I Love the Smell of Japan

If the title sounds weird, it’s because I’m tired, and I’m drunk, and, well, it’s true. There’s something here that I haven’t smelled since I was last here. Partially in the humidity in the air, partially in the air in the supermarkets, and partially down the back alleys of the restaurants where the smoke empties out into the streets. I didn’t realize how much I missed that smell until these few days, when I’ve smelled it again and really felt like I’m back home (as weird as that sounds).

Anyway, I can’t write much more today. Still no energy to post pictures. Mainly because I’m tired from drinking and a long day of work (we got out at 7:30 today, and tomorrow not until 9), but also because my get-home activity has been about an hour of emails every day. (Thanks to everyone who is emailing me! I appreciate it!) Anyway, emails are more important than blog, so they win. But I’ll try to continue doing at least small posts like I’ve been doing, and maybe on the weekend I can do a larger more detailed post.

I wasn’t kidding about the smell of Japan either.

So anyway, today we had a lot of detail about teaching lessons, and we had some real students in today for practice and got to watch their lessons. It was so much fun! It reminded me a lot of both Conversation Club at the JASGP, and conversation practice with Emiko. It looked really, really fun, and I can’t wait to teach my own students. Of course, it won’t be long… tomorrow is our first “actual” lesson. It will be in front of trainers for the first time, and then on Thursday, we’ll teach a group of Japanese students. So we’re all busy preparing our individual lessons. Tonight is sleep, but early tomorrow morning, we’ll all be busy getting our lesson plans together for our day of lesson practice! I feel pretty good about it because I’ve got some experience doing this — it’s exactly like when I was a student at Eurocentres, so I know what the students feel like, and it’s also exactly like the kind of stuff I’ve been doing with Emiko, so I’ve got some teaching experience too. Even though what I’ve done so far teaching-wise has hardly been structured, and certainly not in a class-like environment, it looked familiar to me, and I think that will be helpful.

Okay, now I’m pretty sleepy, and I need a shower. So I will continue tomorrow.

Umi no Hi

Yesterday a typhoon, today an earthquake… what’s going to happen tomorrow — a volcano or a plague? Maybe an asteroid impact on Wednesday?

Today was my first day of training, and was quite long. But it’s quite interesting to be learning these teaching methods. Tomorrow it gets a bit more intensive, but it should be fun still. Then we’ll teach some actual students, which I’m a bit nervous for… but you gotta start somewhere I guess.

The earthquake that his Niigata today was a really strong one, and our building shook for a whole minute, even though we’re pretty far from Niigata. I heard that 6 people died, and there were many more injuries as well as a lot of damage.

I found a nice gyuudon place for lunch today, as well as a place that serves miso-katsu, another Nagoya specialty. For dinner, we went back to the kushikatsu place that we went to on our first night, and I was pleased to find that I could read a lot more than I did that night. Apparantly 30 hours of transit really did mess with my translating abilities. So today I learned that they actually do have vegetables and desert too. I got beer instead of shochu, and I found out that the kebab I liked best last time was made from chicken hearts. Yum! I’m still a big fan of the aspara-bacon, and I’ve found a few more sticks that I will try again later in the week. I’m planning to eat miso-katsu tomorrow, but I will definitely be going back to the kushikatsu place, as that’s another one of Nagoya’s specialty foods. (It really is amazing how many ways there are to prepare chickens on sticks. No more liver for me though… ugh!)

I know I promised photos today, but it will have to wait for another day. I’ve been writing emails for an hour, and I still have reading to do, so I’m not in the mood to upload and code the images into this page. Work here starts late, which is great, but it also means if you do anything at all after work, you’re coming home quite late. Even though I’m trying to push the envelope, the time zone difference is still a bit challenging, and 22:30 is nearly crash time for me. (I’ve promised myself at least to stay up until 23:00 tonight.)

I can’t stress enough how awesome washlets are.

I’m Here!

I’m going to just write a short post with no photos because I’m so tired right now…

The flights to Japan were fine. As comfortable as any 17-hour air trip could be… I watched The 300 twice, passed in and out of consciousness many times, and probably did some serious damage to my ears. I sketched a bit too (a Spartan chicken).

I had no trouble going through customs, and met Yukari from AEON as well as 4 other teachers here to train with me. There are others but I haven’t met them yet. We took a bullet train from the airport to Nagoya, and arrived here at the hotel around 4:30. Took a shower, got the room just slightly set up, then went out to see the town. It’s pouring rain here — there’s a typhoon nearby that is going to put the spoiler on our first weekend, but oh well. I’m still so happy!

After showering, we headed out into the rain and wandered around. I’m soaking wet now… >_< After exploring some department stores and walking around the local blocks, 3 of us finally stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall joint nearby. We were so tired, and I was the best Japanese speaker of the group, so we had a lot of trouble ordering food. ^^" First we ordered from the drinks menu, because I was too exhausted to realize they were drinks... and nobody else wanted to drink so I ended up drinking all the shochu and getting a bit drunk. Then we ordered a whole ton of kebab style food, which was tasty, except that we ordered like 5 sticks of liver... 2 of them were tasty, but 3 were really gross (I can still taste it when I burp). It was a nice place, and the owners were very amused at my very exhausted and pitiful attempts at ordering in Japanese. I'm determined to go back there tomorrow and do a better job. We also went down to a local manga shop and some other random places, but its all a blur to me now. So sleepy. My hotel room is very cozy, and the washlet is fantastic! I'll post some pictures tomorrow when I have the energy. I've been up and out for... 30 hours now? I think... I can't count anymore. I need to sleep. Goodnight! Continue reading I’m Here!