Wakayama

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Yo

I just finished the heaviest week I’ve had since I’ve been here in Japan. I have now been here one month, and I’m starting to work. On Friday I had an interview with an english school, and they said that they want to hire me once a position opens up. On Monday I had an interview with another english school and even started training a bit. I’ll be finishing training Monday next week and working on Tuesday and Wednesday there. I gave a private, cafe English lesson on Tuesday to someone who contacted me through a kind of find-an-english teacher website I put my profile up on. So that looks like it might be a weekly thing.

Then, immediately after getting back from that lesson, and eating a quick meal at home(stay family’s house), I was off on a 2.5 hour train ride to Wakayama (next to Osaka, to the south). I arrived at the station, and called the guy I was to be couch-surfing with (thank you couchsurfing.com). He came and picked me up at the station and we walked the 2 minute trip to his house. Nice place. Pretty much all Japanese-style sliding doors. I’d only seen a few of those before (or less), and only as part of the one Japanese style room in each of my homestay houses. We chatted for a bit, he was from close to Montreal, 11 years older than me, and he had come to Japan when he was 23 too. Huh.

Morning rolled around, woke up at 6:45 bright and early….no wait, early and COLD! I mean, of course, it’s not Canada cold, but in Japanese houses there’s no central heating, and so getting out of that futon (which, also, is different from what we Westerners call a futon) was almost the hardest part of the day. That’s not true. So, I went to the train station we were meeting at, then we were off by car to the high school. Now, some of you may know I have nooooooo experience whatsoever with children or younger folk of any kind, and therefore I don’t know how to relate and so I was a little bit nervous about working this 2-day seminar to help 80+ students get prepared for their 2-week trip to Seattle, getting them some English conversation confidence.

We met up in an office of some kind, and had a little briefing, the office lady brought us all coffee, which was nice. Then we went to the dojo where the seminar was to be held. Take off our shoes before entering, walk in to this big building (like a school gym sort of), and there’s a huge roar from all the students (well, all the girl students, the boys were too busy wrestling with each other). Big smiles and good mornings. How could I not smile too??

There was 6 English teachers including me (from America, Singapore, Japan, and merry ol’ England). And so these 80+ students were split roughly into 6 groups. We went through various activities. Getting them to talk, basically. At times this was not just comparable to pulling teeth, but was actually more difficult than it. YEAH! But some groups were more talkative than others, though. So those were especially fun! Now there’ll be a few Japanese high schoolers running around spouting my “exactly”s and “that’s right”s (along with the appropriate mannerisms).

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After the first day, I went back to my Wakayama home station, then walked around the city a bit, seeing what there was. It didn’t take me long to find out, the train station was all there really was! Haha. Oh yeah, except for mountains. There were mountains every you looked, if you peaked past the tall buildings. Then I met up with my friend, and we did some more wandering (but with some talking too, not so bad), we ate (Japanese vegetable curry, really good!), and then we went to have some coffee. Had some conversation, some funny, some deep, some even more deeply funny! It was good. By the way, I had a phone interview with a private english teaching company scheduled for 6:20pm. I was to call them. I was supposed to meet up with my friend at 6:00, but she ended up coming early, at 5:00. Got caught up hanging out, talking. Haha. Fortunately, our conversation somehow lead her to mentioning the word interview which lead me to swiftly grab my cell phone clock. 6:28. Nice!!! I called them, and apologized for calling late. The guy was like, “yeah, so you called late. someone else will be calling soon.” But he went on to explain the gig and ask me some questions anyway. Got an email today, he seemed pleased anyway, and so I got that shit!

Went back to the futon-surfing house. Read for a couple hours. Slept. Woke up early again. Helped the students rehearse “come to Japan!” commercials which they had to think up the day before. Went to the school theatre room and just went around talking to all the kids. That was really fun. Watched the commercials. Some of them were really well done. Very funny, lively, and imaginative. Good stuff, guys! Thus went my 2-day seminar job at a Wakayama high school. It was a little bit sad to leave, after some of the students finally started warming up a bit to us and to English. I got asked for a picture at the end with a couple of the students. That was sweet. Oh, a funny question I got asked during one of the interview sessions, “Are you married?” Really?? This was even after they asked how old I was, “23” “Wow! So young!” Except, the majority of what they said was still Japanese, haha. It was impossible to pretend I didn’t understand their Japanese, like was requested of me.

All in all, very very tiring, but a good experience.

So, very tired I arrived home (still not having eaten lunch) around 3, and then I had to quickly get ready and hop onto another couple trains to go to another interview. Got that. Same deal as the other private teaching company.

These jobs are all part-time. So hopefully I can work them into a feasible schedule. We’ll see, now won’t we?!

For some reason, this past week, whenever any of The Police’s (“best of” cd my dad had that i ripped) songs come on, I have really been feeling it. Especially “Can’t Stand Losing You”. What a great song.
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Love,

Kyle (THAT’S RIGHT!)

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