Published: November 2nd 2009November 2nd 2009
Coming at you one year older, better looking, smarter, and just maybe a little more mature. Oh and did I mention modest? hahahaha just kidding everyone, still the same old me, just with a beard and a lot more Japanese friends!
So I made it through my welcome party on Saturday just in time for my birthday on Sunday and I'll tell you one thing. Japanese people work hard, but man do they party hard. I've never had so many chances to yell "Kanpai!" in my whole life than I did these past two nights. I managed to excuse myself from most drink challenges and offers on Saturday since I was able to claim the need to keep sober for my big speech, which I gave to the staff and students at the dinner party. But, alas, I was not so fortunate on my birthday, and although I tried, the refusals just were not coming out of my mouth. But as for Saturday, the welcome/farewell party was really fun and it was so interesting and relieving to see the students having a good time and asking me so many questions and thanking me for coming to their school.
super delicious dish cooked at the table
It’s such a change from their classroom disposition and it helped me realize that they are just as nervous in class as I am! I tried a whole bunch of new food including Nabe, and yes, I even ate all the sushi and raw salmon they put in front of me. It was really great getting to know the students on a personal level too, and I walked out of the party with invitations to join a badminton club, soccer team, hiking group, camping adventure, mountain climbing trip, video game tournament, movie watching date, and ‘No’ theatre experience. And I thought I wouldn’t know how to fill my free time! The speeches given to Cecilia and Ayako, the departing teachers, were really heartfelt and there were a lot of tears being shed towards the end. It goes to show just how close of friends you can become with the students in a short period of time. Invites to be the maid of honour in a wedding were even given out. Not only were the students very gracious but the staff and managers were so welcoming and helpful to me. I was personally taken around during the first week to do
all the necessary chores in order to settle in and set up my apartment. Bank account, phone, furniture, water bills, and all that good stuff. It’s almost like I’m a real adult now! I received my personal stamp that is used as a signature and it translates into ‘HAPPY DRAGON’ which could be the coolest thing ever.
As for classes, I have taught a total of 4 so far and after a few jitters I’m pretty confident that I can do a good job and really help my students learn English. I haven’t done any kids classes yet but although I’m told they can be difficult I’m really looking forward to singing the ‘Hello’, ‘Weather’, ‘Sound’, ‘ABC’, and ‘English school’ songs with the incredibly cute boys and girls. We already had Halloween week and they all came in costumes every day and the number of princesses walking through the front door would have made your heart melt, mom!
And now to talk about the birthday… First of all thanks to everyone for their amazing birthday wishes and messages, I love to hear from you and know that you were celebrating for me all around the world! I did
a little celebrating myself…Looooong story short, we caught the train when the sun came up and managed to find our way through the crazy train system back to Niiza station where my apartment is. But barely and with help from some nice Japanese people who guided us along. I live in the same building as my Canadian co worker, Dave and it’s been a team effort to get around and explore the area. He has been here for 4 months so we are both fairly new to Niiza. He lent me his bike so most days I ride the twenty minutes to work along the ‘Highway’ which is barely wide enough for two cars to drive side by side. No jackets yet either here as the average temperature has been over 20 degrees. It feels like summer still! How is the weather in Canada? I kind of miss the snow but I’m not complaining at all. I even managed to cook my first big meal the other day, using the hot plate in my tiny kitchen to make yakisoba noodles with tonkatsu sauce and shredded beef and vegetables. I took some pics for those who don’t believe me and the
other pics that I have attached were taken at the welcome party on Saturday. They are all my students and it was just before they started singing and pouring a lot of sake around.
Well that’s it for this week. Another tough but exciting week coming up. Any requests for specific pictures from anyone? I can take a lot more now that I have a camera on my iphone so just let me know what you want to see! The video I blogged about a few weeks ago was deleted so sorry for getting your hopes up. But if you want to call me my cellphone is working and the number is +81 080 40 987 123. (I know this is public but just don’t send it to advertising companies!). Ok good talk see you out there everyone!
Sloan ‘Happy Dragon’ Crawford
ps. Yes, the peace sign is going to be in every single photo. It's impossible not to do it. So much so that I even tried not to do it but it still happened every time!