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It’s A Fine Life February 5, 2008

Posted by Mitch in Life in Japan.

I’ve been meaning to write again for a while now, but am yet to receive the inspiration required to keep you avid readers up-to-date with the goings on in Japan. Today, I have officially been in Japan for 6 months. I left the sunny shores of England on 4th August and arrived the following day in The Land of The Rising Sun. As of tomorrow, I will now be closer to the date on which I return home than the date on which I arrived. To be honest, it’s a strange feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I hated being here when I first got here. I was alone in a tiny village (inaka in Japanese roughly translates as “in the middle of nowhere”) surrounded by people who spoke a language incomprehensible to me. Now, things are totally different. I live alone in a tiny village surrounded by people who speak a language that’s still pretty much incomprehensible to me. But boy, do I do it in style!

I live for the weekends. Generally, I get very little enjoyment out of working at schools. When I’m taking my own lessons at my elementary schools, I can see why people do like the job. But when I’m hauled to lessons at Junior High where my purpose is to read inane sentences at various speeds, I feel a little under-used. That said, it’s got to the point now that unless asked to do something creative for the class, I object to going to them. It’s a vicious circle really – if I don’t go to classes, I get bored. If I do, I resent having to.

But my weekends are something totally different. I get to see Japan in all shapes and forms. This is the reason I’m here – I want to experience everything. I want to see everything. Who knows when I’ll next be in Japan again after this year. The weekend just gone heralded a visit to Hiroshima where Phoebe and I made some new friends in the form of two Japanese sailors. The coming weekend sees me going to Kokura, on the other side of my prefecture (technically, it’s not actually in my prefecture, but you get the point). My weekends are when I’m me and I get a lot out of being here.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s going to be hard to leave, come July/August. Every so often, I get waves of acknowledgment: I’m in Japan. It’s weird and it’s crazy that I now take that for granted. I know that when I get up in the morning, there’ll be at least 50 times that day where someone will say something to me and I’ll have to politely apologise for my incompetence. I know that almost everything that gets pushed through my door will go right over my head. I know that people could be saying anything they wanted about me in the staffroom and I would sit there, totally unawares. But that’s all just sunk in. It’s natural now. I’m sure that there are some ridiculously strange things that happen that are now second nature to me and I will only really realise this when other people visit me. To see their reactions to something I’ve had to get used to, will remind me that this country isn’t really the right side of sane…

I’m looking forward to coming home, but it’s going to be hard. I’m now used to having my own place. A job. Money. When I get back to England, there’ll be none of that. I’ll have to go back to living with other people, looking for a job, not having any money (not that I ever really had that much money when I was in England before, but still!). But I know it’s the right thing to do. Another year here would depress me. Knowing that I would only be getting back to England towards the end of 2009 would be really strange. So coming back to England I am.

But moving on. My kids in the 8th grade seem to have discovered new things in English. One of them continually smiles and me and says “Come on, baby!”. He also grabbed my ass when I was in the lunch room. Yesterday, he made it worse by pointing at my crotch and saying “Big”. I walked away muttering that it was bigger than he’s ever know. When he said to me again “Come on, baby” today, I smiled at him and said “It’ll have to be some other time, because I’ve got a headache”.

Till next time!



1. Lia - February 8, 2008

Over half way? Ace! Come on, Baby!! 😉 xxx

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