A bit more of a text heavy post below to outline a more of what my day-to-day looks like. Pretty pictures coming in the next post after my trip to Osaka and Kyoto!
Things have been chugging along smoothly here and this strange place is starting to feel a bit like home. On my trip to Nagasaki, photographed in the post below, I enjoyed the bigger city, shopping, movie theatre (what luxury) and other amenities; but, at the end of the day I was happy to be returning home to sleepy Goto. My home where the maximum speed limit is 50km/hr (usually more like 40), the restaurants are all run by friendly locals, and the people seem above-average levels of nice.
For example, the above illustration done by my artistico sister is a box of veggies that was given to me by one of the women who work in my school office. She brought in a large tray of veggies to place on the staff room table for teachers to help themselves to. As I was about to take some she said something to me which I didn't understand but gave me the impression she didn't want me to take the veggies ( :( ). She left and returned a minute later holding an entire box full of beautiful veggies just for me complete with a handwritten note translating the names of the veggies in the box. I have since received a second box of veggies from her as well as homemade blueberry, blackberry, and pumpkin jam. This is the sort of kindness that surrounds me on a daily basis.
At school, I arrive around 8 o'clock every morning and greet the teachers with a rousing おはようございます (Ohayougozaimasu - good morning). I then have about 45 minutes between arriving at work and first period to organize myself, drink 14 cups of coffee, check my email, and have the morning staff meeting. This meeting is all in Japanese so it's usually just me drinking the aforementioned cups of coffee trying to pick out words I understand. School! Student! Four! Dog! (Wait-- dog? why are they talking about a dog?)
Then first period begins and depending on the day I teach anywhere from one class (blessed Thursdays) to five classes (whyy Monday why) out of a total six periods in a day. I am going to write an entire post about the teaching experience, as this is something totally new to me having been on the other side of the equation for 20+ years of my life. So far I am really enjoying it and starting to get into a bit of a rhythm with managing my time and classes and learning what the students like and dislike (yay scattergories, boo bingo). When I am not teaching I am usually preparing activities, exams, worksheets etc. for my classes and if that is finished I study Japanese or like I am currently doing at this moment update my blog.
I have started singing two days a week after school with the school "choir". I put choir in heavy quotation marks here as it is three girls... and now me. So there are four of us in total #Goto. We are currently preparing for a performance at the school cultural festival in November and the practice is maybe 75% singing and 25% giggling, which I'm okay with. On days when I don't have choir I have started practicing karate and it. is. AWESOME. Choir and karate are definitely the highlights of my weeks and have given a bit of structure to my days that is making this place feel more like home.
I'm off to Osaka and Kyoto for a week tomorrow with friends and plan on eating my weight in okonomiyaki and taking in ALL the temples. Also on the schedule is a trip to Universal Studios Japan to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (!!!) and I already foresee that as a highlight of the trip/my life.