Fish Eggs (And Other New Experiences)

So yesterday marked our one-week anniversary of arriving in Japan! In some ways it was a slow week, because so far we’ve had quite a bit of down time, but in other ways it has gone super fast. It has definitely been a week of new experiences. Where do I start??

Well, first of all, my new job! I haven’t actually started working yet, but this week we had two days of orientation and two days of observations. Three of my team mates will be teaching in the city’s junior high schools, while one of my team mates and I will be teaching at a kindergarten, several elementary schools, and the after-school English program. This program is held at a school run by my employer, and they usually have four teachers at a time who work there in the afternoons. (We’ll be working at the elementary schools and the kindergarten in the mornings). Originally, my boss only hired teachers to work at his school, but the city asked that he bring in more teachers to work at their junior high schools, so that is why we now have twelve teachers working here during any given year.

Wednesday was the opening ceremony for the kindergarten, so those of us who will be working there had to stand and bow in front of all the incoming students and their parents. Luckily, we didn’t have to say anything. Because it was a formal occasion, I didn’t take any pictures. I wish I had some, though – those kindergarteners are CUTE!! Maybe sometime I can sneak some pictures… 🙂

Thursday and Friday went by quickly, as I observed classes at the English school. I think I’m going to really like it – there are a variety of different grade levels to teach (from first grade through junior high), and different class sizes as well. I get to observe for about a week or so before actually teaching, so that will be helpful. I gave my self-introduction to each class, and got some interesting questions such as “What’s your favorite type of clothes?” and “Do you have someone that you like?” Some classes are quieter than others, but I definitely have to be prepared to answer questions about just about anything – my favorite food, drink, TV show, character, shape, etc.

As far as other new experiences go, I don’t think I can get by without mentioning food. So far this week, I’ve eaten sushi, dumplings, udon (thick noodles), and katsudon (pork cutlet on rice), among other things. I even decided to be brave and try the sushi that has fish eggs. I thought it would take a lot of courage, but I’ve been so thrown out of my comfort zone this week that it didn’t really feel like that big of a deal. I didn’t really like the taste, though – they were basically just gushy little balls that taste salty. My coworker took a video, but since it’s too big to upload onto this blog, I’ll have to post a couple of pictures instead:

So, that’s pretty much been my week. Meeting new people, trying new things, and trying to get both my body and my mind to adjust to a whole new way of life. Now, onto week two!

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