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Good Morning, Kuga Chu August 22, 2007

Posted by Mitch in General.

Today heralded my first visit to my ‘base’ school, i.e. the school where I’ll be spending the majority of my working time whilst here in Japan. Needless to say I was really nervous about meeting them and making a good impression. However, not even those nerves could induce me to wear a tie in this heat, so went in just a shirt and trousers and my lovely new shoes. Ha! First mistake. You don’t wear shoes inside and so I was presented with a charming pair of pointy emerald slippers. Now, don’t think glamour like Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. These were a horrible shade of green with Kuga Junior High School embossed in gold script across the toes. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they were at least eight sizes to small and so I had to shuffle about, feeling like a right prick, when in fact, no one even batted an eyelid at, what I thought, was a pretty ridiculous scene. I already tower over people here; just to make sure I don’t fit in, they give me the retard’s slippers. Oh, and because they were too small, my heels hung over the edge and therefore my feet are killing me! I took the complimentary pair that were given out at the hotel in Tokyo and they fit a little better, so methinks I’ll be taking those in when I return tomorrow.

However, the uncomfortable slippers was perhaps the only downside today. First of all I was ushered into a lovely, air conditioned room. We had been told that schools weren’t air conditioned and so I was pleasantly surprised. That said, it was short lived as the teachers apologised to me, explaining that this was the only air conditioned room in the entire building. So sweaty lessons are sure to ensue.

They explained the curriculum, the schedule and what is expected of me. Basically, I’ll be there to help out and sometimes I’ll have to arrange games and activities for classes. And at the moment they’re preparing a student for a speech contest and I’m helping perfect her speech about environmental issues. In fact, that’s the only reason I have to go in tomorrow.

I met the three English teachers and they’re all charming. There are two women and one man. One of the women is really confident and chattered away in English and really made me feel welcome. The other woman is a little more reserved, but just as nice. I didn’t really see much of the man, but, once again, on first impression he seems really nice too. Immediately I was put at ease, just by being met with three smiling faces. They also offered any help they could – I may even get one of them to help me deal with the mould that seems to be ever-present. After they discussed the speech contest with me, they told me I could go home. I decided to ignore them. One thing that has been constantly beaten into us at the umpteen orientations I’ve had to suffer through is the fact that Japanese teachers stay late at school and are always constantly busy. So, I told them that I wanted to stay to work on the script for the speech. God, I’m glad I did, because after I finished working on it, I was invited out for lunch with the two female English teachers. They drove me to a little restaurant where we ate a nice meal and had good conversations about my life back in England, their lives in Japan etc. Basically just getting to know one another. Then, when we got back to the school, I said that I would go home because I need to go food shopping. I’m sure I could have stayed for longer, but no one seemed to care either way, and I do, in fact, need to go and get some more food. I’ll be trying out my bike for the first time and I’m not looking forward to it – it looks like it can support one of my legs. How it’ll cope with the rest of me remains to be seen, so I’ll let you know at a later date (unless, that is, I fall off and get hit by a train or something).

So yeah – all is good at the moment. Just having something to do makes all the difference and gives me a purpose for getting up in the morning. OK, watching Gimme Gimme Gimme on TV Links did seem like a good use of my time yesterday, but leaving the house for a reason other than strolling around and sweating was really great.

Just a final aside so you all know, the box that was full of my stuff that got delayed in England arrived yesterday. Almost everything was in tact – a bottle of shampoo had burst, the worst of it being caught by the plastic bag I had wrapped it in. However, some of my clothes did suffer from the fallout and I had to wash them. It didn’t come out completely, unfortunately – now there are just rather suspect white marks over a couple of my t-shirts. I will wash them again, rather than risk getting the reputation of sex-pest in Kuga.

Watch this space for more school stories. Till next time!



1. Les Burtenshaw - August 22, 2007

Hi Mitch
Sounds like things are settling down..thats good. Can’t wait to hear about your “Sturmy Archer” tales.

2. Herb - August 24, 2007

Dear Mitch,
Im glad to know that you are settling a bit better into your new situation. Im sorry i have not been writing to much but i have really been traveling a lot and am still trying to get over jet lag. I really enjoyed reading your blogs and i hope that you can continue them. Take care and hopefully one of these days i will come and pester you if i can find the time.


3. Poyns - August 26, 2007

Is it Hairspray day today?!
Liking these musical related subject lines Mitch!

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