So, it’s been a while and I know it’s with great anticipation that you’ve awaited this post! So Tada! I’m in Iki-Japan!
So a lot has happened! And I can finally share this with you because I have Internet, aand a moment to breath.
First – the flight. It was long, and to be honest it was hard to sleep. I was also hot and the plane noise was loud and I could not see much scenary because of clouds and the wing. My window was on the wing of the plane on the left hand side. But I have a cool on flight video of the route we took! I watched the movie Aleigent on the plane, and realized that I had not seen the second movie in this trilogy, talk about spoilers! I also watched 2 episodes of Murdoch Myteries which I have not seen. On TV yet, so bonus! We landed in Japan 10 minutes ahead a schedule at 3:40pm Japan’s time. That would be about 2:40 am Toronto time. 13 hour time difference, it can make getting the days straight very challenging!
Landing in Tokyo led to a long process of getting certain documents signed and getting my residence card, signing a declaration of baggage and picking up my baggage, which seemed to take forever and I had enough time to sneak in some roaming so I could text my Mom that I was ok. After finally getting through I walked into the lobby of Japan! There I met a gentleman from CLAIR who was going to take me to the hotel I was staying at. Turns out I was there with a few other Jets! I met Eamonn first from the USA. We dropped off our extra baggage to be sent to our BOE and then we got on a bus that dropped us, seriously, not 5 minutes from the airport… The hotel was amazing! So nice and clean and Japanese! The Narita Tobu Airport Hotel. I was floor 8 from 72. We got wifi! And so I was able to LINE my mom and mike. We got a breakfast coupon too! Free food.
Now I know you’re thinking, when’s the Jet lag coming in. It doesn’t really. I’m sorry to disappoint you. When I arrived in Tokyo, I barely had 5 hours sleep on a 12 hour flight. Sooo when I got to the hotel I wasn’t hungry because they sort of force fed us 3 meals on the plane in the span of afternoon to midnight (a time I don’t normally eat). I went to bed early – 7pm Japan time. The only odd thing that I noticed was that every hour after 10 pm I would wake, thinking it was 4:30 am – when I set my alarm to pack, shower and eat before 7am. I realized that this was probably because my body was thinking it was 9am Toronto when it was 10pm Japan. Lol. Circadian sych!
Basically, got up and ran into MORE JETS on the way to breakfast. I looked super pro! All dressed up in my suit and stuff, Oh also, the temperature was my biggest disappointment. It was like 25 degrees but hello humidity! Worse than Toronto’s humidity this year… Even in the hotel room and in the van. Altogether we were 9 Late Arrivals. Everyone else were late upgrades from the alternate ALT list. I was the special case. Also, most were from the USA except for one from Paris France and Ireland! And myself. Go Canada! One other JET was getting on a plane that would take them south, like me, but I was alone after our brief half morning orientation with CLAIR in Tokyo city. The views were amazing in the van, excpets when the highway walls were soo tall you could not see anything. Everything was so compact and small! The road, the cars… Etc. But still, tired and excited and really hot!
So myself and Eammon were left to wait for our flight at 2 in Haneda Airport, the other side of Tokyo from where we landed in Narita. I was left alone for 20 minutes because Eammon’s flight left before me. That’s when I was like, woo, this is really happening! I got into the check in, and discovered you can take bottles on the plane… Didn’t have to chug that water… And then I boarded a JAL – Japan Air Lines plane to Omura, Nagasaki where I was to meet my supervisor, Yamakawa Sensei. It was not a long flight at all, I can see why people here chose to fly. I was on the plan maybe 40 minutes or less and landed at the tail end of the Typhone. It was hot and humid, but not quite raining. Landing in Nagasaki was amazing and I got a wonderful few from the plane. I was so excited, and hot and felt bad for maybe smelling. Then I met Yamakawa Sensei in the lobby! She had a paper with my name and Sensei on it and it was so exciting and I was so excited and she looked so cool and pretty! Dashed all my fears away of her being an older, strict mean Japanese english teacher, honestly I don’t know where my imagination gets these fears from!
