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Melissa in Japan!

See what the hell she's doing there!

March 11th, 2008

Izumi Graduation! @ 02:19 pm

Today was the graduation for the JHS students, and I went to Izumi because they have five classes per grade so I figured I'd go to the biggest school so I could see as many kids as possible before they leave. Plus it's my neighborhood so...I'm kind of biased, lol. I had a lot of fun. The ceremony was a little long and boring (especially since after a while I started drowning in Japanese and couldn't find the energy to try and understand it all). But when the kids started singing, the tears came out. Some of the students started crying too! Even the boys!
After the ceremony, they were being handed the diplomas and stuff in the classrooms so I wandered between classes while they were saying their goodbyes and singing and stuff. More tears of course.

Then everyone gathered outside for many pictures. They are being uploaded to facebook as I type. I was really happy to get to take lots of pictures with my students! I got pics of the infamous Ren-kun, who is my 3E punk boy who called me "Melissa-chan", haha. He's a really sweet kid even if he's got that rebellious streak. ^_~ And I was really sad because I thought I wouldn't be able to get a pic of my Brazilian student that I like (despite the fact that he never showed up for my class :-/) but he returned to the teacher's room in the afternoon (in normal clothes) and I bugged him to take a picture with me! Yay! I think his name is Isamu-kun. He may have a Japanese name, but he's foreign. He was introduced to me specially because he transferred back in not long after I came, and I always notice him around because he's tall and stands out. He likes to pal around with the teachers, I noticed; he's one of the people you can't help noticing somehow. I got to really hear him talk today which was kind of a first, lol.

Anyway, I'll miiiiss them!!! Congrats, you guys! Enjoy high school! I hope we meet again around Izumi!!! (Considering that I saw three of them on the way home, I think that's likely, haha.)

March 7th, 2008

Ups and Downs @ 04:13 pm

Current Mood: drained drained

So, first of all, I have to say (as promised), the following:

Yuu loves doing my dishes. He told me. Therefore, whenever he comes over my house, I will give him dishes to do. Mwahahaha, you are now my personal dishwasher, Yuu! >:-P

And moving on, lol. So, I was at Izumi Elementary today, and I was very proud of my fourth graders! I play a janken game a lot. That bears explanation. Janken is "rock, paper, scissors", and the kids LOVE it here. They could do it all day, I swear. So, I do this janken game that uses English where the kids practice the day's question and answer. Usually, at least one if not all the groups just do janken and don't say any English. >< But my fourth graders (all four classes) didn't cheat at all!!! They were using English the whole time! T_T Tears of joy!!

But then, I had one third grade class, and I ate lunch with them and played with them outside so I was all excited to teach them the next period, but during the janken game, so many of them would get upset and start crying. So I tried telling them to just take it easy and have fun; it's just a game. But people were still crying a lot. >< So, when class was over, I just starting saying things like, "I really wanted everyone to have fun, but so many people were upset so I was a little troubled. And when I see you guys cry, it makes me want to cry too." I was just trying to let them know not to take it too seriously and to just have fun. But then their teacher felt really bad and kept apologizing to me, so then I felt bad because it wasn't his fault and it wasn't a big deal, but he kept saying sorry, and using like a really formal sorry. He said "moshiwake arimasen" O.O I wasn't that upset about it! ><

So, that was my up and down day! Also, happy birthday to my Dad-faaaaaaaace! (^_^)/

March 4th, 2008

Blah @ 10:26 pm

Current Mood: aggravated aggravated

I don't like to do emo updates, but once and a while, it's nice to just bitch to no one in particular. I am in a very blah mood right. I'm feeling very unattractive recently, and despite my (mostly) committed gym schedule, I feel so freaking fat right now. Note to self: DIET. Seriously. I can't do anything about lunch because it's given to me at school and I'm not supposed to leave anything uneaten. But for dinners, I am officially cutting back on what I order when we go out and the portions I take when we cook. >< So, declareth the me! Grah.

