Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bye bye Japan

One artsy mama featured me on her blog. As you can see I wrote the answers to her questions a while back, because I'm no longer living in Japan nor an English teacher. Actually, after having lived and worked here for 1150 days, I'm flying to the Netherlands in a few hours, for a nice vacation. And next month Yasu and I are moving to San Francisco!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saying goodbye to my coworkers

Saying goodbye to the students was hard, but of course saying goodbye to my coworkers was harder. Our last teachers meeting in my classroom:

We also had a nice picnic in my classroom after work, laughed a lot (a lot!), and exchanged presents. I'm so happy they liked the 'eleventh monkey weirdos' I made for them. 

Tomomi, Yuko, Eddie, Yuka, Keiko (a.k.a. Manager), Duncan, Kazuko, Miyuki, Natsuko and Katie.

I've never been part of such an awesome team before. Everybody helps each other and everybody loves each other. I was so lucky to have been placed at AEON Senri Chuo, these people have made my life in Japan so much more enjoyable, and I'm sad I won't be sharing my life with them anymore. I miss them already.

I was pretty strong and didn't cry all day until that very last moment on the Osaka subway when I saw Miyuki cry. Then Tomomi also started to cry and then the three of us probably looked like idiots to the other commuters on the train. Especially when I hugged and kissed them both right there on the train  (things the Japanese never do in public). Looking at back at them from the platform in Umeda we burst out laughing through our tears and the public spectacle was complete. I only wish I had a picture, yet I'll never forget the sight of the two of them sitting there laughing, crying and waving at me, when the train took off. It was the perfect last memory to make...

Saying goodbye to my Friday students

My last day as a teacher at AEON Senri Chuo. More sad goodbyes, and an awesome last lesson with lots of laughing fits. I miss my students so much, already.
13:00-13:50 Discovery: Nobuo, Sadako, Sumi, Eri, Yuko & Kayoko
17:00-17:50 Wizard Blue: Mana
19:00-19:50 Odyssey: Midori & Toshi
20:10-21:00 Discovery: Jun & Ayumi

Weirdos for my coworkers

All right, that was it. My last day of teaching is over, I am no longer an English teacher... It's hard to wrap my mind around it, really. Right now, I'm saying goodbye to the last students and soon all the teachers and staff will have a little dinner picnic on the floor of one of our classrooms. I'm going to have to say goodbye to my coworkers now and I suspect it's not going to be easy. Of course, I made everyone a little gift to remember me by and this is what they look like:

Monkey badges with oversized button eyes, one for each coworker and one for me. They look a little weird (hence the name), but I like them they fit right in with the rest of my family of slightly awkward 'eleventh monkey' creatures. I hope my lovely coworkers will wear them proudly and like them as much as I do. A lot of love went into making them anyway!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saying goodbye to my Thursday students

Hugged a lot of lovely students goodbye again today. I'm getting used to it now and I can endure it without shedding tears. Wonder if I can keep it dry tomorrow, my very last day! Also, Katie taught her first two lessons today and I observed. It was strange to see someone else teach my classes to my students, but she did really well and it was fun to see. I know that she will take good care of my adorable students.
14:00-14:50 Checkpoint: Kyoko & Yuki
16:00-16:40 Let's Go 3 (PL): Yuchan
17:00-17:50 Wizard Blue: Airi, Ryo, Chisato, Yuta, Shuri & Iori
19:00-19:50 Odyssey: Yuri, Kanae, Mitsuko, Michiyo, Kyoko, Yoko & Miyuki
20:10-21:00 Breakthrough: Naoki, Tatsuya & Nana

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eating with my coworkers

On normal workdays I have lunch and dinner by myself, don't worry it's not lonely just peaceful after teaching and talking the whole day. But with only such few days left at work time to spend with my lovely coworkers is really starting to run out... So all of us foreigners went out for lunch at Ganko, and Tomomi and I had dinner at Outback for dinner.
Ganko is one of our favorite teishoku (lunch set) places in Senri Chuo, they serve a lot of delicious Japanese food for a really low price, what more could one want? I had one of my (and Eddie & Duncan's) all time favorites: Chicken Namban (or something like that). It was fun to get to know Katie (my replacement) a bit better and we enjoyed telling her how things are really done at our school in Senri Chuo.
And after a long of day of teaching Tomomi suddenly suggested to have dinner together in Umeda. What an awesome and wonderfully spontaneous idea! We shared an American steak and delicious Aussie cheese fries at Outback, a restaurant Yasu and I already spent way too much money at in the past, so it was fun to go there one more time. And of course we also enjoyed a lot of girltalk and a little gossiping!

