frellnik: (Default)
I wanted to give people outside of Japan a look at what people in Japan are still facing. I don't live in the worst hit area, but I do live in a town that was affected by the earthquake and the tsunami and the melt down at the nuclear power plant. Please don't forget about the people of Japan because we are no longer all over the news. — in Iwaki-shi.

1 year!

Aug. 3rd, 2011 06:26 pm
frellnik: (Default)

It's been 1 year, to the day, that I arrived in Iwaki. And it's been one hell of a year, both good and bad.

So let's see. 

The GOOD!!

- I moved to Japan! Came to the town of Izumi in Iwaki City.
- I got my first apartment! and what a nice apartment it was!! 2 rooms, livingroom with kitchen on the back wall.
- BEACH PARTIES!!!!  Fireworks!! Fun in the Sun!
- Started teaching at Izumi Elementary School and Izumi North Elementary school.
- Got involved with the SGI group here and made 2 really good friends and another friend I didn't get to see all that often, but really helped me out a few times.
- Met another 30 ALTs in Iwaki from all over the world and made some really good friends in that group too!
- Did lots of travelling around Japan (all over Tokyo, Fukushima, Koriyama, Aizu Wakamatsu, Sapporo, Kyoto, etc)
- Had a great surprise visit home at Christmas!
and now I've moved to the town of Yotsukura in Iwaki City.


The BAD!!

-Was sick...ALOT. More than I was ever sick in Canada.
- Melted at work in 30C+ weather with no AC.
- Ended up in the hospital for 15 days in Feburary with a herniated disk in my lower back. ($100 a day, roughly) Thank god for national health insurance!!
- 3 days after getting out of the hospital...the sky fell
- shindo 6+ (M9.0) earthquake hit at 2:46pm Friday March 11th. I was at home alone...talking with[ profile] ninja007 on msn video chat. I have never been so scared in my life. 
- Then the tsunami came. I was ok in Izumi, but where I live now was hit pretty good, I'll have to get some pictures of how it looks 5 months later.
- Then we were told the power plant blew up...or something.  It's about 40km from where I live now... the stay clear zone is 30km radius.
- Then I got evacuated from my home. My town had no running water for 5 weeks and lost power a few times.
- Then I started fighting with my family and eventually gave in and went back to Canada for a month.
- Slight case of PTSD which is slowly getting better.  [ profile] ninja007 has been helping with that :)  At least the nightmares have stopped.


- I have moved from Izumi to Yotsukura last week.  I will no longer be teaching elementary school, but will be teaching Junior High School. 2 of my schools were damaged by the tsunami and fires and are not safe to use yet.  One of the schools is inside the 30km zone as well as being damaged by tsunami and fire. So those students have been relocated to other schools. One of the schools will be fully usuable again by the end of March next year. I have no idea about the one inside the 30km zone. 

Yotsukura is a nice place. It's in the middle of nowhere. lol  The walk to the train station takes about 12 minutes and it's like something out of  a movie. Beautiful green everywhere you look and houses, of course.  It's peacefull.  Although, there is construction everywhere!  People fixing their homes, the roads, shops, etc.  But there isn't much to do here, except go to the beach...which is closed for the forseable future.  I'm a 10 minute walk from the beach I need to watch for tsunamis...where I didn't before.  We had a 6.4 last Sunday morning at 4am. That freaked me out. But no tsunami, so I guess I won't have to worry too much about them if it's under a 7.  I'm hoping there aren't any more of those.

So I get introduced to my new school on the 19th of August.  I hope I like JHS.


one more bit of good news:  My uncle is coming to visit me next week.  He gets here on Sunday and will stay for 10 days. So we will stay in Iwaki for 5 days and then go to Tokyo for 5 days! I'm looking forward to this! It's going to be fun!


Aug. 31st, 2010 04:47 am
frellnik: (Default)
I love grade 5s!!  They are awesome! They're enthusiastic, talkative, willing to ask questions! They were easy to make laugh and entertain.  The grade 6s were afaid to ask questions yesterday. Today we ran out of time in every class because of so many questions! It was amazing! 