February 27th, 2008

Good daaaaaaaaay! @ 04:16 pm

Current Mood: chipper chipper

So, I only taught one class today, but that's not what made it a good day, lol. Let's see. I was at Izumi Chuugakkou (JHS) today. Today, tomorrow, and Friday will be the last time to hang out with the third years there, but I'm going to their graduation so I'll see them again. My first class wasn't until third period, so while I was sitting innocently at my desk, one of my English teachers calls to me. He and another teacher come over, and they said, "This is a Japanese test that the second years took. Do you want to try it?" So, I said, "Of course!" because I had nothing else to do and it would be good practice. That thing was HAAAAARD! I don't think I did very well, lol. But they've been studying it longer than me, it's their native language, and the directions for the test were (obviously) all in Japanese too so I won't feel too bad if they did better than me on it. Plus, the test was designed to test them on the stuff they were studying so it would be easier for them, I think. Anyway, enough excuses. I don't know how I did; maybe I'll ask tomorrow.

I ate lunch with class 3D, and that was really fun!! ::hearts:: Two boys came down to get me, and I recognized one of them because he said he loved me within a few minutes of meeting me, lol. They were practicing talking about where they wanted to go and why, and he said, "I want to go to America. Let's go to America together." And I said, "Why?", and he replied, "Because I love you." LOL Then I said, "No, why do you want to go to America?" And he answered. Anyway, he kept trying to call me over to him in English, and he said things like, "Come to me" and then the much more amusing, "Let's go to me", the latter of which he kept repeating over and over while gesturing with his hand for me to follow him as we walked through the halls. His friend kept saying, "Let's go to me sounds weird! It's wrong!" And I just kept laughing.

Then, when I was sitting in their class for lunch, I was sitting with these two girls. And the one girl talked to me THE ENTIRE TIME! It was so awesome! She talked to me in Japanese and some English when I was confused, and I spoke in both English and Japanese. She was really nice! o(^-^)o We talked about food and boys (lol), and lots of stuff. The other girl and a girl from another table sat in on the conversation too. I felt like they were really interested in chatting! HURRAY! But, of course, they're graduating, and that's the last time I'll go to that class. Why do they warm up to me right before leaving?? T_T

Oh, right, I forgot about something. A student said something sexually inappropriate to me for the first time! lol Trust me, it's not what it sounds like. All JETs have tons of stories about students asking them to translate dirty words or saying weird things. Matt once walked up to a group of his students who were standing in a circle and asked, "What are you doing?" and one of them just yelled, "SEX!" Kids are crazy. Cory's kids also said "penis" to him, which they pronounce "pen is" so Cory corrected their pronunciation, which meant that they kept yelled "Penis? PENIS??" louder and louder. Anyway, here's my story. The boy who kept saying "Let's go to me" was bouncing this ping-pong ball on the floor, and he shows it to me and says, "It's ball." And I nodded, so then he points to his crotch and says, "It's ball." I had to just laugh. Crazy kids. (PS, these kids would be freshman in high school in the states just for your info). But again, as soon as they get comfortable with me, off they graduate. T_T

Anyway, there's a long, unexpected update. Hope you enjoyed reading about my zany, English-teaching life. ^_^

February 18th, 2008

Freaking embarrassing.... @ 04:36 pm

Current Mood: touched touched

Okay, I have two things I want to talk about today.

A) I'm getting a lot of headaches recently. Like, bad ones. I had one Friday, all-day Saturday, and I have one right now (Monday). I'm taking pills but it's still annoying, especially if they happen in school. Hopefully if I start to sleep better they'll go away.