Saying goodbye to my Wednesday students

Another day with great students and sad goodbyes... I even cried after my favorite Checkpoint class, I'm such a crybaby, but don't worry they didn't see it!
13:00-13:50 Breakthrough: Hitomi & Yoriko
14:00-14:50 Encounter: Koji, Makiko, Yoshio, Reiko & Yoriko
17:00-17:50 Wizard Blue: Akari, Haruka, Marina & Saya
18:00-18:50 Voyage: Naosuke & Kana
19:00-19:50 Checkpoint: Yoshiko, Ai, Yuka & Takaaki
20:10-21:00 Gear Up: Nana & Kayo

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Saying goodbye to my Tuesday students

After an eventful party weekend, I went back to teaching today and again I had to say goodbye to a bunch of people I didn't really want to say goobye to...
13:00-13:50 Take Off (PL): Tomoyuki
18:00-18:50 Voyage (PL): Mona
19:00-19:50 Frontiers: Ako, Toshimi & Kei
20:10-21:00 Odyssey: Hiroyuki & Misato

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another farewell party

Because some students couldn't make it to Saturday's farewell party, Hiroyuki organized an alternative farewell party for his fellow Odyssey students. 
So today we all met at Shirokiya in Senri Chuo for a very different party than the wild and crazy party on Saturday. Instead of playing games, drinking, dancing, drinking, singing, drinking and basically going crazy, we ate, drank moderately and talked a lot! It's also much easier with a smaller group to talk to everyone. It was a really nice and fun party, and I'm so happy Hiroyuki organized it for us. Thanks!
Yuko, Duncan, Eddie, Hiroyuki, Kanae, Misato, Yuka, Lou, Yuri & Miyuki.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The farewell party

Last night was my big farewell party. 60 students and staff members gathered at my favorite party restaurant in Esaka and drank, ate, played games, won prizes (including some of my handmade softies), took pictures, and listened to my embarrassing speech. The most surprising moment was when Tomomi donned a Jon Bon Jovi mask and we sang Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer en masse really, really loud through the whole restaurant. That was awesome!
I almost kept my promise (to myself) not to cry, but when the party was suddenly over and everybody was lining up for a hug and a kiss from their crazy teacher, tears came anyway. I’m still teaching 4 more days this coming week, so I’ll see most of them again, but it was the last time to see my Saturday students :(.

After the party, some students and I went to my favorite karaoke place in Esaka, not sure if it was my idea or theirs, but it was perfect! We sang our hearts out there and it was the perfect last time to sing karaoke in Japan. Afterwards these lovely students made sure their more-than-tipsy-teacher got home safely with a friendly taxi-man.

This morning I was looking through the things in my bag from last night and found several interesting things. Like, a bunch of cute presents, some without a card, so I don’t know who to thank (yet). A lovely heart-shaped-shocking-pink book from my coworkers and students with heart-warming messages and pictures. My digital camera filled with pictures of the party I didn’t take, but I am so happy my student did it for me. And most surprisingly, an actual microphone, which is probably from the karaoke place, or maybe even from the restaurant, where we used microphones all night as well... Oh oh.

I’ve been so busy preparing to leave Japan (hence my lack of blogging these last few weeks), I hadn’t really realized yet how much I’m going to miss everyone. My lovely coworkers and my adorable students, the new teacher is very lucky and I’m sure she’ll really enjoy herself surrounded by so many wonderful people.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saying goodbye to my Saturday students

Today was the first day of my last week as an English teacher. Meaning I was teaching my first bunch of 'last lessons', and I had to say goodbye to many of my sweet students already. Luckily, many of them are coming to the farewell party tonight, so that makes me a little less sad.
10:00-10:50 Checkpoint: Rieko
11:00-11:50 Take Off: Yasuyuki, Yoko, Takako & Akiko
12:00-12:50 Voyage: Rieko, Megumi, Masayuki & Yasuko
13:00-13:50 Gear Up: Mari & Kayo
17:00-17:50 Discovery: Risa, Fumi, Hidenao, Yuka, Ayumi, Nagisa, Yasunori & Akira
18:00-18:50 Gear Up: Yukiko, Chieko, Miki, Kiyoshi & Akira