Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Small victories in Chatan...

Confession: I have been afraid to use the school bathroom because I heard that all school toilets are of the squat variety. Images of China still haunt me on a daily basis. But today, using all the bravery I could muster, I entered the toilet. And gave a point to the sky when I saw a lovely Western-style toilet awaiting me.

Not that I have been roughing it in the least. In fact, yesterday I went to lunch at a pizza and salad bar place and today it was enchiladas all around. Another teacher plays Coldplay for me in the car, although today it was Ben Folds. Life in Chatan has been great thus far. We missed out on being struck by a typhoon last night (although I was actually a bit disappointed with that) and I know now generally where I am in the city and surrounding areas. I have walked to Mihama Village two times and am considering doing the same tonight after school. It`s good exercise, plus there are plenty of people to watch and things to do in the area. The worst part is that I still don`t have a car and can`t really afford one until I get paid. The great news is that I have met other JETs who DO have cars and are willing to drive me around! The second group of JETs got stuck in Tokyo because of a different typhoon and our party we were supposed to have was cancelled last night. Unfortunate. I`m curious to meet everyone.

I recently discovered that you can stand on my rooftop and see the most amazing sunsets in the world. I will definitely have to host a rooftop party soon. Maybe once I get a fridge, gas range, and other essentials... I did buy a futon, which in Japan is really just some foam for the floor, and it is unbelievably comfortable. I also finally have a chair to sit on and some lamps. My house is starting to look like a home.

School is interesting. The students are technically on summer break, although the sports teams are all running around. They like to come up and say "hello" which is pretty much all they can say. I have a couple of boys that always say "Rachel-sensei..." and then something in Japanese. Kei translated it... they think I`m cute. I have been trying to keep busy. I made charts with interesting facts from Illinois and Chicago and things about myself. I`m trying to track down pictures of sports stars, movie and television stars, etc. I definitely should have brought some magazine cut-outs. They are unreal to buy here. I hope to have a list of classes that I will be teaching in September soon. I think I`ll probably have about 10 a week and for the first month, I will just be doing self-introductions in class. I`ve decided that since the odds of these students being perfect English speakers when they only see me once a month is slim-to-none, I will infuse the school with American culture. I asked the teachers for a bit of wallspace to decorate. Guaranteed that it will get a bit out of control. I`m having flashbacks to my own classroom days.

I should have internet at my home in the next two to five weeks. For such a technologically advanced society, they are definitely lacking in the immediate delivery of goods area. I can check gmail on my phone, but emailing back is a pain with the cellphone keypad. I do have new friends who have internet and I promise to email back when I have access to their computers.

I have learned a total of four words in Japanese. Here, there, hot, delicious. That sounds a bit pervy. :) But, honestly, those are the only four words I know. I am slowly recognizing hiragana and maybe will work on katagana next week.

Hope you all are doing well... Thanks for the emails!

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