B) I totally cried today in front of an entire class of students. Okay, it's not as bad as it sounds, but it was still really embarrassing. Today was the last time I'm going to see my 3rd years at Dachi Junior High so after class, Nakashima-sensei asked me if I would come listen to her class since it was the last time. I wasn't totally sure what was going to happen, but I said, sure! Because I love my students. ^^ So, after class announcements and comments, they sing their school song, or a song, I'm not sure. So, they decided that they would sing the song TO me. I was fine while I was listening to them, but when I tried to give them a comment afterward, I started crying. I was thinking a lot recently about how these kids are going to grow up and about their lives and all that stuff, and I'm wondering if they'll remember me and that I'll miss them because they're my first students to graduate. T_T And I freaking started crying my eyes out in front of them. Nakashima-sensei said that they must be very happy that I was so touched so I don't think it's a big deal. But I was still really embarrassed because I couldn't manage to stop crying, lol. But then, as I was going home, I saw two girls from that class, and after they said goodbye to me, the one turned to the other and said, "Kawaii" and the other replied, "Mechakucha kawaii", which basically means, "Cute" and "Super cute". So apparently, being moved enough to cry makes me cute to them. Which I can live with. It's better than them thinking I'm a big freak. I also saw a bunch of the boys from that class on the way to the bus stop, and they said goodbye to me too. It was sad hearing them say, "Sayonara" instead of "See you!" or something. T_T But I may run into them again while I live here, at the station or something. Good luck in high school, you guys!!!!

February 4th, 2008

My life in five minutes @ 04:06 pm

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy

So, it's been a while since my last update so let's see what I can say to quickly bring everyone up to speed. Went on vacation in December/January. First, I went up to Tokyo after Christmas and stayed with Caitlin. Got to hang out Yuu and the infamous Yasu. Went to a club on New Year's Eve and hung out with some cool peoples. Tried to get drunk with Yuu the day after but everything was pretty much closed where we were. Whatevs. Next time. Then Caitlin and I went to Nagano-ken and stayed in a town called Komoro in a ryokan, which is a Japanese style inn. It was my first time to a ryokan and onsen, and it was awesome. The baths were REALLY hot, but there was one that was okay to sit in for a while. The whole being naked in front of other people was weird, but since everyone else was so whatever about it, I stopped caring too. I even had conversations in Japanese with the other onsen-goers, also while we were all naked, lol.

Then it was back to work. After that, it's pretty much, same old, same old. I'm getting along with my kids. They're warming up to me more and more, I think. I think some the third years may even miss me when they graduate in March. Haha, a bunch of them are trying to get me to go to the same Gazette concert that they're going to, but I don't think I can go. It would be a little too weird. Plus, I'm not sure about getting tickets and all.

Caitlin and I are really looking forward to apartment hunting for a new place. There are some decently priced ones so we're going to check them out and make a decision based on distance, quality, price, etc. I actually signed my "will not be recontracting" form so it's official now. And since I definitely want to go home for a little while in August, I'm going to apply for the ALT placing companies like Interact and stuff and just say I want to start in September, but other than that, I probably won't start looking for jobs until after I get back. Japan is weird, they do everything kind of last minute so it's hard for someone who wants to plan ahead like me. Apartments and jobs are kind of sought for and gotten on a need-to-obtain basis and not like a "I want a job/apartment in 6 months" basis. So, it's a little unstable, but I'll just have to go with the flow. I've got enough money that I can afford to be without a job for a little while and be fine. ^^

I guess that's all from me for now. I'll try to update more regularly, but it's hard. I just don't have the urge to do it anymore. Too sleepy. Until next time, whenever that is.

