Journal Entry: August 20, 2013

One of the many cultural activities that took place during Miyagi Orientation. This little guy was made with the ingredients for Miso soup. Who says playing with your food is improper?

One of the many cultural activities that took place during Miyagi Orientation. This little guy was made with the ingredients for Miso soup. Who says playing with your food is improper?

2013年8月20日の日記

A week haitus, brought to you in one day’s time!

Background Info

A little more than a week passed between the last entry and this one. Where did that time go? Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were spent at Miyagi Orientation, learning about the history and culture of the place and, most importantly, helping get all the new Miyagi JETs connected. Saturday night was a party organized by Miyagi JETs to welcome newcomers. I passed on karaoke to head back to Shiroishi, where I spent the night at one of my new friends’ places. Sunday I lazily took the bus back and rested. Monday and Tuesday, the day I wrote this entry, were my first real days of work. The Hikikomori life was forcibly ended (or, really, delayed).

Man, memories.

JAPAN JOURNAL

3:50 pm – I do this all the time. I’ll start a journal and then take such a long break that it’s hard to connect it all together. That being said, I usually take this as a good thing. For instance, if I’m not writing then I’m doing something. Indeed, that has been the case.

Should I do this chronologically? Kinda. I’ll list off the quick events: Last week on Wednesday the 14th, I left for Orientation. It lasted until Friday. Saturday was a MAJET event in Sendai. And work began in earnest yesterday. Although, when I say “in earnest”, I mean we’re actually just sitting around the office preparing. School begins for real next week. As a good Japanese worker though, I feel this means I should be sticking around every day until 4:30 or 5:00 at least. Then again, Umetsu-san just left and it’s 4 o’clock. Well, not all Japanese feel the same way about work. Lord knows if I were here that long, I probably wouldn’t.

One thing they don’t tell you about Japanese work life: Once 4 rolls around, it’s basically time when you’re allowed to relax. Sure, you’re still at work, but if you were chatting up other workers, they wouldn’t mind. Or, not as much, anyways.

Going into a little more depth, the orientation was awesome. Sure, I learned stuff, but that wasn’t the main point. Not for me anyways. Orientation, I feel, is to get you situated within a company. By that definition, orientation was a grand success. I finally met some people from southern Miyagi. Only two people, but that’s enough.

Speaking of friends, coworkers are awesome. Now if I could only understand them. Gah. At least when they laugh I feel good. The power of laughter is mighty.

I’ve had a lot to interrupt me. It’s almost 5:00 now. I’ll give another update soon enough. You know, in the next month or so…

Thoughts

Finally, I’d gotten out of the funk I was in when I got here. How’d I do it?

  • made friends, specifically foreigners in the south
  • started work

I’m pretty sure either of those things could have prevented my initial depression, but having them both around the corner really gave me the boost I needed.

I remember the week before orientation feeling like it was a crime to go outside. Before I had a phone it was because if I was out of my house when my supervisors came by, they couldn’t reach me. I had to stay home, or at least within a tiny radius. I ended up staying almost entirely indoors. After I got my phone, I still stayed in my room during work hours 8am-4pm because I felt like I hadn’t gotten some memo telling me to go to school. It was really odd. Like, I should have been at work, so if they found me walking around outside, they’d see me for the lazy bum I really was. But, of course, I didn’t have to be at work. I have no idea why I felt that way. That’s definitely the first thing I’ll tell my future successor.

I also removed my descriptions of the people I met since any of them could actually read this blog. The descriptions were all positive, I assure you! But, you know, they were descriptions, and I’ve already had an incident in the past. :p

Things that have changed over the last year? Well, I still hang out with the same people. I have more coworkers friends now, which is good. One is literally sitting a foot away, ready to play Smash with me on the 3DS.

But I no longer stay until 5. Sometimes I’m gone at 4:15. Sometimes I do stay until 6, but it’s a rarity. I enjoyed comments by the teachers that no past ALT had stayed much past 4, but then I realized how much time I was wasting, especially when the students weren’t there. The thing about teachers being free after 4 is still somewhat true, but it’s far more true at the elementary schools than it is at the middle schools.

Anywho, another two weeks will pass before my next (and, ultimately last) journal entry. Hope you can manage to wait the next 24 hours for it.

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