It's a Heat Wave

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sorry for the late post. I wrote most of this yesterday, but I ran out of time to finish it. I'll start writing todays now, but lord knows if I'll post it before I leave. Sorry!

Ok, Tokyo Orientation was total cake. We all knew and expected this. However, where I am now, is completely overwhelming!!!!

Where to begin...

First, I am facing a lot of firsts. Not just because this is Japan but because some things I have just never done before. For example, I've never lived alone before. At first, I didn't notice that I was doing anything weird until I made a noise and realized how loud it was against the silence. Coming to school and socializing is a treat...I haven't even been here for 24 hours (T0T). Next, I have never hung my clothes to dry on a clothes line before. This morning was a first. A nice big spider was using it as a web holder, but I told him off and I doubt he shall return.

There are some things about my apartment that I love and others that I don't. I love that it's mine and I love its Japanese style and cuteness. It's the perfect size for me. Not too small or too big.

What I don't like is that I can't cool it the way I am used to. Normally, we have central AC. No such luck. I have one room that has an AC unit and it cools that one room which happens to be neither the kitchen nor bedroom. So I slept in the living room last night. Futons are super easy to move and I'm happy about that. I'll post pictures when I have Internet at my house. I am using my computer at work, which is running windows 98. I doubt it has USB.

Yes, I am at work today. It's not bad at all. I'm glad to be given something to do instead of sit at home in my hot apartment which only gets hotter as the day grows longer. I read what my predecessor left for me and that's when I became overwhelmed. She has so much information and it's all important. I read it through once and I'll probably ready it again tonight. There is information from how to sort my trash to how to get on the bus and what's expected of me in class at each school. I have names to memorize and lesson plans to write.

Which brings me to the actual meat and potatoes of being an ALT. It's not about living in Japan or learning Japanese. It's about teaching students. I have no training for this. I have no idea what I'm doing. Everyone makes it sound so easy. In fact, it's so easy, they don't even need to train for it. Clearly, living in Japan will take all my time and energy. I need not devote any of it to my job.

I'm sure in the end I'll learn that it's really a cake job like they say it is and I'll laugh at how much I worried about it. But I doubt it. The laughing part, not the cake part.

So...it's freakin' hot.

Allow me to explain this correctly.

I hate yogurt. (This has a point). I have always hated it and I will always hate it. But every time I see it in the store or every time I watch someone eating it, I think to myself 'my, that looks good' and I try/buy some, only to remember that I hate it. This same mentality follows into hunger. When I am hungry, I can not imagine myself having ever been full before. Clearly, I have always been hungry and I will never be satisfied. So I order a lot of food and when I am full and can not eat any more (and have loads of food left over), I think that there is no possible way that I will ever be hungry again, etc., etc. This happens every time. Without fail.

So now, I am cool. I am in the teachers' office where the AC fans are running and I am quite comfortable. I think to myself that there is only this feeling of comfort and when I walk outside there is no way that I could possibly be uncomfortable. Right.

This morning I was sticking to myself. Sitting down was a chore and standing was painful. I have never sweat so much in my entire life. It was dripping down my back and my underclothes were soaking wet. Hence, I did laundry today.

This was because when I arrived at my apartment, everything was opened up. All the windows and doors to let the breeze or lack thereof, in. When everyone left, I closed the place up and turned on the AC. I then stripped down because I was about to pass out. The AC however only works for one room, as I mentioned above. I was hoping that it would extend to the bedroom, but that didn't work out, and I learned that the hard way by waiting a few hours before I said F*** it and slept in the living room.

Packing hasn't gone well because I am too hot usually to do much of anything including walking between rooms, but also because there's already a lot of crap in it. My predecessor left some really great stuff like towels, hand soap, toilet paper, etc. that I wasn't going to bring with me because I can get it here, but that I didn't actually have time to go shopping for last night. And with the growing list of things that I do need, it's going to be much more than a single trip to the ¥¹¥Ñ (su-pa, supermarket). It's only down the street but I have a bike with a basket or a huge purse/bag. There is no way that I can carry everything that I want/need.

13 shared their love:

Kimi said...

Nina!!! How I have been waiting for your new posts. It is very sad that I check two or three times a day. What can I say...I'm obsessed with you. I'm glad to hear that you can hold your own...especially with the spiders. :) I'm glad to hear you are doing well - I can't wait to see pictures. I also hope that you post one of yourself dressed for work so I can see some of the new outfits.

Love You!!

Anonymous said...

Ok, Princess...

