Archive | October, 2015

Take 2

18 Oct

Today is the first of a yearly two-day conference for JETs (that’s me!) and JTEs (this is my supervisor!).

Last year, I had slightly very different feelings towards this conference. Largely due to the fact that I’m doing this/ going through this a second time. My expectations have been set from last year’s experience. That said, I’m sure it’s still exciting depending on who you meet and what you choose to take away.

On that note, I’m happy that I made the decision to stay a second year. Despite going through motions that appear at first glance to be similar to the first, they are and continue to have the potential to be radically different. The big events, like sports day, culture festival, marathon day, and common events like classes, remain the same but the people I work and interact with differ. Not only that, but the people themselves have changed, if only a little in the past over a year I’ve been around.

With regards to work, it’s nice to feel like I’m slowly developing my style and technique of teaching. Excelling in my strengths and identifying my weaknesses. The teachers I currently work with are open to my suggestions for special classes (like having special guests come in to expose students to English from other sources), and have basically given me free rein in lesson planning for all classes. Most importantly, I’ve been taking a breath and moving on when I feel like I didn’t do as great of a job in the classroom as I would have liked to, and seeing it all as part of my learning journey.

With regards to living in Japan, I’m glad that I’m havingĀ  different and less stressful experience than last year!

Firstly, no hives. YAY! Last year, three weeks into my stay, I broke out in really bad hives. Itchy, swollen, and red spots everywhere. My back, my neck, my ears, my legs, my hands, my foot, and even my toes. You get the picture. Oh, but in case you don’t, here’s a few literal pictures.

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Wow did those photos make me feel itchy and uncomfortable. I’m sorry I had to put you through that experience. Lol.

Well, I went to the doctor a couple of times. The school nurse told me it was stress. I didn’t feel stressed and I was so excited to be in Japan.

Finally, we did a blood test. Lo and behold, I’m highly allergic to dust and dustmites (specifically the kind that lives in tatami mats). My request to hire a cleaning company was turned down. I have a massive two-storey house, and I was paranoid by the dust and depressed by my hives. I had been having them for about 2 mths by this point. Thankfully, a friend coincidentally turned out to be an awesome ‘Cleaning Queen’ and to cut the long story short. We spent a good chunk of hours unearthing huge balls of dust from all kinds of undiscovered areas (it’s a really old and huge house that’s been thoroughly lived in).

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I moved my bedroom to a room that had hardwood floor, away from all the tatami. The hives still stuck around for another 4 months, but they’ve stayed away since some time this year!

I guess this post sort of turned into a post about my hives. However, that was not my intention! I’m just so, so glad the hives are gone!

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m truly grateful for the ‘Take 2’ that I have to live in Japan. The events may remain the same, but I have more realistic expectations, solid friends, and I’m going to give the next 10 months my best before I embark on a journey that will guide my life in a completely different direction! (hopefully one with the absence of hives, forever – oops the hive talk reappears, sorry can’t help it!!)

Cleaning the figurative dust off this platform

11 Oct

It’s been a while since I sat down to write.

There are so many things I could talk about…

  1. My Japanniversary – I’ve been here for a year-and-counting!
  2. My thoughts on competition and sports festival
  3. My trip back to Singapore
  4. Exciting News
  5. On how living in a house all to myself has changed me
  6. Pugs in all their greatness

However, it’s hard to write after delaying it for so long.

Sometimes you have a compelling thought, or something that really bugs you, or something that you feel is really ‘deep’. You think to yourself, “This would be a great thing to write about in my online blog.” But guess what, you never get down to it. And as time passes, it seems less and less deep, and the importance of writing about it passes.

Soon, you may realise that close to a year passes as dust, in all its figurativeness, grows on your blog. If you didn’t yet see it, I’m definitely describing the state of this blog.

Thus, despite having no real theme/topic/reason for this post, I’m simply cleaning the figurative dust off this platform, in every sense of the word.