I’ve been working in Kurokawa for 3 days now. This morning I had the chance to explore a little before work, and just had a quick wander down to the river. It was so beautiful, with all the cherry blossoms!
And even the view from my work building is kinda cool:
I like it here, and I can’t wait to move in on Monday and explore properly some time soon!
It’s going to be a while before I see the light of day though, I think! I taught 1 kids lesson yesterday, and 3 adult lessons today, and I’m exhausted! The kids lesson was hilarious, terrifying and kinda fun. I’m not sure I’m a natural with kids, but I reckon I can probably warm to them. There were 6, normally 7, and they were pretty well behaved. I did make mistakes, but I don’t think they were so aware of it as perhaps an adult might be. Today’s lessons went ok too, although still a little shaky and I’m constantly having to check the lesson plans! It’s also taking me ages and ages to prepare for each lesson… so, I have 2 textbooks in my bag for tomorrow and I’ve decided to go in for part of my day off on Monday to prepare too. It’s the only way I’ll ever make it through next week on my own, now that the outgoing teacher has left!
One of the toughest things this week has been the pronunciation and language differences. It’s really hard to be told that the way you’re saying something is wrong, and that you have to change to American English, whether it’s a way of pronouncing something or a Britishism I didn’t even know wasn’t universal! This is the way I’ve spoken all my life. I have good pronunciation, and good vocabulary, but apparently British English is very different to American English.
For example, today’s pronunciation was really hard for me! You have to say words that are supposed to have a certain ‘sound’ and there’s an odd one out which the students have to pick. Only trouble is, in an English accent they either all sound the same or they all sound completely different to each other! And I keep coming out with things which are apparently ‘Britishisms’. Such as ‘fancy dress party’, ‘note it down’, ‘fill in the gaps’ instead of ‘costume party’, ‘write it down’ and ‘fill in the blanks’. Such subtle differences can apparently really confuse the Japanese students. This is the first time my school has ever had a non-American/Canadian teacher, so it’s a huge change for them. I hope I can do ok and they get used to me. I think some of them like it, but some people are just confused by me! I think it will be really good for the students to be exposed to something different. Some of the students have been at the school for more than 10 years, but I might be the first English person they’ve ever met. Hopefully I can teach them some things they will find interesting, and help them to understand a wider range of accents. I mean, the textbooks do try to have different accents on their CDs… but there’s nothing like the real thing!! 😉
All the staff went out for dinner tonight to a quaint little restaurant which may have been German, but was more likely ‘European’. It had a big German flag outside, and lots of German stuff inside, but also had a lit up Eiffel Tower outside, and a range of beers from all over Europe (including Guinness… from England, apparently…). It was a really nice restaurant though, and it was great to eat some creamy foods, such as risotto and pasta. And, let me tell you, cheese in abundance!! And people said there was no cheese in Japan! Hah – I had fondue this evening!!
Oddly, the most exciting part of the evening was my trip to the bathroom. Now, you may have heard of the insane toilets they have here in Japan, but I had seriously never seen anything like this before! It had the usual seat warmer, bidet, music, flushing sounding whilst you pee etc… but… when I was done, it knew, and it flushed by itself. Plus… there were buttons on the wall for putting the lid up and down, and also even for putting the seat up and down!!! Never seen anything like it!! haha!
So… the ‘weekend’ is here… I have Sunday and Monday off but, as I said, I will be going in on Monday to do some preparation I think. I’m finally checking out of the hotel on Monday and moving into my apartment – yay! I should also be registering for my Alien Registration Card (ARC) and getting a bank account. Tomorrow I’m hoping to go and see some cherry blossom with some friends – if it’s good I’ll take some pictures and blog!