June 13, 2007

The Countdown To Japan Begins

So, exams are officially over, my bank balance has been officially exhausted and the summer is officially beginning. However, for those of you who don’t know (for the record, these people must be far and few between) I’m not spending the majority of this summer England-stylee, but rather in the Nihon manner. I’m off to Japan. On 4th August. That means very little time left in this country and then I bid it farewell. For an entire year. Today I resumed my gym regime (I may have mentioned that I’d done this, but only in a half-assed way – from here on in, it’s every day, baby!) and tomorrow I’m going to start learning Japanese. I’ve learnt a few introductory phrases, but tomorrow is the day I turn Japanese native (ha!).

I’m shitting myself. Yeah, I’ve done something similar in Germany, but 1) Germany is closer, 2) it’s an easyjet destination and so easily reached and 3) I spoke some semblance on the language and had had experience of the culture previously. Japan is, as yet, an unknown entity. I do know stuff about the country, but I have no way to prepare for just the culture shock of having to live my life so differently from how I’m used to. And the heat. Wow, the heat is just going to kill me, especially as I arrive in the midst of summer. Surely it’ll only get better from there, but still! And then I’ve received so many official documents from the Iwakuni Board of Education (by whom I’m employed) and I’m worried that they’re going to be really strict and that I’m going to have a shit time and not have time to explore Japan at all. I also want to go abroad from Japan to see a bit of Asia as I’ve never actually been on that continent (Israel doesn’t technically count). Then there’s the whole US Marine Base. Iwakuni is home to a lot of US Marines who, apparently, one is strongly advised to avoid when they’re drunk. The last thing I really want is to get knifed by some squaddie!

I’m not really worried about the whole friends issue, because I’m quite a sociable chap and I’m sure that I’ll establish a strong friends network once I’m there. I’m more worried about the Japanese. I’ve never really had much experience of ‘them’ as a ‘people’ and I’m really worried that on my first day I’ll make some huge social faux pas and be shunned from society because I didn’t take my shoes off and leave the toe end facing the door. Oh, and I’ve got to dress smart for school. OK, Germany was weird because I didn’t have any dress code at all, but smart! All I’m thinking is the heat. It’ll be OK once it gets a bit cooler, but the other day, for the Woscars, I was wearing a shirt and trousers and I was more than a little uncomfortable. People say that you should take what the other teachers at the schools wear as an indication as to how to dress – I’m just going to have a really uncomfortable first day, because, as they say, you can only make one first impression, and so I don’t want to turn up and have someone tell me that I’m dressed inappropriately.

I’m pretty sure most of my worries are run-of-the-mill, but they’re still worries nonetheless. Anyway – hope exams have gone/are going well!


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Jess

    Here I was looking for a proper addy for the Iwakuni BOE and I find this. Are you really being put here as a JET? I work here now so you must be one of the newbies. If you’re worried about stuff or have questions feel free to email. Luck to you.


    27 Jun 2007, 04:57

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