elementary Japan Middle School Saroma

New Same Job; New Same Life?

I’ve been here in Saroma almost a week now.  I am an Assistant English Teacher for the Saroma Town Board of Education as part of the Sister City relationship with my hometown of Palmer, Alaska.  It’s a pretty sweet deal, and everything is going well enough, but I somehow haven’t found the right adjustment knobs and levers for my brain and emotions, respectively.  The schedule is a lot harder to get used to than I feel it should be.  I have to relearn everything about the house and town.  It’s almost as if I still haven’t allowed myself to mentally reenter this life place.  I really cranked down my Japan thoughts while in America.  Like shut it off.  I think maybe cultural transition is like a coal-fired power plant: it takes a lot of time to start up and is really hard to make similes with.

I have a nice house though.  I’ve been spending a lot of time sleeping in it.


It has a back half too.


And a nice shed and flower garden that I am trying to not kill.


It’s a good deal, and so far my students are really, really great.  Although I was mistakenly, sadly, inexcusably late to my 1st grade class at Wakasa Elementary this afternoon, the students floored me with their ability to listen and as a group come to understand the English that I was speaking.  It was nothing short of amazing.  And although at the preschool this morning, I taught with a young woman who I apparently drunkenly danced with, got the phone number of, and then called 7 times in the middle of the night, yet remember nothing of, the 4-year old students there learned, tabula rasa, self-introductions and colors pretty well in just 40 minutes.  And, although I have no real experience creating a curriculum or teaching my own class, the conversation class with the six students going to Palmer next month has really gone well, with the students actually creating own expressions of meaning off the top of their little heads.  If any excuses are necessary for my lack of smooth integration, well, I think I might still be jet lagged.  It’s 9pm and I am off to bed.

2 replies on “New Same Job; New Same Life?”

Is that your little car, too? Seems like a neato place. I was going to completely alienate that sister-city of mine (especially since I totally forgot to invite her to the wedding!), but I think she’ll gie me another chance. Maybe I’ll send her some flowers or something.

Miss you. Hope you’re adjusting better today.


p.s. No more forgetting the drunken dancing and phone calling. Those are often times the most important thing to remember.

I am really happy with the “coal-fired power plant” simile that you made and I hope you are too.

Also, I’m envious of your charming, awesome little flower garden. It seems Zen. Am I just saying that because you’re in Japan?

I want to live exactly where you are. But not to accomplish anything, which would actually mean, pretty directly, that I could not live there.

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