One Piece Lesson

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Today I taught a 1年生 (first grade) One Piece themed lesson that I had been working on all week and needless to say the kids went crazy for it, BIG SUCCESS!

After class one of my students came up to me and was like ‘This is Tako-Sensei. He is my hero’ (Today’s grammar point). If you are an ALT and would like to check it out or use it I have uploaded it in the link below.

He/She is ~ ONE PIECE EDITION

#meltedhearts #clichéilovemykidspost

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A Mochitsuki Present

2010 03 Mar 240

Today was mochitsuki (mochi making day) at my chuugakkou 中学校 (Junior High School). In what was literally the most touching thing that has happened to me since I arrived in Japan, a couple of my 2年生 (8th grade) students gave me some handmade mochi they made especially for me.
Apparently they had noticed how much my Japanese has improved since I arrived and they wanted to express their gratitude towards me for studying hard everyday so I could speak with them!

Will You Marry Me?

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So today I can tick ‘destroying the hopes and dreams of a 9 year old girl’ off the bucket list after causing the biggest scene yet of my teaching career.

I was eating kyuushoku 給食 (school lunch) with with my 3年生 (3rd grade) students, casually chatting with them in basic Japanese as I do every week.
One of them was one of my favorite students a cute little genki thing I shall call chisa for the purpose of this story.

Frequently students will ask me questions like how old are you? what are your favourite foods/hobbies/sports, where do you live, occasionally though i get the are you married question.

This was what I thought I was being asked by Chisa-chan, to which I responded muri muri 無理 無理 (impossible), the girl burst into tears and ran from the room despite the calls from her classmates and teacher.
Completely perplexed as to what was going on the other students began to scornfully repeat hidoi hidoi 酷い (cruel) as if they were telling me off.

As I was pondering as to what had just happened, the English teacher pulled me aside and said ‘gomen Daniel-sensei, her parents are divorce recently’. It was then I realized my misunderstanding, what she had asked me was not, ‘kekkon shiteimasu ka’ 結婚していますか (Are you married?) but ‘anata wa itsuka watashi to kekkon shimasu ka’ あなたはいつか私と結婚しいますか (Will you marry me one day?)

Sigh what can I say, must be the epic movember tash I’m rocking that’s making me irresistible to women (even if their only 9) ( ̄◇ ̄;)

Sh*t ALTs Say

Staring the brightest up and coming talents from Kobe JET I present to you ‘Sh*t ALTs Say’ produced by the world renowned Luke & Rory production company!

I even cameo in a couple scenes 😉

Domo Arigatzz

Today’s Elementary School Highlights

-Spending soji 掃除 (cleaning time) in a spartan gladiator battle to the death using taiko drums and sticks with three 10 yr olds.

-Having an entire go-nensei 五-年生 (5th graders) sabotage a class where the grammar point was ‘Do you like ~~~?’ by the lot of them asking nothing but ‘Do you like penis?’.

-Being challenged at, engaging in and failing miserably at a mouth capacity competion,with a the resident fat kid using terrible kyuushoku bread.

– And I saved the best for last, whilst playing ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ with yon-nensei 四-年生 (4th graders) I had one little darling hump the sheep when he caught them after yelling ‘dinner time’.
I informed him he must be from New Zealand…… He didn’t get it, not that I expected him to XD

-Daniel out (^∇^)

First Week In Kobe Wrap Up

So I have now been living in Kobe-shi for little over a week now and honestly I have been meccha busy ever since I stepped foot off the plane last Wednesday. Either I have been insanely busy setting up my new life here or socializing (read: getting drunk) at every opportunity.

So I guess I’ll start at the beginning, now my journey from Melbourne to Kobe was a tad less amazing than I had hoped, perhaps having something to do with the sheer amount of baggage I decided to lug half way across the world which amounted to over 2/3rds my body weight.

The story of the flights over make for less than interesting reading so I will skip straight to the arrival, now before I left I was given a schedule that had me spending a day in Tokyo after my arrival, soon as I passed through customs I discovered this was not the case and was quickly ushered by a CLAIR employee onto a train, only stoping briefly at a counter to have my baggage posted to me. This was my first experience with logic head-butting with Japanese rationale, basically it would take 36 hours or so for my baggage to reach me being couriered from Narita to Kobe and I would have to pay for the inconvenience. I left room in my bag to stuff a good 10kg of heavy stuff I had in my carry on so this ‘service’ would be little more than a grand inconvenience so I stuck to my guns and eventually she let me take my baggage with me, god I have no idea how I would have got through my first 2 days if I had let them take it……. Like sure I get why you post your baggage if you’re going to Tokyo Orientation but seriously I only had to lug it a couple hundred metres through Tokyo Station to the Shinkansen and that was pretty much it. At the end of the day I guess in Japan you pick your battles and 99% of the time the best course of action is to just smile, nod and accept things are just done here the way they are.

