First Day Nerves

First day nerves… more than when I was a student!

Well, September is here. That means I have officially been in Japan for one month! Today was the first day the students came to school, as they had been on summer break before this. Today marks the start of the kid’s second semester! This morning consisted of an assembly, or opening ceremony. Some kids were given awards for last semesters work (I assume, it was obviously all in Japanese so I don’t actually know what was going on), and me and another new teacher were introduced, which meant I had to give a short introduction of myself in Japanese. Translated, this is what I said: “Good morning (I said that in English actually, just because I am the English teacher and I felt I should). My name is Rachel. I am from Canada. I look forward to getting to know you all. Nice to meet you.” That was all I said. But memorizing that in a language you don’t speak is incredibly difficult. In Japanese you also use a lot of words to say not a lot, so there was more memorization that you may assume. Also, although I have been here for a month, my Japanese ability is about the same as before I came to Canada (read: virtually non-existent). Most of our Japanese lessons tell us to learn the alphabet first, before learning to speak and since Japanese uses 3 different types of writing styles (hiragana, katakana, and kanji – those weird symbols that come from Chinese), this has proved to be quite the challenge. I need to immediately learn to communicate basic things, which is the stage most people are at, those smart people who learned the alphabet before they came. I am not in that category. So I am stuck in this limbo of trying to learn to speak enough to get by but also trying to learn the writing system which has basically just left me baffled. Oh well. You win some you lose some.

Anyway, an interesting thing to note is how before the assembly began, everyone cleaned the school. Like, cleaned house. People were down on their hands and knees with wet cloths scrubbing floors. I had heard that this happened. My JTE and the Math teacher pointed out that although most people are forced to clean in Canada as punishment (like court ordered community service I think they were trying to say) these students were not in any trouble. This is just what happens here (and also relates to my earlier post about cleanliness).

This afternoon the students will take tests and there will be no lessons, so I start tomorrow! I have my self introduction lesson all planned out and I hope it goes well! I have included a picture of my family, my house, Buffy (obviously… There should be like, 10 slides dedicated to her, but alas, one only has so much time), as well as pictures of my favorite foods and what not. I tried to find a picture of my friends to include, but unfortunately most of our pictures are taken on weekends, and thus are of us doing absurd things which would be inappropriate to show to school children. Why did we never get that “family photo” we had talked about so often? So you guys are all left out of my slides for children. The price you pay for our shenanigans.
That’s all for now!

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