It’s come to my attention that I don’t really talk about what I do in Japan; I write about weekend fun, and occasionally mention funny stories that happen, or bitch about Kim Jung-Il and Steve McLaren (if the two switched jobs I’m sure both the international community and the England football team would be better off).
That’s largely because I don’t really do that much. Mostly I try to learn Japanese, although my efforts are becoming increasingly half-hearted, worrying as my Japanese Exam is drawing closer and closer. I enjoy my days most of the time, and the worst thing that happens to me is boredom on a large scale. Although a total lack of responsibility in my daily affairs is both good for me and my fellow co-workers, it does mean my job lacks fulfillment a lot of the time. But the students are ok; the guys seems pretty uninterested in me overall, and as we can’t really communicate with each other anyway this suits me just fine. The girls giggle a lot and shout ‘hello’ before hiding behind their friends, and often just come into the staffroom and stare at me. At first this was flattering, now its rather annoying. I’m becoming more determined to get some students to learn something- its tough as both my schools aren’t academic at all, and many students can’t even write in english letters! So I want to focus more on practical skills (money, shopping, etc) and fun things (hobbies, opinions, descriptions). As a teacher at Seishi told me when drunk, talking about political opinions and personal things is far more interesting than ‘where do you come from?’, ‘what are your hobbies’, but I’m obviously never going to get to this level with my students.
So anyway, at Shonan I mostly:
1. pester Ono-sensei and Manabe-sensei, teachers who are usually far more busy than me
2. go and pester Mori-san, our jimu (secretary), who is a unique lady who seems to be able to find out about anything i need to know
3. pester Kagawa-sensei about turtles and other such things
4. attempt to learn Japanese before going off to pester someone
5. teach the occasional lesson
6. talk to Yoden-sensei about Salvador Dali (this is a new one)
At Seishi my day is even less productive, I usually:
1. chat with Chisato (Hirota-sensei) all day
2. have an occassional ‘debate’ with Sugihara-sensei over something which we usually disagree on (Murakami, politics, how Japanese girls are apprently ‘un-Japanese’)
3. pop to the post office or combini for a change of scenery
4. attempt to learn Japanese before asking Chisato a question about something random
5. check on how the ‘Steve Fan Club’ is going (this is a small but dedicated group of female students who follow me around…sadly their leader has left school, which truly is sad as she was a great student and a really nice person- who had exactly the same bday as my sister)
6. teach the occasional lesson, although this experience varies dramatically depending on whether I’m teaching with Chisato or Sugihara-sensei.
So that’s my daily-ish life. Overall Seishi is more chilled, but Shonan is more fulfilling. I like the mix- it’s fun staying with Carrie every other week, as her apartment is always well-stocked with sake. Next time I bother to comment on something meaningful, I want to talk about the weird phenomenon that is being a ‘gaijin’ (foreigner) in Japan.