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Embrace Tomorrow May 22, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.

Another week is drawing to a close, marking the end of this month’s visits to elementary schools. All in all, they went well. I enjoy my time there most of the time because I’m left up to my own devices and it involves actual teaching and getting to know the kids. Today, I’m back in my old seat at my desk in Junior High School, and have but one ‘lesson’ to look forward to today. But it’s OK – I’m not going to moan that I want to be utilised, because that would be a lie. All I want to do is sit here and start on my new book. I also have to plan and arrange everything for tomorrow.

As the ALT in Kuga, it is my responsibility to attend, plan and deliver lessons at the town’s Junior High School, two elementary schools and also the 4 kindergartens that are dotted around the place. Unfortunately, these 4 places of education only get the pleasure of my presence twice each in the space of one year. I’ve visited each of them once so far and so not a week will pass in the next four where I don’t visit a kindergarten. One a week! It’s like an extra holiday each week. The thing about my time here is that it’s just a fun day out where I get to be idolised by wee little Japanese people and mourn the fact that I’m probably never going to be able to have one of my own.

There’s one downside, and that’s the fact that I’ll probably have to see my supervisor again. It’s been a good 3 or 4 months since I last laid eyes on him and it’s been a pleasant time. However, I do need to speak with him to try and get the details of my successor and ask him to go about fixing my air conditioner in time for the summer heat. I also want to check that he’s booked me my flight home. So, even though I don’t want to have to chat with him, I’m going to have to at some point.

When I got into school this morning, there was a note on my desk asking me if it was OK for me to find my own way to the kindergarten tomorrow. Seeing as I wasn’t even given a map or taken on a tour of the town when I first got here and was left to my own devices, it’s not OK. I have no clue where it is. I know the rough positioning of all the kindergartens, but no one has ever told me the names. So to be told to go to the Rumbini on 10th June means nothing to me. If they said it’s the one on the road to the supermarket opposite the karaoke place and the dry cleaners, I’d understand and would be able to make my way there. So I’m going to tell them that I don’t know where this one is. That way, they drive me and I also get to see my supervisor and ask him my questions. Everyone’s a winner.

In other news, it’s heating up here. The other day when I was outside playing with my kids at the elementary school I really do like, I just had to stop and sit in the shade. It’s been coming for a while now, but it still feels like the heat just crept up on me. The humidity is also steadily climbing the charts and I know that sooner or later I’m going to spend most days as a sweaty mess. Ah, the perils of living in Japan.

What will help me through it, is knowing that most of my summer will be spent in England, where summers last as long as Pete Doherty’s resolve and most of my time will be spent bemoaning the lack of sunshine. Still, it’ll be nice to have BBQs down by the river again or a nice roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon. Since I’ve been gone, my parents have purchased a boat and so hopefully some time will be spent gadding about on the river, as Englishmen are wont to do.

As I sit here in the staffroom, a gentle breeze stirring the papers on my desk (I was asked to mark these quickly last week, which I duly did as I was told they were needed soon. They’re still here…) I can see my kids being put through their paces down on the running pitch. When my successor arrives, one of the first calls of duty will be to attend the sports festival. I wrote about this weird tradition when I first got here, but will reiterate it now. It isn’t a sports day as we know it. Yeah, it involves running and some other sport like events. But it also involves a tyre drag, human pyramids and dressing up the 3rd grade teachers. All in the heat of the August sun. Mad dogs and Japanese people…

Till next time!



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