First, of the firsts, buy a fan...I lived in Okinawa (which is like Florida in the summer) and lived with a one-room A/C...close the door(s) to the room(s) you are not using, put a fan in the hallway, and blow the cool air where you want it...

Second first, buy two sturdy canvas (or vinyl - it grows on trees in Japan) bags with handles; each will fit on the bars of a bike, and another one with flaps that you can put on the back of your bike with bungi cords AND use your back pack - it worked 30 years ago, it ought to still work now....:) (oh, and don't do this at 2 in the afternoon - it's too hot - try 7:30 AM)

Third first, yogurt isn't a Japanese food, anyway, so what's the point? Bean curd tastes pretty much like yogurt, so don't go for that either...

Fourth first, teaching is NOT a cake job unless you don't do your job, and THAT will be a first; it IS, however, a wonderful way to learn more about YOURSELF and how much patience you don't have...

Fifth first: it gets cold there pretty soon, and it's still damp, so be ready to sit in your apartment and freeze with your gloves on, so I hope you have a reverse A/C-Heat one. If not, you will have that kerosene heater tied to your waist...

Sixth first, you WILL make a difference...so don't worry about that!

AND your sense of humor will carry you through it all!

Love you!!!! Judy

Darcy said...

Hi Nina! Your posts on Japan are awesome! Good thing for the Internet. Seems like things are going pretty decent so far, different of course, but hey things are what they are and they seem good (except that AC - a couple fans should do it like Judy said). You will get a hang of teaching, it is just the unknown that is a little scary for now, but in the end I know you will be a great teacher.

Send us all your mailing address as soon as you can! Maybe I can find you a "I hate yogurt" magnet to put on your fridge as a reminder :o).

Lots of Love

Jessica said...

Nina...like Kimi I have been anxiously awaiting your new post...I guess I just love you and your wonderful sense of humor that much. I hope you find your balance in Japan. Teaching comes with growing pains, you'll learn, you'll live, you'll get Luvs...Listen to Judy, she's a bright lady...Hope you feel a little better in a few days...By the way line drying rocks, it makes your clothes smell good too!!

Nina said...

Line dyring does NOT make my clothes smell good. It makes them smell like humid air. Bleh. But I think I'll be using some nice fabric softener when I figure out how it works and it'll all be good. I've got a couple of posts on the way but not until tomorrow. Many things have changed including the heat situation. It's not so bad in the end. I am still in the market for some good fans but I can't strap them to the back of my bike...I'll see what I can do with some ghetto rigging.

Thanks for the support and comments guys! I'll keep the posts coming.

For now, I'm at work...and no one is here. I think they're all on vacation...?

Anonymous said...

So, Ninamarie...

listen to Jessica... :) and your friend Darcy! And what do you mean line-drying doesn't smell good? I just took my sheets off the hangers that were drying in my palm tree...:)

Splurge for a cab to get those fans home, and the other stuff, too.. or walk...hee, hee

Hang in there kiddo - and yes, I want to see those great teacher-clothes on your bike, too!

Love you! J.

Nina said...

Well guys, I really wanted this computer to work but it can't read my flash drive despite actually having a USB port. Just keep in mind that I am still writing and when I finally get internet at my place, you'll be sure it's the second thing I do (After checking my email of course) So just be patient. This could take a couple of weeks. Trust me, no one is more upset than I am (ToT)

dan said...

We're all rooting for you Nina.

Lupe said...

you're already in freaking japan!?

well, i'm leaving for switzerland beg. of sept. i will totally blog about it on myspace. which is the only blog thing i have. so you should join the myspace world if only to read about my adventures.
btw. you know anyone in orlando who needs an apartment? i need to find a subleaser asap!

Lupe, your friendly earthly traveler

Adam said...

the nina has gone
her success is our pleasure
praise the interweb

Dipple said...

Hey Pumpkin-

Took me a while to catch up on the blog thing. I miss up, but I'm sure you're having a rocking time, so I'm also jealous. ;p I definently agree with the fan idea, i love my fan. Kiss, kiss to the fan god. hehe I'm sorry that your internet isn't working at home, but I'm glad that you can blog from work, because you crack me up. Much love, can't wait to hear more. :)

Angelo said...

I haven't checked out your blog in a while...I'll make it a point to. So are you coming to Saipan?

Kimi said...

Oh my God Nina!!! How unfair. It is 9:35am here in FL on the 28th of Aug. I just saw your screen name sign on AIM. I was soooo excited, then boom the door closes just as I'm clicking on your name. :( How sad!!! I can't wait till you get internet!!!!

 
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