It’s been a little over a month since I arrived in Japan, so it’s about time I post an update.
As most of you know by now, I made it to Japan! I’ve adjusted to life very well here.
April 7th was the start of the school year. Going into work, I had very limited knowledge about the Japanese school system. Everything I knew came from anime and my Japanese friends’ experiences. Students are to follow strict uniform rules, stand up when giving an answer in class, and clean the school. They are not permitted to work part-time, drive a car to school, or use their phones.
In these last two weeks, I’ve learned a lot more about the schools here. I’ll go in-depth on comparing Japanese and American schools in another blog post. For now, here’s a brief summary of the main things I’ve noticed in my first two weeks:
- To go in and out of the school building, there are separate entrances for students and teachers.
- When you enter the school you change your shoes, and you change shoes again when you enter the gym. If you don’t have gym shoes or gym slippers, you go in your socks.
- There are no bleachers in the gym. Students and teachers usually sit on the floor.
- Classrooms for each grade are on one floor. For example, the second year classrooms might be on the third floor.
- There are strict rules for students and teachers, but everyone is still able to have a lot of fun.
I’ve been to two out of five schools so far. For those who have been wondering, no, I’m not going to a different school each day of the week. I spend one to two weeks at each school.
It’s still a little early to give an accurate account of what the average day at work for me is like. Here’s what it’s been like so far: I arrive at school before the morning faculty meeting. During this time, I check my schedule to see what classes I have. When I have classes, I confirm the time and plan with the teacher. If there are no classes for me, I work on lesson plans, or I read about teaching and grammar.
Outside of school, my daily life hasn’t been too different from my life in the states. As soon as I walk into my apartment, it’s goodbye work pants, hello sweatpants. Sometimes I have prep work for the next day, so I’ll finish up whatever I couldn’t at work. Other times I have small projects I work on, like translating, so I’ll spend time on that. Usually, I fill my free time with video games and messaging friends. I’ve been very active on Snapchat, Line, and Google Hangouts. I also have a lot of friends in the area who I’ve been spending time with, so there’s been a good mix of busy time and downtime.
So far I’ve been to three parties. One of them was a party for the Board of Education. It was to kick off the new school year, welcome the noobs (me), and thank those who were retiring or leaving. The other two parties were welcome parties that friends of mine held. All three parties reminded me what Hekinan hospitality is all about. I may write a blog post detailing each of them later.
Adjusting to life here has been much easier than I expected. I know a lot of people here, which has helped a lot. Being able to speak the language and know the culture has also been a big advantage.
Also, the Seahawks schedule was released a few days ago, and I’m very excited. Most of the games are on Monday mornings at 5:25 (Japan time). I may be able to watch them before work, but what’s more likely is I’ll watch the games after work. We’ll see what works best with my schedule.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! I’m working on an FAQ page, so I may answer your question there.
I hope everyone back home is doing well! I love and miss you guys!