So today went really well.  I taught 5 classes. Third period I had free because the kids were swimming.  So I used that time to write a letter to a friend and study Japanese a bit.  I also talked to my advisor about making name tags for the kids with squares on the back for stickers. When the kids win a game or answer my English questions correctly or volunteer to talk in front of the classs then they get a sticker. At the end of the year, the kids with the most stickers get a special prize.  Incentives :)

Tomorrow I will go to teach at my other school for the first time.  I am hoping that I'll be able to do my Self-Introduction there too.  I have to leave earlier because the school is farther away and I have to go to 7/11 to buy lunch which is in the other direction.  lol  I'd go now but the food doesn't stay fresh long. if I buy it now it will get hard before lunch time.  So I'll have to wait until morning.  It's not far though so it should only add a few minutes total to my route.  But there are lots of hills and my school is at the top of a mountain.  I'll have to walk my bike at least half the way. lol  There is even a part where There is a stair case that I have to climb and a bridge to cross the train tracks then go down the stairs on the other side...with my bike.  There is a smooth ramp in the middle of the staircase for me to push my bike along.  It's tiring. I'll be in good shape with all the hills and stairs in Izumi.

I need to find a post office...I need to mail a letter. lol

OH! Today a little boy asked me if I had a boyfriend. When I told him I didn't, he told me to keep trying and do my best! LOL!!! I had to hold my breath to keep from laughing until he was gone. He was so cute.  He was so serious too! lol  I love kids. 

Talking with Dom again! It's nice to have someone to talk to when I get home from work! lol  I'm lucky she's an insomniac or I'd have nobody to talk to most days. it's about 4:45am back in Ottawa so all my friends are asleep...or at least they should be lol.

So I wish you all a good day today! My day was awesome! I'm hoping tomorrow will be just as good!
Take care everyone!
frellnik: (Default)

Last night I left my AC on all night set at 18C on the weakest setting and I slept great.  I think I’ll do that until it cools down enough that I can sleep without it.  Right now it’s 29C but there is a nice breeze coming in through the open windows so it feels pretty good (although I’m not moving around much right now). Now that the sun is setting a bit and it’s not right overhead beating down on us, it feels a lot cooler outside.

I thought of another random fact I wanted to share with everyone.  You get your bills in the mail (gas, electricity, water, etc.) and you bring them to either the post office or the Convenience Store (7/11 or Lawson, etc.) to pay them.  I got my electricity bill in the mail the other day (just under $30 bucks for the month…which is more than most of the other JETS because I live with the AC on lol) and I brought it to the corner store last night and paid it at the counter. There is a barcode on the bill and they scan it and it brings up the amount for you to pay and then they stamp it and you get a receipt and then you’re done. easy.

So today the Principals of all the schools in Iwaki had a meeting at the Culture Centre and we (all the ALTs) were brought into their meeting in the morning and introduced to all of them.  We were also told today that the Japanese government is trying to save money so they are downsizing the JET program a little every year. They are scaling back the English programmes at school. So last year English was taught starting at grade 1. This year English is being taught to grade 3 and higher…next year will be grade 5.  So if not enough people decide to go home at the end of this year then some of us will be “laid off” at the end of the year.  I know 3 people for sure who are not coming back next year…but I don’t know how many places will be cut at the end of the year.  So Each school has to make reports on our progress and how efficient we are throughout the year and the best will be renewed and the others will be renewed if there is space. So it looks like no new ALTs will be hired next year to come to Iwaki.