 

So after an enduring 20 hour or so trip (yeah I know I can’t bitch as it’s a slap on the wrist compared to a lot of the rest of ya) I was brought to the KIC where I spent 2 hours being orientated and signing documents before finally I was taken by one of my CIR’s to my apartment.

Although I think this really warrant its own post but upon stepping in my apartment for the first time I was very taken aback, impressed even! As I was expecting little more than a tiny 1DK and all I’d heard prior to arrival is that my particular building is renowned for being particularly small! This is of course not to say that it is huge but regardless its more than adequate and really already feels like home. As it came more or less bare I have tried my best to furnish it with what little funds I brought over, Daiso (my nearest 100 yen store) has really filled in the gaps as they sell pretty much most home wares one would need, hence why I have sunk in a good man (万) there in the past week XD.

Despite my urgent need for large purchases such as an air conditioner, microwave oven, washing machine, bike, cabinets and bed (yes the novelty of a futon has already worn off >_<) just to name a few I have decided to leave my apartment fairly Spartan for a couple more weeks. As I was a JET who arrived at a very unique time I am fortunate enough that about 20% of my peers will be departing in about 6 weeks’ time. What this means for me is that there are many opportunities to inherit much of the departing JET’s stuff at a fraction of what It would cost to buy it new and before the bulk of the new JET’s come in, as most are looking to pack away their lives whilst I am trying to set mine up, so it’s really a WIN-WIN situation ^_^

Everyone I have met in Gakuentoshi thus far has been amazingly hospitable and have really made the transition into an entirely new country as painless as possible. On my first night a couple of the girls from my building brought me a little welcoming kit with a couple things I might need in the immediate future then spent the evening taking me shopping and showing me round the neighbourhood, the next evening they all threw me a little potluck welcoming dinner where I got to meet a couple more of my new neighbours. Honestly though it all the little things like that that have made me really feel at home ^_^

The following two days prior to the weekend of insanity, were spent orientating me as fast as possible (I had 2 ½ days of this as opposed to the 7days plus Tokyo orientation most new JETS get), basically I had a plethora of information thrust into me quick and nasty, was taken to get my Alien Resident Card, had my gas water turned on, got my Keitei (iPhone 4s), had my bank account set up and was shown where my school was, needless to say it was hectic. I made the situation just that much worse by forgetting my passport when I was taken to the Prefectural Ward office to get my Alien Card (which was a good hour’s trip there and back which we then had to do twice), to be fair however it was only mentioned that I should bring it once the day before just after I had stepped off the Shinkansen from Tokyo.

However at the end all the chaos came the weekend!!! Friday night I was kidnaped and dragged to ‘The Hub’ which is the Friday night meet up spot for the ALT community here in Kobe. Where a little welcoming party was thrown for me and I met another plethora of new faces, the next 6-7 hours were spent hopping from one bar/combini to the next getting progressively drunker and drunker to the point where it all becomes a little hazy just how we missed the last train and ended up in a crazy pricy cab back to the burbs, needless to say I woke up Saturday morning feeling well orientated (read: so hungover I wanted to die). I dragged myself out of bed futon however as a city tour/mandate with the ever charismatic Jerome was awaiting me, I spent the day being shown the best Kobe has to offer before we decided to jump right into afternoon pre-drinks prior to a welcoming wine and cheese party he had organized for me at his apartment on Port Island that evening.

Awaking hating life for yet another morning after an evening of deliciousness I spent the day shopping in Sannomiya, before heading back to Gakuentoshi in the afternoon where I was taken to a newly opened Costco, which is only a 15 minute walk from my apartment.

The following are a couple photos from my Kobe adventures last Saturday.

