On Monday we had our Prefectural Orientation in Niigata City. I got to ride some trains, learn more stuff, and meet all the other JETs in the Prefecture, including those right in my town. There are six of us who live in Murakami, although two work in towns further inland. The orientation basically covered more stuff about our paid holidays, sick leave, insurance, some teaching ideas, etc. There was an after-party at a bar in the city which was all you can eat/drink for 90 minutes. That concept may be the end of me. I did eat a lot though. The Murakami group headed back around 9, and then hung out at one of the few bars in Murakami, the “Beachside” darts bar. It’s not near the beach, but it does have darts. Joel, our regional adviser and ALT at Murakami Itchu High School, said that this is one of the only places to come in Murakami where there might be people our own age. Lots of old peoples. Oh, and yes, Obon is sometime this week. That’s the yearly ritual where the souls of the dead return to their hometowns, so the living also return to pay their respects. It’s also supposed to cool down after Obon, so I am in support of that.
水曜日に村上に着きました。 新潟駅から来たあと、外国人登録に申し込んで、アパートに行きました。 アメリカのサイズに比べて小さいですが、合っています。 木曜日は、いろいろな種類をサインして、市長をお会いして、ほかのALTのクリスティさんと昼食をジャスコで食べに行きました。 金曜日は私が働くことになっている学校へお回りしました。 それから、自転車で町を冒険しました。 海へ見に行ったけど、けしきは変だと思いました。 浜で、たくさんテトラポットがあるから、不自然な気持ちがありました。 今週末ですから、もっと冒険するつもりです。
Well, it is now Friday. I arrived here in Murakami on Wednesday. It`s a beautiful town. I have a modest apartment near the base of Oshiroyama (castle mountain) which is about a 400 foot tall forested lump with some neat castle ruins on it. I climbed it last night and watched the sun set over the sea to the west.
They have me on a pretty light schedule, which I appreciate. I`ve been gaman-ing (persevering, basically) with the suit and tie, but in this heat, it`s nearly unbearable. Yeah, it`s hot and crazy humid here. Thursday, I signed my contract and was sworn in as a public servant and met the mayor. The exact moment of the Nagasaki atom bomb anniversary occurred during the meeting, which was rather solemn. They tuned the TV to NHK (the national broadcasting company) to watch the ceremony at the Peace Park in Nagasaki. I then had lunch and went to the Jusco with Chris, the other ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) at the middle and elementary schools here in Murakami. Today I visited my schools, introducing myself five times to five principals and five rooms full of teachers. They all seemed impressed/relieved that I could speak Japanese.
I wont have the internet or a cellphone until my alien registration card arrives. I have a phone at my apartment now but I don`t remember the number. I should get that so I can be skyped.
Well, I had planned on making this first post a very structured, informative, complete account of my future here in Japan, but then I got on planes for 14 hours and was shuffled around in Tokyo and handed reams of paperwork for two days.
But, if I don’t post now, I will have to do a recount post in a week and I’ll have forgotten things.
First things first. I am going to be living in Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan for the next few years. I am in Tokyo now, and take the Shinkansen (bullet train) there tomorrow. School does not start for another month, so I will have some training and settling in duties during that time.
Basically, I’ve been so busy here in Tokyo adjusting to the time change, acclimating to wearing a suit, listening to plodding if not mildly amusing presentations (this one guy had a fabulous vocabulary – diffident, phatic, rejuvenate – and talked to us about hangovers for 20 minutes which forced him to rush through his last 40 slides) and drinking that I have not had time to do nearly anything else. I am very glad I had three months after graduation to basically screw off and laze around, because I will continue to be very busy.
I do have an address, but I do not yet have a phone, and won’t have internet for a week or so. I’ll post those all at once when I have them all.
I am on the 14th floor of a 47 floor hotel here in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s megadowntowns. I can see into the office building about 100m across the street. Last night around 1 AM, I took a photo of a guy slumped over a desk sleeping. Tomorrow, I’ll be in a second story apartment and I’ll be able to walk to the Japan Sea.
Well, everything has to start with something.