We had a 2 hour lunch break today! Chelsea and I went to Yamani Book store in Taira on our lunch break so I could get a Kanji work book for the JLPT level 2 and she could get an application form for the JLPT.  Apparently Chelsea bought the last copy of the book I wanted and they hadn’t restocked so the clerk put the book on order for me.  It should come in sometime in the next 3 or 4 days.  They’ll call me when it’s in.  After we ate we went to city hall to pick up our ID cards.  I now have my health insurance card and my Alien Registration card (never leave home without it!). lol

After lunch we had time to work on our Self Introductions, so I finished laminating my pictures.  Then we went back to city hall to meet the Mayor.  We got into the room and were told where to sit.  The chairs were more like little one seater arm chairs. Very low to the ground.  They were comfy, but hard to get out of.   

A cell phone in Japanese is called a Keitai [kay tie].  Eden had pulled his keitai out to turn it off so it wouldn’t ring during our meeting with the Mayor. Of course it made a noise when he turned it off.  So Mr. Takahama saw this and told us all to “please set your keitai to stun.” At which point every one of us started laughing, including Mr. Takahama. Then came all the star trek jokes and wishing our keitais really did have a stun setting lol.  Mr. Takahama is a big fan of all the Star Treks. But his favourite is the original.

After meeting the Mayor we went back to the Culture Centre and we continued working on our self introductions. I was finished so I got permission to go home…after I went to the BOE to pick up my parcel that was still sitting on someone’s desk.  So I did.  When I got back to Izumi with my big box and was on the escalator I heard someone behind me say “how you doing?”  I half turned around and saw a guy dressed in almost a Hawaiian shirt and hat lol.  I told him I was good and asked how he was. He told me he was “super duper!” LOL!  I told him I liked that. He asked me where I was from and then welcomed me to Fukushima.  Izumi is his hometown lol.  He asked me if I needed help with my box and I told him I was ok. It wasn’t as heavy as it looked (sweaters and a picture frame).

On my way home from the station I passed a group of elementary school kids playing. One girl said “hello” to me so I said hello back which caused them all to giggle.  I asked her “how are you?” and she asked her friends in Japanese what to say. One of them told her the answer quietly and then she told me “I’m fine thank you. I’m Manasomething. and you?”  I told her my name and then in Japanese I told her that her English was good. Then  I asked them what they were doing and she told me that they were playing Dodge Ball.  I said have fun and she said thank you and I kept walking.  I got around the corner and I heard her run after me and tell me to wait.  So I stopped and turned back to her as her friends came around the corner and she asked me if I was going to teach at Izumi Kita Elementary school. I told her I was and everyone got really excited and she and her friend both said, at the same time, that they go to Izumi Kita Elementary school.  They are in 5th grade (4th class and 5th class) and that I absolutely must go to their class to teach English. lol   I told them I would be in their class next Tuesday.  Then Mana made me promise to say hi to her when I get there…I told her I may not remember her name because Japanese names are hard for me but that I would do my best. I think I’ll remember it though. Mana is the short version of her name.

So after that cheerful welcome I smiled the entire way home! lol  I’m still smiling! I would have asked to play dodge ball with them but I had that big box in my arms and the longer I was holding it the heavier it got….I was also wearing formal wear and didn’t want to get dirty.  So I’ll settle for seeing them in class lol.  Tomorrow is the first day of the semester and I have to give my speech in front of the whole school.  I have my speech finished.  I’m going to try to memorize it tonight, or at least part of it.  It’s just over 2 minutes.

Oh, I found more tv channels last night, including one that plays English movies. It’s weird, when I tried those channels a week or so ago they were just black. Then last night they were only the top right part of the screen while the rest of the screen was full of menus and stuff…then when I went through them again later they all looked like any other channels I have.  I don’t understand it but I’m happy to have them! BS 1 and BS 2 often show Disney movies.

Anyway, I think that’s it for today.   This turned out longer than I was expecting.  I got a post card in the mail today from the internet company confirming that they will come in the afternoon of the 29th so I will get my internet set up on Sunday! YAY!!!! That’s when I’ll be posting this. lol  Take care everyone!


frellnik: (Default)

Hey :)

I'm not going to post much here...I've written out the past few days on my laptop back at my apartment so when I get the internet tomorrow afternoon...and after I figure out how to get it working (fingers crossed) I'll post the last few days worth of posts.

