classes, yey! I promise I'll write again soon though.


At 5:13 am, Blogger biginjapan said...

Hey Vicki,

I just wanted to say hi and let you know that I'm thinking about you. I hope you're all settled in.




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