Archive for December, 2015

December 15, 2005 – I want to go home

I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home.

(2015 Update) For those who haven’t been following my blog, I originally posted this 10 years ago when I was teaching English in Japan. I was 10 days away from another Christmas away from family, and feeling depressed and homesick. I am happy to report that as of the time this is posted, I will be 10 days away from Christmas WITH family, which I am very much looking forward to.

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December 14, 2005 – Santa planning

Last month, I agreed to be Santa for an upcoming Yamaha English school Christmas party. After work today, I went to meet the organizer for Sunday’s Christmas party. Yamaha English school uses Japanese teachers and has a kids English program. The Penpal used to work there and still has some connections with her old coworkers.

My original idea about the party was that I was going to put on a Santa costume for about 20 kids and hand out presents. I learned that I was actually going to double as a children’s entertainer and then Santa twice in the same day. The first show was going to be 60 kids 5 years old and younger. The second show will be 30 kids aged 6 and up.

What have I gotten myself into??

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December 13, 2005 – The Office UK Christmas Special

I have been feeling a little depressed lately, mainly due to the fact that I am stuck in Japan for Christmas instead of spending time at home with my family.

To cheer myself up, I have been watching The Office (the UK version), which is one of the funniest TV shows I have ever seen. I recently learned that there was a Christmas special set one year after the show ended.

The Office is known for its awkward, uncomfortable humour that usually promises no happy endings at all (like real life). The Christmas special actually finished with a happy ending that had me smiling from ear to ear. I didn’t realize how much I needed something to make me smile.

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December 12, 2005 – Best class ever!

Today I was working at my old branch in Mishima as part of a shift swap. I has a kids class that was scheduled for 5 young kids (3-6 years old). However, NOVA has been running a promotion where your child can bring a friend to a NOVA kids lesson for free. In addition to the 5 paying children, I had 3 visitors. This should have been a recipe for total disaster, but I somehow managed to give the BEST kids class I have ever taught in my entire time being an English teacher. I have no idea why things went so well, but the whole experience was fantastic.

There was no crying, no throwing stuff, no attempts to kancho the teacher, and no fighting. The regular kids all tried to help the visitors by showing them everything from what to say when they entered the classroom to helping them write their names in English on the workbook pages.

I will never have a better kids class than this one. The bar has been raised. And for all the complaining I do about NOVA kids, this was one of the few very pleasant surprises.

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December 11, 2005 – New monitor

Today I went to Hard Off (giggle) and bought a HUGE computer monitor to upgrade my in room entertainment system. My new monitor is 20 inches and replaces my 14 inch monitor. It only cost 13,000 yen (about $130) and comes with a 3 month warranty. The warranty may come in handy as the monitor appears like it is ready to self destruct.

For those interested, my entertainment system consists of:

  • A VCR (bought from another teacher in Hello House super cheap)
  • Playstation 2 (purchased new in Kawasaki)
  • My computer (purchased used in central Tokyo)
  • The aforementioned 20″ computer monitor
  • An upscan converter allowing me to connect all of those devices to my monitor
  • A small stereo to handle all of the audio (my first major purchase in Japan)

Being able to stay at home with movies or games is a great way for me to save money and keep sane.

(2015 note) Flat screen monitors were still not common in 2005. My 20″ monitor was a big, heavy CRT model, and was large for a computer monitor at the time. Carrying it back from the store sucked.

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December 9, 2005 – Christmas party aftermath

Everyone was hungover.

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December 8, 2005 – NOVA Christmas party

Tonight was the Numazu Nova Christmas staff party!

Over the past few months there have been a lot of parties involving some combination of teachers, staff, or students. In almost every single one there has been some argument, complaint about work, complaint about other coworkers, or someone overindulging. Tonight was different – everyone went out and had a great time. It was one of the most fun and most positive outings in a long time.

Like every other party, we started out in an izakaya and ended up at karaoke. People left through the evening, but I am proud to say that I closed out the evening singing Christmas songs (poorly) with Vivian.

A great time was had by all!

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December 3, 2005 – Vitamin drinks

My voice recovered enough from yesterday to the point where I could make enough intelligible sounds to teach English. To ensure I made it through the day, I drank nothing but hot tea and vitamin loaded energy drinks. Fortunately in Japan both of these are very easy to come by.

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December 2, 2005 – Dolphin squeaks

I had absolutely no voice today, so couldn’t go to work. The only sounds that I could make sounded like weak dolphin squeaks, and there is not much demand for squeaking English to dolphins.

I did feel pretty good otherwise.

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December 1, 2005 – December already!?

How is it December already??

I have been fighting a cold lately, which seems to be a common ailment for English teachers. I was starting to lose my voice at the start of the shift, and the 3 kids classes on my schedule pretty much finished me off.

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