As for today.  I went to my base school to wait for the taxi to come take me to Iwasaki Elementary in Yumoto.  I got there a little after 8am and I spent the day with Lenny and Chelsea.  Basically I went to class with Lenny and watched how he taught his classes. TOday he taught 5th grade (which is the same class and same material I have to teach on Tuesday). So I got to watch him teach the same thing in three different classes.  I also gave a short self introduction in each class.


We had lunch with the VP and a few other teachers and then I went back to my base school by taxi.  WHen I Got to the base school I couldn't find anyone and I could hear music coming from the gym building.  So I went to the gym and there was a shakuhachi performance happening!  I only got to hear the last song, but it was amazing! I loved it!  I've seen a shakuhachi performance once before in Toronto back in April.  I can:t really explain it so you should google it if you don:t know what it is. (sorry, the keys are in different places on this keyboard and I*m too lazy to look for them lol).

After school I went to the park for about 20 minutes and watched some of the kids from my school play baseball. All the kids say hi to me now so it seems that everywhere I go, someone is calling my name! lol
On the up side, none of the kids followed me home today, and there were no kids hiding in the bushes today either. lol  I:ll post about that tomorrow or Monday.

Now I:m at the libarary in Taira killing time until the welcome enkai (all you can eat and drink - alcoholic or not - party) at the Beer Garden.  I also got a phone call last night that my book came in.  I ordered it on Tuesday and they told me it would take 3 or 4 days to come in. It came in last night (Thursday). 

um...I think that's it.  OH!  My rent is a hell of a lot less than I thought it was going to be.  I was told about $250 amonth....I:m paying $183 a month!!  well 18,300 yen and the canadian dollar is down so maybe $200. plus utilities.  so...yay! lol

well I:m off to go read some more of Becoming Connar Davids by race_the_ace. I thought I had saved it all,...but I now I:m reading it at work and at the library., lol  I'm on chapter 12 and I love it!!  If you haven:t read it, give it a try.

frellnik: (Default)
Tuesday the 17th!  I guess most people back home are sleeping's 1:30am in Ottawa...and oh, only 10:30 pm in I guess Dom is still up.  Hi Dom!!  Sorry I can't chat...the library computers don't have msn.

So yesterday I went and saw a kids movie at theatres.  It was about a wasp named Hachi (wasp) who whose hive was attacked by hornets when he was a baby.  He was taken to safety but his mother (the queen) was captured by the hornets.  She promised him they would see each other again.  So he is trying to find his mother  by looking for the hornets and ends up in a small town. He makes some friends and then he meets a human girl.  She's afraid of bugs...but she can understand HAchi (and all the other bugs too...).  SHe was playing her harmonica and Hachi like the sound so he followed the sound and got stuck in her hair.  Anyway....she decides to help him find his mother. It's a really good story. I cried...once. lol   And I was able to understand about 90% of it. 

When you buy movie tickets in Japan you don't buy them at a buy them from a vending machine.  All the tickets are pay a different price depending on your age (child, student, adult, senior) and then there is ladies day (Friday) and Mens day....ect.   There is always someone working at the vending machines and you give them the money and they get your tickets for you.  I made the guy working there laugh when I told him what movie I wanted to see.  I was expecting it and laughed with him. 

After the movie I had 25 minutes until the train, so I went to Ito Yokado and bought a futon for about $150.  It's wonderful!  I can't feel the bar in the couch now!  I slept great last night...except for the heat that kept waking me up.  Mom, I changed my mind. Don't come visit me in August...we'll both be uncomfortable trying to sleep at night.  And you'll probably die during the day.  Come for Chritmas instead! lol

Today has been a nice slow day. I didn't do anything but read until noon and then I showered and ate and came out to Taira to come to the library.  I will be meeting Sam to go see The Scorceror's apprentice at 4:40 (in 2 hours) and then I will go to the grocery store on the first floor of LATOV before going home. 

