Tuesday, August 23, 2005


hi, ive been here 10 days and ive done some reasonably interesting stuff, so its about time to prove most of the people receiving this wrong, and actually write an email about it. im sending this to everyone who gave me their email address, i know ive missed a few people so if anyone is complaining about not hearing from `that bastard in japan` please get them to send me their address. this could be a long mail, so for those with better things to do, i am now in japan, i have a job (surprisingly enough as an english teacher) and am renting a room in a house in Nara. I have eaten alot of sushi, seen 3 different festivals and learnt a little japanese. the rest of this email is mostly irrelavant, so please disregard it. Far more detail than most of you will want to know day 0) got to the airport at some horribly early time, after having gotten up and an even more horrible time. Standing in the checkin queue realised that 3 people in front of me was a friend of mine who turned out to be going to china, but were on the same flight as me to auckland. Also happened to be seated next to each other, so made that flight slighlty more interesting. On the next plane i was seated beside a retired japanese guy who was very happy at his new found chance to practice his english with me. I was more interested in sleep, so as soon as the seatbelt lights went off i dashed for a block of 3 unoccupied seats in the middle of the cabin. I was met halfway by a japanese guy with a similar idea and what ensued was a battle of attrition which i eventually won and was able to lie down and sleep alot of the way to japan. The food was horrible, but thats to be expected. Before getting off the plane the old guy who i had been sitting next too on and off during the flight handed me his email address on a piece of scrap paper, incase i got in trouble. While putting it away i turned it over, was written on the back of a note from his doctor explaining how he had a viral throat infection and should have bed rest for a few days. Hmm would explain the coughing, but wasnt exactly what i wanted to catch on my first day here. Getting off the plane in japan I was surrounded by comments of "atsui yo", "atsu" and "atsui desu ne", all of which mean to one degree or another "hot isnt it?". The temperature wasnt to bad 33C, but the humidity was awful. Met Hiroko at the airport and she helped me through the warren of the osaka subway to the business hotel where i stay the first few nights in the centre of the city (near osaka castle park). Day1) went to the working holiday makers association where they list lots of jobs available to foriegners. Picked up a copy of the local english language classifieds paper. Had lunch at an all you can eat soba noodle shop, was great, and very cheap. That night went to see fireworks in Nara, the weather was terrible, but the fireworks were great, sitting on the banks of a river they lasted about 75minutes and afterwards all the food stores were fun. day2) went to internet cafe to apply for a couple of jobs from the paper. also had going-around sushi... day3) moved to my next cheap hostel in the slightly dodgy though interesting south part of osaka. Got an email back from one of the jobs, called them up, interviewed on the same day. Went to the toukae festival in nara, parks full of hundreds of thousands of candles, was beautiful. day4) went shopping for a cellphone in nipponbashi. Heard back about the job, i got it. day5) started and completed the 9 day training sesion in 1 day. Am now supposedly "a highly qualified and trained teacher" if u believe the advertising... day6) start teaching classes at berlitz gakuenmae nara. 2 lessons with adults and 1 with a child, was umm interesting. earnt about $65 kiwi. went wandering in the evening and found another festival involving people writing on candles and monks walking round in circles. I actually walked past this school everyday on my last trip to japan and didnt even know it was there. day7) long lunch with hiroko followed by teaching finishing at about 10pm. got home at 11 and went to the 100yen shop to find dinner. Hundred yen shops are like 2 dollar shops, except slightly cheaper and with significantly better range and quality. day8) had 6 classes in a row starting at 9am. I didnt get much sleep. But earnt $140ish. Went to see about a flat in nara, $100 a week including utilities, and wireless internet, sweet. Went to a day laborer noodle house for dinner, $2 for a big bowl of udon, pity i couldnt taste it, i burnt my tounge. day9) moved into the aforementioned flat and now live in nara 2 train stations from my job. about a 4 minute walk to my favourite temple from my previous trip. went to buy a futon bed, and bedding. The cheapest pillow happened to be a meter long and shaped like a fish of some kind, comfy though. What i failed to take into accound is that even in japan fish shaped pillow cases are something of a rarity. day10) went to the japanese equivalent of the libary of congress with hiroko. very cool, hmm interesting modern architecture, dunno if i like it, but they have all the books published in japan, and free access! yes yes i know i cant read japanese, but all the technical stuff is in english anyway. (Grant did u go there on your trip by any chance?) that pretty much takes me upto now, except for assorted battles ive been having with my clothes line and a fair number of strange new foods ive tried. Sorry about the length, the next one will be shorter, mainly taken up with the issues im having with my job. Generally Im good, employed, housed and well fed. luke cellphone (Japan) 090-6371-5216 address luke McCrohon 562-28, horen-cho. Nara-city, Nara, Japan 630-8113
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