Good evening, family and friends! It has come time to send my very first Waki email, even though I am not in Waki yet! This one will just cover some basic info about the program (and me). I will occasionally be using Japanese characters, so if you see only boxes below, your encoding needs to be changed or something.
Location: Waki Town, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Waki (Wah-key) is located about an hour south of Hiroshima by train. Yamaguchi Prefecture is at the foot of Honshu, the main island. I’ve included a map; Waki is on the eastern side.
Job: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). This means I help teachers teach! (not like a TA) We are also paid by the Japanese government, so this is a regular job, not a study abroad program.
Weather: Can be 30 degrees Celcius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer, and in winter, it can be 5 C (41 F).
Contract: I’m hired from July 30th, 2012 to July 29th, 2013, but my Waki info packet says my first day of instruction is Sept 1 and my first payday is Aug 24, so you know as much as I do.
Logistical stuff: Today (July 26, 2012) I will be taking a plane to LA (from Sonoma County Airport), where we will have a pre-departure orientation. After I arrive in Japan on July 29, we will have some more orientations for a couple days in Tokyo, and then we (2,000 or so JETs) will be going to our respective towns all over Japan. We get to fly over to Japan with people who interviewed at the same consulate as us, so I get to be on the plane with people I know from UC Irvine! Hooray!
Newsletter: I’m keeping a newsletter instead of a blog because I find it more personal, and it helps me to know exactly who my audience is when I’m writing! I am going to keep a blog for random little things that I really want to talk about in more detail, like neat little cafes or interesting hiking spots, but I intend this newsletter to be about the following:
- the Japanese education system,
- culture (very broad category), and
- the things that God’s doing there, as well as prayer requests.
At the bottom, there’s a link to that blog (there’s nothing on it yet), and I’ll also have a (possibly very random) Song of the Day and a link, just to get it out of my system…but also because it’s cute.
Cell phone: I am going to have a Japanese cell phone (it has both English and Japanese languages on it)–I’m thinking of using the old one that I bought when I studied abroad, and just getting a new contract for it if possible!
Apartment & Transportation: I’m moving into the apartment where the previous JET lived. She’ll be moving back to the States soon, but she’s kindly offered to show me around when I get to Waki! Unlike when I was studying in Tokyo, it seems that our apartment is all furnished, so…great! I’ve been told that the schools I’ll be working at are walking or biking distance from my apartment/each other, and public transportation is good so I won’t need a car. I will be getting a bicycle for sure!
Language Level: (I really feel like I’m writing the stats for a new Pokemon or something.) 3.5/5? Lol. I can have conversations with people and get along with most things in daily life just fine, but I need to work a lot on my vocabulary. I want to come out of this program sounding really cool!
Some plans/goals: I would like to take a calligraphy class, because I want my handwriting to rock, too!! On the recommendation of my friend Yu, I started writing down a list. Some of the things on that list include going to a Japanese wedding (both a modern one and a traditional one), and trying to do a Japanese dance of some sort (like Soran) that I’ve never done before. It shouldn’t be hard to find one.
Thank you for “subscribing” to my newsletter! If you ever want to be taken off, just send me an email with “flying starfish” in the title and you don’t need to write anything else. I spent a lot of my summer unsubscribing from email lists, so I understand you (haha). Or you can be passive-aggressive and block them with a filter. I will love you anyway~