Tomorrow I meet the teachers at my base school. I'm a bit nervous about that...  Then Thursday is another training day.  Friday-Sunday I'll be in Aizu (a few hours from here) for a japanese course with Home Stay.  I'm looking forward to that and hopefully I will have internet access while staying with my host family.  Should be able to chat for a little bit maybe.

So that's it for today.  Have to check my e-mail yet..and I'm once again down to 18 minutes. lol  that seems to be my magic number.

Take care everyone!


Aug. 12th, 2010 03:28 am
frellnik: (Default)
The rain has started.  It should hit full on tomorrow morning by 11:00 Japan time.    Looks like i'll be staying inside tomorrow.  At least the winds have cooled things down outside!  The typhoon looks like it will just miss us, so we won't get the worst of it...but there will be lots of rain and wind.
frellnik: (Default)

August 7th-8th

Got up in the morning and left the house at 9. Biked around Izumi looking for the Maruto stores (groceries and pharmacies).  Biked right past them and got well on my way to Onahama city before I realized it.  Had to go into a shop and ask them to point out where I was on a map lol.

Found the pharmacy on my way home! lol bought toilet paper and other necessities.  Then found the grocery store but had no time as I needed to be home around 10am to call Sam and Chelsea.

Caught the 11:56 train to Taira and met up with Sam and Chelsea and went to Kojima to pick up my cell phone. I have a nice phone and it was free with my 2 year contract! YAY!  my cell phone email is   you can e-mail me from your computer and I can reply from my phone. J

Then Peter called and told me to call a guy named Hendrick who would be going to the Beach party before the fireworks that evening.  I had wanted to go but didn’t have a way to get there. The fireworks are at Onahama port and the party was at a nearby beach.  So I called Hendricks and he was able to take 3 people.  Sam declined because she was too tired (jet lag sucks!) but Chelsea and I both decided to go.  The only down side was that we were in Taira and didn’t have time to go home to get a bathing suit and towel. I decided I would go in the water anyway and not worry about it.

On our way to the mini mart to meet Hendrik we ran into another JET who is sort of separate from our group.  S is from Vancouver and came over with my group but she is a high school ALT and High Schools are separate from the rest of the schools (High school isn’t mandatory in Japan).  So she wanted to go to the beach party and the fireworks but had been left out of the loop.  So we told her to come with us and see if Hendrik had room for her. He did.

We got to the beach around 2pm and one of the other JETs lent me a pair of shorts to wear in the water so I would have dry clothes to wear later.  I went in the ocean twice and played in the waves. The water is a lot colder than I’m used to with lakes.  We played a game with a bamboo stick and a watermelon. Basically it’s the piñata game.  You wear a blindfold and run in a circle around the bamboo stick, then you try to smash the watermelon that’s on the ground in front of you.  I tried, so did Sam and Candy. Then Clarence used a larger bamboo stick and he missed too… Then Daniel went …he didn’t use the bamboo stick…he used a tree!  He smashed the watermelon to bits! lol  Then we ate it! lol  It was awesome!   

We had a BBQ on the beach and then around 6:30 we left the beach to head over to the Port where the fireworks festival was being held.  There were a couple million people there.  It was crowded!  Some of us got separated from the main group and we ended up with front row seats.  There was an open spot right at the front by the water and a family sitting there told us to go ahead and sit there.  I chatted with the family all through the fireworks. There would be about 4 minutes of fireworks followed by a minute to set up the next round. It went from 7pm until 8:40.  I took some nice pictures and a few videos. It was great!

After the fireworks we went back to the beach and had a bon fire.  Some of the JETs went skinny dipping and a few of them were drunk enough to dance around the fire with nothing on.  It was a great day and I didn’t get sunburned! not even on the top of my head! lol  I have issues with sun burns.

Hendrik drove me, Chelsea, Steph and Naz home after the bon fire. The last train leaves Taira for Izumi at 10pm….I got home at 12:40am.  I took a small nap on the beach near the fire.  It’s been pretty hot this week but today was nice, and after the sun went down it seemed a bit chilly. I walked back to the beach with a towel around my shoulders.  A group of JETs slept out on the beach in tents, but I didn’t have the gear for that.

