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Thursday, August 14, 2008

My actual JOB

Okay, I talk about everything under the sun except the JOB I am actually paid for. So here goes.
I am on the JET programme. (Japan Exchange and Teaching) It:s a collaboration between CLAIR and 3 Japanese ministries and brings people from all over the world (41 countries this year) to serve in 3 roles. 1. CIR- Coordinator of International Resources, SEA- Sports Exchange Administrator and ALT- Assistant Language Teacher. I am an ALT.

School is actually on summer vacation. That doesn`t mean I don`t go to work. It just means I actually have nothing to do. I spend my time at the Board of Education (BOE) learning Japanese and reading about lesson planning. I hope to be fluent enough by the time school starts in a week and a half to introduce myself in Japanese to my kids. Finger crossed.

I have the Ichinohe schools. I think this is great for two reasons. Firstly my schools are in town so I can walk. Although the Junior High does seem to be a ways off, the Elementary is jus accross the street from the Library. I guess I can come over here every day after school if I want to. The second perk is that all my kids will be from Ichinohe, so unlike Alex and Dan I get to run into my kids on the road (running at the slowest pace ever) , in the supermarket, at the festivals, etc.

I have one other school that I go to on Mondays, ;pretty much every other week. It sounds like it`s far but I not worried. It`s not often.


When you are in a foreign country you are refered to as an alien. Here in Japan when you are from somewhere else you truly are an alien.

Japan is the most homogoneous society in the world. For those of you who don:t know that means that the people are as much alike as a people can be. Not only do they look alike, but they`re supposed to act alike and everything. So when you are not Japanese you stick out like a sore thumb. Dan, Tyler, Alex and I have been having a ball with out. I suppose Alex and I stick out more. Alex has red hair and I am black. Some people are cool about it. Kids are the most fun though. . Sometimes they just stop and their mouth drops open like `Oh my goodness! Mummy, what is that?` Some mornings when I run on Main Street everybody comes out to watch. Not sure if it`s because I am black or because I am the slowest runner in the world. Tuesday was the best. I ran past a group of high-schoolers and they tried to pretend they didn`t see. This one chick nearly broke her face when she tripped. All her friends died of laughter!!!

It`s cute now I suppose it will get annoying some day.

The world`s slowest runner

Drumroll please, and the title of the world`s slowest runner goes to... me!!!

I mean I really suck!!! Today I went up the mountain. It was of course a complete accident. I mean I live near the foot of a mountain, so it`s har d to do anything without a little incline but today I really WENT UP THE MOUNTAIN. To the part where the road actually starts to wind around and on one side all you have is trees and the next side tress in gully. Never again. I ran a new route. Actually since I have been here I haven`t run the same route twice. When I reached my office I was supposed to turn left in an effort to go to the fire station which is on the edge of town, but a silly little voice said keep straight and I did, past the back of the BOE and up the mountain. I know there should be at least two roads on the left to bring me back down, one will come out by ESSO and one by the train station, but I just couldn`t figure which road to pick so I stayed on the main and ran out of choices and ended up on the mountain. It occurred to me, looking over to my right that I would never find a road coming down through hthat gully so eventually I turned around.

I will go back out there and challenge the mountain again--- in May. Because I am not going to be ready for it before November, and nobody, not even Elvis Presley culd convince me to go up a mountain in the winter. And since Iwate winter is more forever than diamonds, I won`t risk it til May. Hold me to it peoples, Mountain in May. I may run back over that way though. The last left before the mountain is a sports centre and I would like to go over there and check it out.

Still I suppose the mountain was a good thing. I heard the town song from up there and it felt like a scene from Narnia, like the trees were singing. There was nothing up there other than a random shanty (Jah ras all over the world- lol) but people do live at the top of it. Rumour has it there`s an old lady who lives up there that comes down in the winter to live in the currently uninhabited house next door. Plus, I got in a 40 minute run, whoich would probably have taken 20 for normal people. This iis good because I didn:t run yesterday or day before and sinc e I`ll be going with Janine to Golden Temple tomorrow, running would mean being up at like 5. I have to meet here at the Library at 7 and it`s a 20 minute walk... But I plan to run every day next week because I know I will miss Friday and Saturday since I will be in Morioka and then hopefully at the Akita Fireworks festival.

Random note about fireworks. It amazes me the things you can do and not do in Japan. I don:t have my Alien Registration card yet so I can`t buy a cell phone. However, kids can go and set off fireworks every night in the pasture behind Gaijin (Foreigner) Row- the nickname for my street. Oh the irony!
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