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As We Stumble Along August 31, 2007

Posted by Mitch in General, Life in Japan, Random.

Hello once again! I hope you’re all good and ready for another installment from the depths of rural Japan. Last night, I experienced Sanzoku. Apparently, it’s one of the most famous restaurants in south western Japan and let me tell you, the food was good. They had some weird stuff in their rice, but generally, I liked it. A lot.

But before I experienced the culinary delights of that place, I had to meet my two elementary schools. I’ve been told by both of them that I pretty much have free reign over the curriculum as English isn’t a core subject at that age level. Whilst it sounds cool in theory, I know that in practice, inventing my own syllabus won’t be a walk in the park. However, I can use the same lessons in both schools. I’ve also been told that I’ll be eating school dinners with the kids and will be paying for the pleasure. Now, having spoken to other JETs who have been here longer than I have, this is a fate worse than death. They feed the kids a lot of crap to help them grow up good and strong, so cue lots of fatty food and iron supplements that induce an eerie amount of vomiting. That said, they have told me that if there is anything that I can’t/don’t want to eat then they won’t hold it against me. The kids; they have to eat. As a ‘grown-up’ and honorary weirdo from a different country; I get let off.

Let’s discuss me being said ‘honorary weirdo’. I get stared at. And it’s not subtle. It honestly baffles me that people can stare so openly at someone else. Yes, I’m a white guy who’s quite a bit taller than everybody in town and is quite a lot larger as well. But don’t stop in the street and look, mouth agape at me when I walk by, sweating and struggling with shopping bags. The thing is, in England, that doesn’t really happen. Not that I’ve experienced anyway. I just think we’re much more used to seeing people of different ethnic backgrounds wandering around than they are here. Sometimes it’s unsettling. Sometimes it’s fun. It’s always nice to be the celebrity, but to be honest, I’m only a celebrity here because I look different and it’s really off-putting.

But anyway, other than that, things are really starting to settle down. Having spent last night at a friend’s, I returned to my apartment this evening to find that the smell of mould seems to be dissipating, so it’s starting to feel a little more like a home. Also, generally, I’m starting to feel comfortable here. The heat is (hopefully) lessening and apparently, by mid-September, it should be quite mild here.

I’m starting to plan my Golden Week. Basically, Japan has a lot of bank holidays. And there is a week in between April and May where there are quite a few together and if you take 4 days off, you get over a week off in all. So I’m starting to look for places abroad to go and visit. I could stay in Japan, but all prices are hiked up around that time, so it would be much cheaper to escape to foreign shores. First place on my list is San Fransisco, just because you can go cage diving with great white sharks there. Having already done a bungee jump for my 18th birthday, the other ‘extreme’ thing that I want to have a go at is that and San Fran seems to be one of the closest and cheapest places to get to, to do it. Still, at the moment it’s only a pipe dream and so it may never happen. But, I’m still going to be looking around for places to go and see during that week because I’d like to get it planned and sorted sooner or later. Did you know, it actually takes more time to get from Japan to America than it did to get here from England. I suppose because you never really see the Pacific Ocean on a map you underestimate how big it actually is. Yes, I could come back to England, but that really isn’t an option because, as happy as I’m feeling with this whole set up now, going back to England has the potential to set me back a bit, so I think I’ll just spend the year away and then return to a grand welcome!

Right, I’ve waffled on for a bit about not much really, so I think I’ll desist and let you people get on with something worthwhile. Till next time!



1. Gareth Coffey - September 1, 2007

I’m feeling inadequate, I don’t recognise which musical this is from. I managed with all the others, what is it!

2. Steve sensei ;-) - September 4, 2007


Glad to the smell of mould is disappearing and you’re settling in. The “celebrity” aspect can get a bit too much sometimes but you’ll get used it and even miss it when you move back to the UK! Have you been followed around the supermarket by people checking the contents of your basket yet?

Ki o tsukete kudasai,
Steve x

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