Monday, September 27, 2010

Culture Shock Phase 2: Yay for getting a job! ---And Autumn in Japan

Life has a way of changing...and quickly too.  Last Friday was my birthday and whilst being treated to an amazing Japanese dinner, I received a phone call. It was a job offer. I am quite certain this will remain one of the best birthday gifts I will ever receive!

As I just graduated this past May, this will be my first "real" job.  I am SO excited.  The company I may now call my employer is Saiei International Schools.  It is an English conversation school company.  The operate a number of schools throughout the Saitama Prefecture.  Teachers are not assigned to individual schools; they rotate schools throughout the week.  So I will be teaching at a variety of locations.  This means that my commute will also vary considerably from day to day.  Luckily, I commute my train which means I still may fill my time with constructive things such as reading, studying Japanese, knitting and listening to music or audio books on my iPod. Could be worse.

Saiei is, as I said before, an English conversation school.  English is taught through immersion. Japanese is, in fact, forbidden from the classroom.  They are very strict regarding this matter.  Fine with me...I don't know much Japanese yet! (I am trying to learn though...) I will be teaching a set curriculum for twenty minutes of each class period.  The rest of the class periods will be filled with various conversation activities. As the German tutor on campus last semester, I had a great time teaching the whole class when the German teacher was out of town.  I am thrilled I have been given the opportunity to further my experience teaching languages! :)

The most challenging aspect of taking this job will be the commute as well as the hours.  My working hours will be either 1 - 9 or 2 - 10 every day.  That is pm, of course. Also! I will always have to work Fridays AND Saturdays.  Happy happy joy joy.  I really don't care though.  I am certainly not allowed to be picky when it comes to finding work in Japan, let alone the whole world. (Yeah, economy.)  I will always have Sundays off as well as some other random day through the week.  Next week I have Thursday off, for example.  So with the crazy commute, I will be able to sleep in everyday but I will be getting back home very late.

In other news: the rainy season on begun.  The temperature has plunged downward.  The clouds have shrouded the mountains in their mist.  We have quickly retreated back to out familiar sweat shirts and jeans.  Being from northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, we were having a rather difficult time acclimating to the sultry summer of Japan.  This chilly temperature calls for slippers, soup and warm drinks.  I find myself comforted by the Autumn scents which drift through the air when the rain decides to take a break.

Autumn in Japan is entirely different from home.  The trees have barely begun to change.  Rice is being harvested.  Chestnut trees are dropping their prickly fruits to the ground.  Pumpkins are not orange, but a very pale yellow.  Flowers are still blooming.  I miss the familiar Fall rituals from apple cider, bundling up and wandering through Bayfield the first weekend in October, breathing the crisp, salubrious air that blows across the great lake and through the northern forests. I fend off the melancholy with my new discoveries here: sweet potato candy (odd, but strangely delicious), making little pots of tea, hiking up the Chichibu Mountains, learning to bake in my teeny-tiny oven...I have discovered that baking is extremely satisfying for the soul.  Pie, bread, brownies...The scents the consume the kitchen and the warmth that permeates from the oven is enough to transport anyone to a Autumn paradise. 

The Fruit of the Chestnut Tree
A Chestnut Tree
Chestnuts fallen to the ground. The prickly skin is broken away to release the edible chestnut fruit.

These red flowers are blooming everywhere now. I am trying to figure out what they are.
A pumpkin pasta dish we made last week. Delicious!
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1 comment:

  1. I, too, am finding that cooking and baking are wonderful for the soul. I'm so happy things are looking up!