October 9th, 2012


Jobs update~ (finally!)

Wow, my last entry was way back in April...so almost 6 months ago.  It's interesting that in that last entry I was talking about my job previous job at the English conversation school (Japanese is "eikawa") ending and needing to find another job.  I did start looking online for new jobs following that post, but most of the jobs I found were beginning in May or prior to the summer break, so since my contract didn't finish until late September I couldn't apply to any of those jobs.  I began to apply for jobs in late July but most of the jobs were beginning at the start of September when the 2nd school term begins in Japan (Japan's school year starts in April, and first semester is to summer break.  Second semester starts in September and goes to winter break in December.  Third semester begins in the New Year in January following the break).

In the end, I had to quit my job prior to my contract finishing because I couldn't risk waiting until late September and then being out of a job since that would also mean no place to live.  I felt really bad for my ex-co-workers since it meant they were left one teacher short for a few weeks as I had left early and the new teacher wasn't due to arrive until late September.  The other teachers had to take over my classes so they had full days for a few weeks >___<

It was also crazy to move too.  I thought I would be moving at the end of September, so I didn't really start packing or cleaning or anything.  And then, I got an interview at the end of August, and was offered a job in Saga Prefecture (it's right next to Nagasaki, about 1 hour by train so I went in person to the interview instead of doing it over phone or Skype), but the job began right at the beginning of September, so I had to inform my previous school I was quitting early, and then had to frantically pack and clean.  I ended up with about 2 weeks to pack, clean, find new apartment, change address at City Hall, cellphone company, and bank, and all that fun stuff that comes with moving.  And since I was still working I could only do it all either before or after work.  Those two weeks were insane, I think I made trips between Nagasaki and Saga at least 5 or 6 times in 2 weeks >___<  My last day at the previous job was September 1st, and that night I took the train to Saga.  The 2nd I had training as an ALT, and then on the 3rd I was off working at my new job, that was how tight the schedule was.

But now all that's over, thankfully, and I'm working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) at a junior high school.  I have to say I'm enjoying it a lot more than the previous place since now I'm at a public school so I don't have to think about any sales or targets or any of that stuff.  I just help the Japanese English teachers with their lessons, maybe think up of some activities to practice vocabulary or grammar, or helping with pronunciation or checking some English homework/tests and stuff.  Outside of class I can talk to the students in English or Japanese which makes communication a lot easier since junior high school kids really don't know enough language to actually hold a prolonged conversation.  I was a little nervous about being in a school where it's all kids, back in Canada I couldn't deal with kids if my life depended on it, but actually they're not so bad.  A lot of them enjoy anime and stuff, and some are really talkative so it's fun to chat with them (despite my broken Japanese, lol).

I also have much fewer classes.  Back at the previous job a full day was 8 classes, and in a week I was dealing with 25-30 classes, but here a full day is 6 classes, and I only have about 15 classes a week since there are 15 classes total at the school (3 years of junior high, 5 classes for each year).

The only draw-back I guess is that since it's a public school, aside from the English teachers, the other teachers don't really speak English so communication's a little more difficult that before where all the staff spoke some level of English.  But, it's good for my Japanese practice :D  And awhile ago we had a party where I was able to chat a bit with some of the teachers in Japanese, so it's not like I'm completely cut off from communicating with them due to the language barrier.  They seemed quite surprised I was able to speak Japanese (my kids are too) since some ALTs come with almost no knowledge of Japanese and I had at least been learning for 2 years or so.  I really think for the ALT job at least some basic Japanese is super useful, so I think it was a good idea to first work at the conversation school where I could get more help from co-workers and the company while I was settling into Japanese life, and then switch to ALT.