I spoke with her a lot and was surprised and relieved to discover her English was really good! That’s eased my fear of not being understood! Someone would get me in Japan! Yay! She was super nice and we talked about Japan and Canada and what is different between the 2 as we passed things on the bus to the hotel. I got some time at the hotel to unpack a bit and change and chill. As in wipe off the sweat from the humidity. I also got onto the wifi! Yay! And let Mom and mike know I was ok! We then met at 6pm for dinner at the cafe right next to our hotel. They played English music! And the sashimi was soo good! I notice I could not eat a lot at a sitting while I was moving around and I think this is beacause of all the moving and unsettling that I was unconsciously being careful. On our way out a student asked to speak with me in English. My first encounter. She had heard us speaking and was fascinated. So I asked her about her English and she mentioned how she wanted to go abroad, I said I was from Canada and she said she’d like to go! Wow! Cool! I found out she had been on Iki and recently moved because both of her parents are teachers and teachers are moved every 5 to 7 years. What a coincidence! We then went to a Kombini – convenience store, and these stores have everything! Even city approved garbage bags and air plane tickets! Yes, I know. It’s true.
It began to rain a little we retired to the hotel for the night. I chilled and talked to mom and mike again and then went to bed after eating daifuku and green tea. MMM. The next morning we packed up and got on the bus back to the airport where we were catching the plane Iki bound. We got Starbucks for breakfast and I was warned there was none on Iki. So sad! The plane ride was only about another half hour. It was a much smaller plane and I got a free map of Nagasaki! When we landed I could not get over the wonderful scenary and how many plants there were I did not know! There are Palm trees! And cranes and herons and Kites. Farms everywhere and the roads are all curvey like my street back home. We made a few stops before arriving at the school where everyone of the staff who was available came out to meet me including the vice principle – Kyootoo sensei. They even had a little sign that said welcome Kayla Sensei to Iki Shougyou!
I got to meet the principle – Koochoo sensei, and the 3rd year class came into the office to welcome me to Iki! After this we drove around Iki, begining to set up all of my accounts and other things. This took 2 days. Thursday and Friday were used to set up my stuffs and I got to go into the office and work on my introduction for the students! I got internet Friday afternoon and then was invited to an enkai and nomikai! These are teacher parties that celebrate events. This was a double celebration, the successful sports day and the arrival of myself! Lots of fun drinking and karaokeing and the food was amazing! They were surprised I could used chopsticks!! The following day I went to Bunka – culture festival at Iki Ko in Gonura, my other high school, and met the teachers again and some of the students. The festival was fun and I won a bag of Halloween candy. Also know that high school haunted houses are scary in Japan! Lol. They compete for points that are announced at the end of the festival and give their class merit for some other event. It was really fun listening to the brass band play les Miserables. At this time I met the Iki Ko Koochoo and Kyootoo Sensei. After driving back home I was finally able to begin unpacking and settling it. I did this most of Sunday as well and also got to go to a cafe in Kastumoto for parfait, and a shrine – one of many, before coming home for 6pm for dinner, thanks to my neighbour. My first day of teaching went really well and I continued to make final adjustments to my presentation. Everyone has been really supportive and kind and helpful and getting to talk with the he students as best we can and join them in their cleaning and club activities!
Here is to another successful; week in Japan! I’ll update you all again soon.
Below, pictures from my first week in Japan and teaching. Visited 4 shrines, went out to eat with the other ALT’s and ordered Japanese lunch at the school! Some pictures from around the house and the culture festival murals! Thats the typhoon from Saturday afternoon on the radar and the breakfast I made this morning with my new pan and microwave toaster! The stone sign is from the Iki Katsumoto Onsen I went to yesterday and the beach in Ishida before the typhoon hit!