I got home and took a shower to get rid of the sand and then went to bed. It was about 1am by the time I was in bed and all I could think was that the sun would be up in just a few hours.

In case I didn’t mention it before…the sun is up, in all its glory, by 4:45am and it has all but disappeared by 7pm.  And the sun rises and sets extremely fast! Sunrise only takes about 15 minutes to go from pitch dark to too bright to sleep. It’s nuts!


August 8th

Today I got up at 8am. I woke up before that but I managed to sleep again.  I had planned to go shopping this morning but I decided not to.  Instead I unpacked a bit more of my stuff.  My books are all on the shelves now and most of my clothes are in the closets. I’ve done two loads of laundry so all my clothes are clean.  Some of my clothes are really wrinkled so I’ll have to wash them before I can wear them. 

I went to Taira again today with Chelsea and Sam.  We went to a big department store and had lunch then went floor by floor looking around. I found the store that sells curtains! Unfortunately my windows (balcony door), is a really unusual size so I have to get my curtains made special…it’s going to cost me about 10,000 yen ($100). That’s ok. I can ship them home in 4 years. lol  My windows are 245cm by 200cm.  weird.

We finished shopping around 3:30 and decided to go see the new Ghibli movie “Karitagurashi” which is based off “the borrowers”.   It’s a good movie.

Today was also the last day of the Iwaki festival.  There was dancing in the streets tonight.  We got out of the movie just in time to watch the dance.  Every group had a special festival outfit, either a yukata or a happi coat and shorts…it was really colourful! There was a group performing the music (taiko drums and flutes). 

We grabbed some food and then headed home.  I packed my bags and took a walk to throw out some garbage (I haven’t learned how to separate my garbage properly yet so I just put the food stuff in a bag and threw it out in the not burnable garbage.

Tomorrow I have to be outside my house waiting on a taxi at 6:30am.  The new ALTs are going to Fukushima city for a 2 day orientation specific to living in Fukushima prefecture. Learning how to separate the garbage is one of the things we’ll learn, as well as reading and understanding the bus and train schedules and other important stuff.  I just wish I didn’t have to get up so early.

I’ve been watching Tomb Raider while I’ve been writing this.  I don’t think I’m going to watch all of it. I need to get to bed.

I hope you’re all doing well!

frellnik: (Default)

August 4th

I woke up early so I could eat breakfast and have time to chat with mom before I had to meet my group to go to Fukushima.  Breakfast was the same as the previous 2 days.  I ate more than I should have…again.   After talking with mom I packed up the rest of my stuff that wasn’t packed the night before and said good bye to my roommates then headed off to meet the rest of the JETS who would be taking the bus to Fukushima.

The bus ride took about 4 hours. We had 2 stops along the way for snacks and bathroom breaks. Each stop was about 20 minutes.  At the first stop there was a bread shop (kind of like a bakery but with only different kinds of breads). I got a cross between a croissant and a roll that was full of chocolate.  Red bull is only 200 yen here ($2) so I got one for the road.  I had planned on going to bed early the night before so I’d be well rested when I met my supervisors from the board of education. I was in bed by 11:00, but I didn’t sleep until after 2 and I was up before 6. I was not happy about that…but I wasn’t all that tired either.    We got to Koriyama (in Fukushima) and had a welcome ceremony.  Each of us was introduced to one of our supervisors from the BOE that contracted us.  Iwaki (my city) has 10 JETs that came in my group and 5 JETS that came the week before. We had the largest group so, to get back to Iwaki, we were driven in a small van/bus (a bus that looked like a van).

We made one stop along the way and Zhan bought grasshoppers (which she then shared with everyone on the bus). I didn’t have any. I’m not that brave.  She loves them though and so did a few other people on the bus.  Ewww.