Most ALTs I think have to go to several different schools over a week since they don't always have classes at one school, but I got lucky and only have to go to one junior high school.  Once in awhile when there are no classes at my school (like test days and whatnot), I might go to one of the elementary schools as a guest teacher to help the Japanese English ALTs there.  So far I've only been once, and all I did was some self introductions to the classes which was fun.  The younger kids are so much more energetic...and loud XD  

Oh, and one more drawback was that there was no extra computer for the ALT here, so initially I didn't have much to do when I had no classes.  But then I had bought a tablet back earlier this year so I decided to bring my table to school instead.  But then, I couldn't connect to the school's internet, but then last weekend I went out and signed up for my cellphone company's Pocket Wifi, which is this little adapter thingy (about the size of a cellphone) that I can carry around and it'll hook up my computers/tablets to the company's Wifi/3G/4G network wherever it's available.  So now I bring it to school and instead of using the school's internet connection I can use my cellphone company's internet -- problem solved~

So that's about it on the job front.  I'm really enjoy my time here at the new place, and I had a chance to hang out with the other ALTs in my town.  It's a small town so not many other ALTs, but they're super nice.  One's a Canadian like me, and the other is Chinese, but she studied in Australia.  I'm kind of right in the middle, lol.  This past month I've been having a great time <3  And even though I miss my friends back in Nagasaki, since Saga and Nagasaki are close I can go back and visit too :D  (Actually this Saturday I'm heading back to Nagasaki for a visit)

I wrote about my first few days on my Sina blog;

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My boys make their debut on Livejournal~

Ok!  So the jobs update post is done, next up is hobbies.  My hobbies keep growing and they get more and more expensive.  Initially when I first landed in Fukuoka I just had to hit up the Takarazuka shop in Tenjin.  Then I discovered an Animate and a whole floor of gothic, punk and lolita styled clothes that I had to visit too, and now I recently discovered a Volks shop that sells dolls, and clothes and accessories for dolls, so every time I head to Fukuoka I have to go to at least 4 places to shop.  At each place I drop 10 or 20 thousand yen (approx. $100~200).  Last weekend I went to Tenjin and spent 100 thousand yen, about $1000, on Takarazuka DVDs, clothes for myself and clothes for my babies (my dolls...not living babies <__<).

Ah well, I guess money's made to be spent.  Some people make it a hobby saving, mine is more exchanging the money for other things ^^;;  I've been happy recently with my job and everything, and when I get happy I shop, and I indulge in my hobbies.  When I'm stressed or bothered, like in the last days at my previous job, I have no energy to indulge in hobbies, so I guess it's a good sign I'm getting back into my hobbies again.

Anyway, I wrote a bit about my dolls before my hiatus since April.  In February I bought a Taeyang doll, he's 30cm with a huge head and enormous eyes.  So cute and adorable.  I never could come up with an original name for him and my co-workers started just calling him Taeyang since that was the name I posted him under on Facebook, and the name's just stuck with him since.

And then, in March I ordered a full set Ball Jointed Doll (BJD) from the Korean company Dollmore.  His sculpt is called Kyle Reese from the company, and he's 70cm, quite a big boy.  I had had my eyes on that particular doll since university so it had been years since I wanted him, but his price tag kept me from buying.  In the end he costed me about $800 and I also ordered clothes and furniture for him too, so the entire order came to about $1,600.  He arrived with face up and body blushing, so he was set to go out of the box and I took him out in Nagasaki for a few photo shoots.  I didn't have a carry bag for him since he is so large, so I just held him in my arms and walked around, the looks I got from people were precious XDD   Some people came up to talk to me about him, it was awesome!  I named him Hisui (翡翠) meaning jade or jadeite in Japanese, and the Chinese characters in Chinese mean the same, because jade is my favourite stone above all over gemstones.

But then when I started looking for a new job my energy level for my darlings dropped as I was too tired from job hunting to play with him.  So the two boys kind of just sat in my room for a few months without moving.

Now, finally, I bought them some new clothes and had another mini-photo shoot at my new apartment in Saga last weekend.  Initially my big boy.  Over on Facebook they've got their own album, but I'll post some of their photos here too since not everyone has Facebook :)

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So, that's it for now.  More to come later hopefully! I hope to have a change to take my boys out around Saga for photos before it gets too cold :D  (But to be honest I'm still so new to the place that I don't know any good photo places OTL)
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