I really enjoy teaching, I’d say probably more than I expected. Being around kids all day is a lot of fun, but definitely tiring. I think I’m much more tired when I’m not teaching than when I’m in the classroom. I only ever feel tired right after lunch and recess when I’m in the staff room sitting there being bored. I thought that this job would be a lot more fun than any office job I’d land in the states (at least right after college) and my experience so far confirms it. On a side note the 1st and 2nd graders here are overwhelmingly cute.
It can sometimes be difficult to talk or work with some of the teachers here because they don’t know any English and my Japanese isn’t strong enough to bridge that gap just yet. Somehow through body language and other various ways I’m almost always able to communicate what needs to be done. Thankfully I haven’t had any serious problems at all with the teachers. I think pretty much everyone at my schools likes me. There hasn’t really been any one time where there has been a total failure to communicate. I was expecting to hang out more with the teachers but because they are so busy and with the whole language gap it is a bit difficult.
I feel healthy and I am getting a lot of exercise. I bike to school everyday and am very energetic in the classroom. I think the kids love the energy. I'm still working on making a catch phrase that I want all the kids saying by the end of the year haha. I also take every chance I can to go play games at recess. The kids always fight over me because some want me to jump rope, want me to play soccer, and some want me to play dodge ball. I try to do a little of each everyday. On the weekends I’ve been trying to stay active as well. I bought a tennis racket and plan on playing this weekend. Last weekend I went to my prefectures capital (like a state capital) about an hour train ride away and played Ultimate Frisbee. I made a bunch of new of new friends there. Last weekend after practice they invited me to come out drinking with them but I already had plans, maybe this weekend I’ll go with them haha.
I think that my life here can only get better as time goes on. So far that’s been the trend and I think its going to continue. I believe this because I’m going to get to know Sano better (find all the awesome little niche places), I’m going to keep making new friends (in addition to the ALTs make Japanese friends), and I’m going to continue to improve my Japanese (so I know what the hell I’m buying/eating/using ect.).
Soon I think there are free Japanese language classes in Ashikaga, a close by city. I want to go when they start so I can continue to learn. Self study is good, and I’m learning but not at a fast enough pace. I think being in a class of some kind might facilitate faster learning because there is someone pushing you to learn.
My ALT friends and I have decided to make Wednesday nights “closet movie night”. Where we watch a movie that is supposed to be bad but we all secretly like. Last Wednesday we watched Mean Girls, which I thought was well written hah. Next Wednesday I think it’s Snakes on a Plane, which I still haven’t seen but want to.
Life is good.
This week I taught at Tenmyo and Ueno, all easy and fun. I'm starting to teach about Halloween the kids seem pretty interested, but the teachers almost seem more interested than the kids haha. I want to dress up and go to class, if they let me I totally will.