December 21st, 2007

An Cafe Live and Other Fun Stuff @ 09:25 pm

Okay, so here’s a big update for you. I’m actually writing this during a free period at school, and I’ll post it up later. I’d update more, but I always think of things to say in the middle of the day and by the time I get home, I’m so tired and I forget everything I wanted to say.
First of all, yesterday I went to an An Café Live!!!!! It was so awesome! They were really gooooood. Miku and Kanon both almost fell off the stage at different points in the show. And Erin and I weren’t able to get in until late because we were number 633 and 634, but we were still able to get about three or four people from the front of the stage! Yay! We were really close and I could see them really clearly! IT WAS AWESOME! Yuuki sings along with Miku at the keyboard sometimes, lol. Teruki smiles a lot while he’s drumming. During one song, Kanon’s face was so serious and it made him look much more adult. Unlike when he almost fell off the stage and started laughing at himself, haha. I’m glad that he has such an awesome time up there even though he’s so shy. In fact, even when he talks to the audience, he’s looking over them and not really at them, lol. Poor little shy boy. Oh, and Takuya so does not have a stage-face yet. He kept forgetting to smile and was just concentrating hard of playing. There were a couple times when I’m pretty sure Miku was giving him support and reminding him to smile when they were close to each other. Which is awesome of him to do for the little newbie. I noticed especially when they played Snow Scene that Takuya was really concentrating on nailing the guitar solo because it’s a hard one. And he did a pretty good job! I saw him kind of sigh with relief afterward, lol. And Miku freaking loves the attention from the audience; he was like feeding off it. He would make us yell stuff or jump or let us sing lines of the songs. He puts on a really good performance, and I think that he is hands down the fan favorite, but that’s typical for the singer, I think.

Also, Erin and I were the ONLY non-Asians at the concert, lol. But we did run into the crazy guy we met when we went to An Café in-store and he said hi to us along with the group of guys he had in tow. O.o I was surprised to see so many guys, but as Caitlin said later when I was telling her about it, “If guys didn’t like visual kei, there wouldn’t be visual kei bands.” Touche, face, touché. And we think Miku might have seen us. I’m sure the lights pretty much blind them, but we were close and sometimes pretty well lit up, not to mention we’d stand out. Kanon might have seen us too. I think he tried to throw a pick in my direction but it veered off. T_T Haha, Miku also chucked his water bottle into the audience at one point.
So, I could blather on more about the concert, but I’ve probably bored you all tears already. One last thing, during intermission, they all came out in bunny suits to do a silly little skit, and it was really funny. I could even understand most of it, lol.

Now, on to school stuff. I’m trying to think of some of my good stories since I have so many and I always forget them. Here’s a good one from a few days ago.

I was in class with Tsujimura-sensei, and this was the class that he’s the homeroom teacher for, which usually means the kids are more comfortable with him so it makes for a more fun class. Anyway, this story involves a kid names Murata-kun. Tsujimura-sensei had the class monitor (or whatever they’re called) ask Murata-kun all the questions that start the class off. “What day is it today?” “What is the date today?” “How is the weather today?” And he managed to answer them fine. Then Tsujimura-sensei asked, “What season is it?” And the kid faltered and eventually told him in Japanese that unless it was summer, he didn’t know. He gave him a hint saying, “It starts with W. Think ‘something’ sports.” Murata-kun thinks about it and says with great confidence, “Wii Sports.” For those of you who don’t know, Wii Sports is a video game for the Wii system. I kind of thought that was a pretty ingenious answer.

Oh, another thing, at Izumi JHS, some kids came into the teacher’s room at lunch specifically to come talk to me! I felt so loved because it was the first time that had happened.
Okay, so what often happens at my schools is that I’ll get interested in specific kids. I don’t know why. It might be their look or their behavior or something they do, but I definitely have kids that I pay attention to. Like, in Izumi JHS, there’s the Brazilian kid who I pay attention to because he was introduced to me, or the punk kid who called me “Melissa-chan” and took my lunch tray. In Izumi ES, there’s this one fifth grader who is only ten but already so emo, and I adore him because he’s different. Maybe, it’s just that I’m noticed the kids who are different or slightly awkward. And today, I’m at Dachi JHS, where there’s a third year kids that I really like. Honestly I probably noticed him because he’s really pretty, lol. And the thing is, most of the kids at Dachi seem to be bigger and more jock-like. Seriously, though, these kids are damn tall and they’re seven years younger than me! But today, I got to teach this kid’s class, and he was smiling and chatty and it made me happy. In fact, I went up to the classroom early and all the kids seemed happy to see me and were all saying “good morning!” It was nice.

