(Originally written: August 20, 2013)
Today was a very, very good day.
It definitely started off in a memorable way – with the biggest, longest, loudest, brightest, most active thunderstorm I’ve ever seen! Giant roars of thunder woke me up shortly after 3am. To use another ALT’s simile, the sky lit up like a strobe light for over an hour and a half! One flash of lightning was so bright that it actually hurt my eyes, even though I wasn’t looking anywhere near a window, and the clap of thunder that happened instantaneously was so loud that it shook my bed. Wowww. Unreal.
I couldn’t fall asleep again until close to 5am, unfortunately, so I reset my alarm from 6:30am to 7:30am.
I got up, had a nice breakfast, showered, and watched some TV before my supervisor picked me up at 9:30am. Together, we went to my elementary school and met the principal. I found out that, the one time a month I visit there, I will be teaching Grades 1-4. So cute! I am really excited. It seems like a great school! There were quite a few teachers actually there, so I gave my self-introduction speech (in Japanese!) in front of everyone in the Teacher’s Room. Yay, elementary school!
Then it was back to my apartment for a quick kitchen cleaning and lunch before my supervisor picked me up again at 12:45pm to bring me to my junior high school. I met two of my JTEs (Japanese Teachers of English) and then spent an hour working with one of my speech contest students. She is super sweet and very hard-working – I think she will do very well! We got a lot done in the hour. I worked with her mostly on my own, but my JTE came and went. When we finished, the three of us sat and chatted for a while in a mixture of English and Japanese until my supervisor arrived to bring me back to my apartment. I was home again by 3pm and told that, not only did I have the rest of the day off, but tomorrow, too! I go back to my junior high school on Thursday to do more work with my speech contest kids. I’m very excited. :)
It should be noted that today was payday (yay!!!). Unfortunately, in Japan, people only tend to get paid once a month instead of biweekly like we do back home, so I’m learning to appreciate payday even more than I already did! I withdrew some money from the ATM and then went to the supermarket to buy some groceries. At the supermarket, I had one of my favourite moments in Japan so far. I was in the snacks aisle (surprise!) when a little boy walked passed me towards his siblings, obviously staring at me. I said, “Hello!” and he replied back, “Hello!”, and continued to stare. I made my way up the aisle towards the chips and stood staring at all of the different flavours, wondering if I would be brave enough to try a Japanese flavour or stick with Sour Cream and Onion (which they do have!!!! Life made). Next thing I know, the boy has wandered his way over to me and is standing approximately 5 feet away, just staring at me. I turned to him and asked, in Japanese, “Which one of these chips is delicious?” He said “This one,” and pointed to a bag. I picked up the bag, read out the name of it, thanked him in Japanese, then said goodbye. The boy continued to stare at me as I walked away. Day. Made.
On a similar note, I must be hilarious to watch grocery shop. It literally took me an hour and a half today – I am soooo slow, and I’m constantly checking kanji/vocabulary on my phone. I hope I provide my fellow (Japanese) shoppers with at least a little bit of entertainment!
In other news, I made grilled asparagus in my microwave tonight. Yes, you read that correctly – in my microwave. Apparently it has an oven element in it. I put a metal pan and tinfoil in my microwave and it didn’t explode/catch on fire! Who knew! (I definitely have to be super careful and make sure that I press the “Oven” button and not the “Range” button!)
I just finished re-watching The Legend of Korra. What an amazing series! I’m going to put on an Arashi concert now and do the dishes. Tomorrow, on my day off (again), I go hunting for supplies for an Ugly Stick – but more to come on that later! Ja ne!