Who knew time would fly by so fast? When I think that I’ve been in Japan for five months — that January will mark half a year — I can hardly believe it. I’ve been MIA in November mostly because it was insanely busy. Sorry about the lack of updating; I’m going to try better. I have so many pictures and things to upload! I’ll slowly be doing that, really. Also, in two weeks, I’m traveling to Korea! So I’ll have a lot of new pictures and posts coming!
For now, here’s an update about what I’ve been doing these last thirty-plus days, in list form:
- Starting to get the hang of teaching in an environment different from what I’m used to. I’ve made some very lovely lesson plans, which [I feel] have a nice balance of work and fun. Of course, I’ve made some lesson plans that missed the mark, too, but I like to focus on victories and learn from mistakes. Or so I tell myself.
- The temperature has dropped like a popped balloon. From the humidity and heat I was experiencing as late as October, it has become cold. Yes, “cold” is all relative — I’ve seen the news articles about the storms in America — but for someone who has lived in Arizona for more than a decade, this is cold. It’s weird having to put on a sweater, scarf, coat, and sometimes earmuffs and gloves before heading outside. It’s also weird sleeping in sweatpants and a long-sleeve shirt.
- I was hit, like a brick in the face, with a mountain of grading. As the only person on staff that is 100% fluent in English, I grade the English paragraphs the students try to compose. When you suddenly find 600 of them on your desk…yeah, it takes a while…
- Nanowrimo came, and went. And while I didn’t win like I was hoping to do, simply because of the sheer amount of work I had to do, I’ve learned a lot about my creativity (which is still strong and was just hibernating, waiting for me to give it some attention) and biting off more than you can chew.
- The Skills Development Conference (SDC), a mandatory conference with education workshops, was in November. Every JET from Shizuoka attended, and quite a few Japanese English Language Teachers. It was quite an experience, and it was nice seeing people I hadn’t seen since Tokyo Orientation in August.
- I joined the Shizuoka Chronicle, the prefecture newspaper made by JETs for JETs and their schools. I’m the editor for the education section of the newspaper. While it allows for a different experience, a few business trips to capitol city, and allows me to stretch my creative writing muscles…it also means more things to do in an already jam-packed schedule. Although I’m still trying to learn about how not to do more when I’m already busy. As for the Chronicle, I’m not regretting it yet. We’ll see when the deadlines start approaching.
- I bought a cover for my kotatsu, so most my evenings are at home huddled under its beautiful warmth (and, until recently, often grading papers).
- I’m getting the hang of cooking with only an induction plate, microwave, weak toaster oven, rice cooker, and slow cooker. I still miss having an oven — and a stove with more than one hob — but I’m adapting. I’ve begun changing/inventing recipes so that I can cook again! Also, it’s strange seeing oranges on season in winter, but I’ve been eating a lot of oranges and apples.
- I managed to catch a cold, which turned into an ear infection. I was on antibiotics. I experienced a completely different way of doing healthcare than what I was used to, which was disconcerting, to say the least. No worries, though; I’m getting better.
- The JET community has been amazing so far. There’ve been weekend festivals, Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, coffee klatches, and conversations on Facebook and Line. It’s nice to know people are out there to connect with and I’m not just some gaijin trying to get by.
That’s just an overview, but like I said, I’m committed to blogging much more! I want to really make this a scrapbook, something I can keep and look back on with memories about my time in Japan. So, expect more pictures, more random musings, and more Mount Fuji pictures. 🙂