Once we got to Iwaki we were brought to the BOE office to collect our luggage. We also had to quickly introduce ourselves to the other office workers.  Mr. Takahama gave us a script to follow to make it easier for us and so that those who can’t speak Japanese could be understood by the office people.

Everyone got to go to their apartments except for Chelsea and me. lol  We got to stay in a hotel for the night.  The hotel was nice. Small rooms.   I had a twin size bed, a desk, tv, fridge, closet and bathroom.  It was nice. There was a wall panel next to my bed with a lamp on it with buttons and switches for all the lights in the room, alarm clock and radio. The lamp was a night light. lol  I slept 9 hours that night. The best sleep I’ve had since I got here!

The next morning we had a nice Japanese style breakfast at the hotel restaurant (fish, rice, soup, vegetables, potato salad and probably one or two other things I’m forgetting). I love Japanese potato salad! lol

August 5th

We walked from the hotel to the Culture Centre which is right next to the BOE.  There we had class all morning.  We filled out forms to get our Alien Registration cards and bank accounts. Then we went to City Hall (just down the street) to hand in all the forms and stuff.

One thing I should mention is that Iwaki is like a whole bunch of cities and towns that combined to make a city.  The BOE, city hall, etc. are all in TAIRA.  I live in IZUMI.  For people who live in Ottawa…if Taira is Ottawa, then Izumi (where I live) is like Almont!  Taira has a downtown core and it’s busy, lots of shops , big train station with stores etc.  Izumi has nothing.   The train station is just a platform; there aren’t even street lights on most of the streets!  There is so much green. I’m in the mountains.  I’m glad I have a bike because I honestly don’t think there is a bus system in Izumi.  But I’m only about 15 minutes from Taira by train and I’m a 3 minute walk from the Izumi train station.

So in the afternoon , after our classes, we went to Kojira to sign up for internet and cell phones. I didn’t get to start mine that day.  I went to get a helmet and a light for my bike. Since there are no lights in Izumi, aside from house lights, I really need a light on my bike…the roads aren’t straight either. It’s really different from what I’m used to!

Mr. Takahama took Chelsea and me back to the hotel to get our bags and then took us to our apartments.  I got to my apartment around 5pm and Mrs. Kodama showed me how to use the gas stove and the washing machine, how to turn on the hot water (there is a wall panel and the water takes a few minutes to heat up), and the air conditioner.

Kasey (my predecessor) left me a whole tone of stuff for the apartment! I’m so happy for pretty much all of it! She even left me stuff I wasn’t expecting (like the fan to put under the laptop to keep it from overheating!) I was going to by myself one of those fans and now I don’t have to. J

The only thing I wasn’t happy about is that all the stuff (in boxes thankfully) was stacked up in the livingroom on and around the couch…which is where I need to sleep. So I had to move everything  before I could go to sleep.  I ended up putting most of the stuff away into cupboards and stuff. I have three boxes left.

Mom, she left me a big bottle of Advil! lol YES!!!

So I got to bed around 10:30 and didn’t get to sleep right away. I need to buy curtains. The ones I have are not wide enough to cover the window and they are white, so the light goes right through them.  Even though there are no street lights, there are some house lights and the moon was really bright.  Also the sun rises at about 4:30am here.  I was woken up at 4:45 the next morning.  I was really mad! lol

August 6th

Woke up way too early. Tried sleeping with a shirt covering my eyes but still ended up with a headache. I gave up on sleep at about 5:50am.  I listened to music for a bit then figured out the shower and ate breakfast.  I had gone to the 7/11 the night before and got pre-made meals and juice.  I left for the train station at 8:40 to catch an 8:56am train. I gave myself plenty of time to find the station, as I hadn’t been there before. It’s literally about 2 streets over from me.

Got to the culture centre 30 minutes before the workshops started and just sat around. Had a conversation with a random lady at the centre and it turns out she’s from my part of town lol.  We laughed about it for a bit.   People are really nice here.  I’m enjoying it, despite the annoyances. I need curtains!!!   Class went right to 4pm today. There was a lot of info thrown at us. 

