Monday, June 18, 2007

Life in Inuyama so far

Finally a decent update from me on this blog! So I am here at my final destination: Inuyama in Japan. I have been teaching at the school for 10 days so far and have many more ahead of me. The people at the school are very nice and they help me a lot, especially Jo (the other foreign teacher) has been helping me so much and it’s necessary. I have been lesson planning until 5 AM some days last week and I can’t wait until I get better and faster at it! Surprisingly I prefer teaching adults over teaching kids, beforehand I was really looking forward to teaching those cute Japanese kids, but they have way too much energy (logically they’re kids) and are hard to keep under control. The adults on the other hand are so cute (!) and I really enjoy teaching them! But in a couple of weeks I should get better at everything and then I can pay more attention to the kids and less to my cheat sheet during the lessons, which will make it easier to keep the kids under control.
My apartment is in a building named Pearl Hills, but it doesn’t look as fancy as it sounds. But I am very happy with it nonetheless! It’s fairly big for Japanese standards and I have lots of windows, a huge closet, a reasonably modern washer, a fridge with a freezer, a small and cute rice cooker and the toilet room and shower room are pretty big. The kitchen is extremely small but it’s doable and I wish I had a decent place to dry my clothes, because I dry them in my living room / bedroom and it’s looks so messy, but after the rainy season is over I can start drying stuff on my balcony, so that’ll free space up in my big room.
Getting used to the Japanese garbage system is really frustrating, they have these posters with like 11 different groups of garbage and everything needs to be sorted accordingly, only the groups make no sense to me (for example paper is in 3 different categories) and I’m not sure of the pickup place in my neighborhood anymore (after I tried to dispose of my burnable garbage last night and there was no trash of my neighbors to be found at the spot Glenn (the teacher who lived here before me) pointed out to me. I did see a big cage with garbage near the spot, but the cage was locked and I couldn’t put my stuff in it. And I have no idea whether I put the right stuff in the burnable garbage because I just don’t understand the system, but I’m afraid to make a mistake because Megan (one of the trainers in Nagoya who used to teach and live in Inuyama) once made a mistake and they dragged her to city hall to make her separate her trash the correct way in front of the city and the manager of her school.
Another frustrating experience is going to the grocery store, I just don’t know what the packages say and the stuff in it looks so weird! I tried to buy stuff for dinner yesterday but after browsing the aisles for about 40 minutes I came out with just apple juice and ice-cream. What I wouldn’t give for an Albert Heijn (Dutch grocery store) around the corner. Yasu will need to teach me a lot about cooking and grocery shopping, unfortunately I will not see him until June 30th, so I’m not sure what I’ll do the next two weeks.
These frustrations and not seeing Yasu this weekend made me a bit depressed yesterday, I suddenly had an urgent yearning for my sweet mother, brother, and stepfather. Yeah, it is inevitable when you move to the other side of the world that you’ll miss what you leave behind sooner or later, and during training we were told that severe homesickness kicks in around the third month, so I am not looking forward to that at all. I remember how terrible I felt in Atlanta during my homesickness and frustration with everything American, but I was there for only four months… I’m planning on staying here permanently, I wonder how tough the culture shock and homesickness will be here.
What is nice is the 100 yen shop next to my apartment building, where you can buy almost anything for 105 yen (tax included) or about 80 Euro cents. I have bought baskets, plates, glasses, utensils, chopsticks, rice bowls, an umbrella, post-its, 40 clothes hangers, a cutting board, towels, rice bowls and much more there! It’s really cheap! There is an internet cafĂ© in my street as well, where you all sit in booths (like I am right now) and use the computer (or plug in your laptop) for a couple of hours while enjoying some dinner or drinks. It’s so close but unfortunately I don’t have enough time to go there, but today is one of my weekend days so here I am! Also my street is kind of dark and once again I am afraid to go outside in the dark again… But the sun comes up at 4 AM here (no daylight savings time in Japan) so like last night I could dump my garbage in the middle of the night but still with the sun shining down on me, yeah it’s pretty freaky.
By the way as you can imagine, Yasu and I have been using our phones a lot! I can’t wait to see him in two weeks, when I take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Osaka and we’ll be spending the weekend in his parent’s cottage in the mountains!


Minke said...

Although I understand it is very frustrating, the garbage story makes me laugh, because I can imagine how you are standing there on the street, not knowing what to do. I would have the same strange feeling! Ik vind dat je het heel goed doet!
Tough girl;)! Even more of you now!
Kus, Minke

Minke said...

proud I mean;)

Louise said...

Hey poepie... lekker heej ff babbelen. Nou ja ff... zo'n 3 uur maar liefst!!!! Doen we volgende week weer!
Beetje heimwee mag best hoor lieverd maar laat je niet kisten! We zien elkaar weer gauw! Al is het maar op cam... enne ikkuh ben het helemaal met dochter Minke eens, ik ben ook keitrots op jou!
Dikke vette kus, moemie.

Adrik said...

gah! your apartment shits all over mine!! :( that's ok though! pumped about monkey park on monday!!!! what time suits????