Can you believe I’ve been in Japan for over 6 months now? So much has happened, but it feels like it’s gone by so fast. And I know I’m getting super comfortable, because almost none of the weird things I see here surprise me anymore. Old man pushing his bike up a hill on the highway? Completely normal. Children in smokey bars? Just another Saturday night. I’ve only been here half a year, but I already know that moving back to America will be so bizarre.
Anyway, I thought I’d update everyone on my life now! First of all, I officially have a bed now, so I don’t have to sleep on the floor anymore! I feel like part of the reason I’m such a zombie at work is because I sleep on an inch think piece of cotton every night, and I can’t get proper sleep.
Speaking of being a zombie, this winter pretty much killed me. Every morning was hell, and being at work wasn’t much better. I feel like all the teachers think I’m either really rude or the most socially awkward person ever (the latter not being entirely untrue), because I never spoke to anyone! Even lunch got really strange there for a while, because I was too tired to even try to talk to the kids. Thankfully, spring has come, and I feel better already. The weather truly is wonderful lately.
Because it is spring time, the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom. Expect a freakishly long post about those sometime soon. I’ll be going to Fukuoka over spring break, and there’s a very famous cherry blossom viewing spot there. EXCITED!
I noticed recently that I haven’t been living very healthily, so I’ve been making a point to walk almost everyday. It’s really relaxing. There’s a really nice little park near my house, and I can walk along the port to get to it. The ocean breeze and sound of the waves really calms my nerves. As does some sexual explicit and demeaning rap music. Don’t ask me why.
Despite all the stress I’ve been accumulating this winter, I’ve been having a really good time. I’m getting better at remembering all of my students names, more of them come to the teacher’s room to talk to me, and I feel like I’m making real connections with some of them. I’m really looking forward to my JH 2nd graders being 3rd graders and having my elementary 6th graders come to the JH. I recently got to go on a field trip with one of my elementary schools, and it was so much fun! All we did was walk to the park and jump rope for a few minutes and then eat lunch, but I love talking to the smaller kids in Japanese…even more than I like trying to teach them silly English songs. I’m really glad I’ll be here another year with these crazy kids!
Though I’m happy to be with my kids, I’m still having a lot of problems with speaking Japanese with adults, and it’s getting frustrating. I’m just so shy and generally neurotic that for some reason holding long conversations in Japanese really frightens me. I know I can make it through with what I know, because I’ve done it before, but every time I meet new people or have an opportunity to practice, I let my nerves get the best of me. I think it has something to do with the fact that I can understand most, but not all, of what someone says. It’s super encouraging to understand everything someone is saying to a certain point in a conversation…then something I don’t understand at all comes up, and it’s so awkward to have to ask for clarification or pause to look up words on my phone. Does anyone have tips for that? I know I shouldn’t care about making mistakes or not understanding certain things because clearly no one here expects me to be anywhere near perfect, but something always holds me back. UGH! Sorry…I’m just having a bit of a meltdown. Not really, but it’s difficult. And I know most of this is because I’m just an awkward person. I’ll keep trying though.
That’s about it for now. I’m working on some more exciting posts, but I need a little more time and motivation first. For now, here are some pictures!