After classes finished some of us went back to Kojima to get cell phones and internet. I got my internet application done and now I just need to set up a time for them to come set it all up for me.  I get unlimited internet access for about $53/month.  Unlimited downloads and everything.  Way better than what I had in Canada.  I have a fibre optics connection. apparently it’s good! lol

I got a cell phone today…well I have to pick it up tomorrow, but the contract is ready. I get unlimited e-mail through ezweb, and 144 minutes of calling time a month. The left over minutes from each month carry over to the next. I also get internet access but I pay by the amount of data I use…so I’ll only be using for GPS when I get lost. lol

The phone is free with a 2 year contract and the plan was less than $30 a month.  The phone is also bilingual, Japanese and English. I’m happy!

Tonight is the start of the 3 day festival in Taira.  There was dancing in the streets this evening and lots of booths set up along the streets. People were dressed up in festival attire and the streets are all decorated. It is really beautiful! I’ll try to post some pictures of the festival.  Tomorrow there will be fireworks in Onahama. I’m hoping to get to go to the beach party across the water from where the fireworks will be.  I’m supposed to call someone about it tomorrow morning.


Well that’s it for me. I’m going to try to go to bed early so I can get 7 hours of sleep before I get woken up by the sun at 4:45am. gggrrrrr. lol

I have to set my bed up every night and put it away every morning. I have a pull out couch in the living room…which is actually what we call a futon couch in Canada.  The bar in the middle of it is annoying, so I put the futon on top of it and it helps a bit. I’m going to get a thicker futon next month and it will be even better then.

off to bed for me!  Have a good day everyone!


frellnik: (Default)


Just a quick update. I'm in Fukushima city (in Fukushima Prefecture) for the Fukushima orientation. I'm in a hotel with internet access but my brain took a vacation so I didn't bring my laptop. So I'm using the computer in the hotel lobby lol.

I've learned a few things in the past few days....

There are 1200 foreigners in Iwaki city but 80% of them are white and black people really stand out!  We are the minority. 


Iwaki City is made up of a bunch of little towns.  My little town is called Izumi and I am the ONLY JET in Izumi. 

Elementary school JETs do not team teach like the Junior and High school JETs. We are the teachers. The Japanese English teachers in Elementary school don't really know English, so they follow our lead. I am the teacher!  um....ok.

DO NOT squish or crush the GIANT WASPS (the size of your thumb!!). Their bodies release a pheramone that calls all the other wasps in the area.  (Holy shit!)

The spiders here can get as big as the palm of your hand! they are disgustingly huge! but thankfully they aren't poisonous.  Also thankfully, I haven't seen any in Izumi yet.

Izumi is the boonies!  There is 1 bus. There are plantations all along the main roads...beautiful mountains all over...It's very hilly.  There are no street lights! 

The sun comes up at 4:30am!! and it has set by 7pm. all year long!  I need curtains!!!!  my apartment faces east and the sun wakes me up every morning between 4:30 and 5. lol  I've found curtains I am going to buy next week.  I have to buy two sets of curtains because my window (balcony door) is too wide for one set.  

let's see, what else....  I wrote an entry every night for the past few nights and saved it to my computer at my I'll post those when I get internet at my apartment...which won't be for at least another week or two.  I have to wait for someone to be available to set everything up at my apartment since Kasey aparently didn't go through the same place as me.  I am going to have awesome internet though!  Unlimited access and unlimited downloads with a fibre optics connection (200 kbits/second) for roughly $56 a month!  So that will be good.

I think that's about it. i don't want to say too much about the past week because I took the time to sit and type it all out so I'll just post it all when my internet is all set up.

I got my cell phone and it has it's own e-mail.
all e-mails go straight to my phone and it's free.  So if you want to send me a message go ahead. I won't answer if I'm at work, but if I'm home I'll answer pretty quickly.



frellnik: (Default)

December 2016



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