I’m realizing that I would really miss having students if I stop teaching. T_T So, I’m thinking that when I go to Tokyo, I might apply for ALT jobs that are at one school only. I’d really like to teach at one school so I could get to know the kids and really form connections with them. I could obviously look for other work too, but it’ll probably be easier to get hired into an English teaching job so I might do that first. Maybe I’ll be at a high school…. I’m not sure whether I like that idea or not, lol. It would be slightly more intimidating, but I’ve seen the way Danielle gets to fool around with her kids and it would be fun. In fact, that’s another good story.

We were at CoCo’s (a curry place we are often found in), and two of her students came in. They kind of said hi to her and then their table was on the other side of the restaurant from ours so we didn’t see them until one of the went to the bathroom, which was near our table. So, jokingly, I said, “We should all just give him the gaijin stare when he comes out.” And then Danielle really wanted us to actually do it, lol. By the way, “the gaijin stare” is the blatant, wide-eyed stare you get from Japanese people when you’re foreign. So, when he came out of the bathroom, he had five foreigners staring at him, and Matt even goes, “Nihonjin da!” (A Japanese person!) to mimic the “gaikokujin da!” (A foreigner!) that we often get. So then when we were paying, her two students kept popping up from their table to wave at us and make faces. And then when we went outside, we could see them through the window so we made more faces. Then the kid came really close to the window and Danielle told Aaron to make a kissy face at him, lol. Aaron couldn’t do it, but Matt did, and I told Danielle that now her student could say that he’s kissed her husband as the student made a kissy face back, haha. And then apparently the next day, Danielle had class with him and he kept whispering, “CoCo’s Ichiban, CoCo’s Ichiban” at her.

Well, that’s enough out of me. This is my only free class period and I’ve just wasted it updating for all you losers. I hope this was enough to keep you occupied for a while because I don’t know when the next update will be. Going up to Tokyo on Wednesday for some much-needed Caitlin time. Will probably see Yuu too. Then Caitlin and I are going to relax in an onsen for three days. Whee. So it’ll be a nice break! Later, freakos.

December 13th, 2007

Wheeeeeeeee @ 02:27 pm

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

It's only 2:30 and I'm home already! Hurrah for short days!!!!! ^_^

December 12th, 2007

Re-contract しないんです @ 12:41 pm

Current Mood: guilty guilty

So, I had to talk to my boss about not recontracting today, and now I feel like a jerk. Even though I know that recontracting is completely my decision and plenty of people only do this for a year, I basically felt like I was being completely inconsiderate and causing them major trouble by leaving after only one year. Hashimoto-sensei said that they were expecting me to stay for three years (basically because everyone else who came here did), and that it was such a shame because I was putting all this work into making stuff for classes and that they would all have to get used to someone else all over again next year. Which of course, only made me feel more like crap.
But the thing is, I really, really want to go to Tokyo and get an apartment with Caitlin-face; we're uber-excited about being able to get our own place to make ours. And I really don't think I'm cut out to be teacher. I worry too much about what others think so I'm constantly spazzing about if I'm doing a good job or not, which makes me feel uneasy and nervous and out-of-my-element, like, all the time. And as much as I LOVE the kids and getting to spend time with them, there are other jobs I'd rather do here.
In any case, I'm not going to change my mind, but Hashimoto-sensei wants to sit down and talk about it for while in a week and a half so I'll have to get guilt-tripped and passive-aggressively talked at for a while which will suck hard. But I have to do what I want to do, right? If I know I'd be dissatisfied staying, Ican't, right? That would be unfair to the kids and to a person who really wanted my job. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaah, lameness.

November 20th, 2007

How very like Japan @ 07:42 pm

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Okay, so here's something that demonstrates that duality I see in every aspect of Japan, and is also quite amusing. Today, one of my punk 3rd years at Izumi runs into the teacher's room to get me for lunch calling for "Melissa-chan!", which he so should not be calling me. A teacher corrected him too, lol. Yet, this punk kid is one of the ONLY kids to ever carry my lunch tray without being told/asked. Go figure. I love Japan, lol. ^^

Melissa in Japan!

See what the hell she's doing there!