Monday, May 12, 2008

First Impressions/Okayama

Yes, yes I know. I've been here a month and I'm just now getting around to my first post from Japan. What can I say? I'm a procrastinator. But better late than never, and now that I know where to go for a strong wireless connection, I hope to post at least once a week from here on out. For now, a summary on my first week in Japan.

The flight over was long, but it really didn't feel so long as I thought it would. The woman sitting next to me was really nice but also kept to herself, which in my opinion is the perfect in-flight neighbor. I didn't sleep at all on the plane. I was thinking that if I was really tired when I landed, perhaps my jet lag wouldn't be so bad. (I was wrong.) I was on the first flight to arrive, along with 6 other Amity trainees. We had to wait about four hours in Osaka Intl. for the other 6 to arrive. This really wasn't so bad, because we all had plenty to talk about. Finally, we set out for Okayama. We took the Shinkansen! I really couldn't tell you much about how it felt to be on such a fast train, because I passed out almost immediately. I think it was nearly 11pm when we finally arrived at the "dorm". My roommate was the one girl I hadn't really spoken to yet, but she turned out to be the ideal roommate! I couldn't have asked for a better training companion.

We had the first two days off! They recommended we "rest" however there was no way I could just sit around when I was finally in Japan. Sunday we went to Kuraku-en Garden and Okayama-jo. They were pretty much everything one would expect from a Japanese castle and a Japanese garden. Even so, it really didn't seem to sink in that I was finally in Japan and that I would be living here for a year. In fact, there really hasn't been any one moment to speak's been a very gradual realization. Quite anti-climatic really. On Monday we went to Kurashiki. It's a smaller town nearby in which there is an ancient merchant quarter with buildings dating from the Meiji period. We considered going to Tivoli, a small amusement park, but decided against it. We just took pictures with the topiary soldier.

Training was all in all pretty fun. I think it helped that we had such a great group of people. Uh, there's really not much to add about training. I'm just grateful that there WAS some training, unlike my teaching experience in France.

So, below are some photos from that week. They are in reverse order, and I'm having issues right now with adding in captions, so I'm just going to figure that out later.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Introduction/Work in Progress

First things first. This blog is a work in progress and it might be awhile before it takes shape. I am a beginner AND tend to be a bit impatient with computer related endeavors. However I want to chronicle my life in Japan for friends, family, and strangers alike. I imagine that someday this blog will have a pleasing aesthetic, and be very's also very possible it will just remain as bare bones as it is today. 

A Summary:
My name is Whitney. I'm from the southwestern United States. I move around quite a bit, but these days I claim to be from Texas. In one day I will be flying to Japan to teach English to students ranging in ages from 9 months to 18 years. I will work for Amity which is part of AEON. I will be in Hiroshima and I'm very excited about this because I love cities. I taught english in France for a year (in Alsace) so I kind of feel like that has helped prepare me for what I'm about to do...only that I speak French...I do NOT speak Japanese. 

I think that will do for now. I'm sure it will be much more interesting once I get there and start posting pictures. I'm kind of into photography so there will be plenty of eye candy. 

A word of advice: if you're planning on teaching in Japan, and you want to learn Japanese...start studying in advance. Not the week before. Or in my case, on the flight over there. I've had my books on Japanese for a year now. I have no one to blame but myself. I would be anxious about this if only it all seemed real....

I'm sure my next post will be full of !!!!!