Alas Monday morning came around with my first day of work, thankfully it was organized for me to spend a day shadowing a senior ALT at his school in Shin-Nagoya. Due to testing at his regular JHS unfortunately I was not able to visit so instead we went to a nearby Shougakko (Elementary School) where I spent the day playing with the kids, this was my first time exposed to the Japanese school system in almost a decade since I visited when I went on exchange in Highschool. Let’s just say it provided some interesting insight into the Japanese thought process. For example at lunch time suddenly all the children who were playing outside were suddenly ushered back into the building and the teachers were all crowded around right outside the staffroom door……. Now what was this grand threat, a sexual predator? a bomb threat? NOPE! It was 3 crows that were perched on some nearby streetlights, along with a couple of the male teachers, myself and the other ALT simply screamed at the birds and banged things until they flew away. Regardless this was reason enough to cancel PE classes for the next 3 periods. As I mentioned before, do I understand……. Well unless they have had situations before where a crow has swooped down and picked of an ichinensei (this is feasible I had one on my back like a koala for like 10 minutes and he was almost weightless) I don’t see what the commotion was about but the best course of action is to simply smile and nod regardless of how crazy things may seem using western rationale.

Once the threat of the evil Crows was deemed to be neutralized the sannensei were all gathered in the area to practice an Okinawan Taiko dance for the Bunka (Cultural Festival) I was invited to participate, although I really had little idea of what exactly I was doing it was insanely fun and the kids really looked like they enjoyed watching my less than accurate rendition of the dance.

The whole experience was really quite enriching for me and provided me with the confidence to jump right into team teaching when I headed to my own school but more on that later.

In short I have been nothing short of overwhelmed by the kindness and support I have received from the ALT community here in Kobe and am truly content with life at the moment, I really think I’m going to be happy here J

Next Time on Nihonomnom: The Annual Kobe Scavenger Hunt (SCUNT)

Learn All The Things!

So just an update as so so very much has happened in the last few days.
As many of you may know I am very technologically inclined and as a result I have tracked down every little detail about my placement and what to expect before I would have found out anything bar the cities name if I hadn’t taken the initiative.
I did this by posting in the ITIL and official forums, tracking down the Kobe-shi CIRs and extensively networking on Facebook. For any new JETs heading over who are desperate for details regarding their placements, CLAIR tends to be very slack in releasing details (my situation is case and point) however i guarantee you there will be a plenty of current JETs that will be more than willing to help you to the best of their ability if you put yourself out there.
So on Tuesday I finally discovered the identity of my predecessor (by Facebook lurking until I came across him) I have been chatting with him since and he has been extremely kind as to reply with insight into the 3 pages or so of questions I sent him. Alas at last the plethora of queries I have had in the back of my head for the past few weeks have been answered. Turns out he did break contract early to work for private ALT dispatch company, so effectively I have him solely to thank for my amazing placement and early departure!
Schools
Regarding my teaching schedule and placement, seems that I am fortunate enough not to have my schools spread to widely or far from my apartment. I will be based at one large JHS on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, whilst my Tuesdays and Thursdays shall be spent visiting 2 nearby ES’s.
All 3 school are less than 5km away from my apartment so once I get settled in I might consider purchasing a mamachari and biking it (even if just from the station) as I think this would be a great opportunity to get some exercise and explore my local area on the way to and from school 🙂
Apartment
Although I am inheriting my predecessors schools, he is remaining in Kobe so I shall be moving into the apartment of an ALT who vacated a month ago, as a result I will be of those unlucky JETs that moves into an empty apartment bar the four F’s supplied by the Kobe BOE which are:
-Futon
-Fridge
-Fone
-Fan
Also since I only intend on bringing 100,000円 with me as the AUD-JPN exchange rate is less than amazing at the moment, my new home might be a bit on the spartan side of things for the first 2 months! At the end of the day when it comes down to spending my yennies on beer or furnishings obviously the apartment can wait 😛
After joining the Kobe FB group I have met a heap of super cool Kobe JET’s who will be my future neighbours in the apartments around me as I was told the which room i would be getting from one of the CIR’s. One such kind soul sent me some pictures of her apartment to give me some idea of what I’m getting into (as all the apartments are carbon copies) only that mine will be on the bare side of things. It’s only a 1DK so its not particularly huge but the fact that its located in Gakuentoshi, Kobe (debatably the best placement you could ever hope for as a JET) more than makes up for it. Anyhow here are a couple of them.
Basically I have just been blown away by the kindness and hospitality I have received from the JET community thus far and I haven’t even arrived yet!
I have high hopes for the next couple years, I stressed over placements so much prior to finding out I was headed to Kobe but something tells me I’m going to fit in just fine ^______^