Tokyo Orientation Day Two

Day two was another jam-packed day. Unfortunately jet lag hit me pretty hard throughout the day. At least there were some interesting sessions! I especially enjoyed the session on what an average day at school would look like. For example, a former JET talked about how to navigate your relationships with not only your students, but also teachers. Also, there was a session on phonetics activities in the grade specific workshop. It made me remember that English can be so strange sometimes. 

As a final thought on orientation, I think one of the things that stood out to me the most was the diversity. For example, I expected a large amount of American speakers but most were from the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Jamaica. Also, I got to meet incoming ALTs whom were from Singapore, the Philippines, and China. I hope I’ll have the same opportunity to meet many different people while I am in Hita. 

After waiting literally 30 minutes for the elevator I went out with some new friends to Akihabara, the center of electronics and anime. We started out in a building with different kinds of anime goods where I decided to buy a plushie from one of my favorite shows. 

Next, Kathryn (a fellow JET) and I went to the Love Live cafe in the Sega arcade building. The week before we had to enter into a lottery system to get a reservation and we won! After we checked in at the front, we had to wait 10 minutes before entering because you are only allowed a certain amount of time in the cafe. After the servers opened the doors, we headed towards our designated tables. The servers then explained the rules of the cafe, but it was hard to understand since it was in fast Japanese. Thankfully we read the rules beforehand through Google translate. I think the waitress could tell we couldn’t understand because she turned to us at the end and gave us a thumbs up with an apologetic look. Kathryn and I just smiled and nodded. I will probably be doing a lot of that in Japan. 

There were a lot of fun times! First, there were so many guys there. I knew that the Love Live fan base was primarily men, but it was interesting to see this play out in cafe attendance. Other than Kathryn and I, there were only two other women. Initially, I felt uncomfortable but then I noticed the guys getting together and showing off their merchandise. It was cool to see the cafe as this hub for fans to geek out together!

Next is the coaster story. When you order an item the staff give you a random free coaster. Some customers ordered multiple drinks and desserts to try to get their favorite character. With our orders, Kathryn got Hanamaru (her favorite character) and I got Ruby. Ruby is not my favorite, but she is still super cute! At one point, a guy approached me asking if we could trade coasters. I asked if he had one of Kanan, who is my favorite character from the show. Afterwards, he walked away without saying a word. I felt really bad because I thought he took that as a no. A few minutes later, he started heading in the direction of our table. I was about to see if he wanted to trade when he placed a Kanan coaster on our table!! I couldn’t speak. I barely muttered a thank you in Japanese as I handed him my Ruby coaster. That guy was a wizard. 

After finishing our fruity drinks and parfaits, I headed back to the hotel and prepared for my trip to my new home. 

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Tokyo Orientation Day One

After being in Japan for only 16 hours, day one of orientation began. Although I woke up many times during the night due to jet lag, I was excited to finally begin my new job. 

The day started with general presentations such as information about our job and expectations. They emphasized strict marijuana laws a lot. Apparently, if someone tries to send you some, even without your knowledge, you’ll face a long incarceration period. Your supervisor’s salary could even be cut in half if you are caught with marijuana! To my Colorado family, please no surprise presents. 

Another interesting presentation was on upcoming changes to English education in Japan in 2021. In order to be more competitive, Japan has decided to expand English education in elementary school.  Currently, classes are more like fun activities to make English fun and encourage them to seriously pursue it in their future classes. However, this change will be revamping that system. In addition, English will be principally spoken in English classes for junior high school students. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this change. I’m not very familiar with the debate, but I’ll do more research and write about it in a future blog post.

After lunch, we went into our grade specific workshops. The elementary school sessions I attended were so much fun. I especially loved the portion where presenters talked about how to use pictures books in lessons. 

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After a long wait at the elevator (stairs were closed), I decided to explore Shinjuku. At first I didn’t have a goal in mind, but then I spotted a Godzilla sign on one of the buildings. I then remembered that Shinjuku had constructed a Godzilla statue in the city two years ago. I pulled out my phone and typed in my destination. 

After walking for awhile I finally hit the main city area of Shinjuku. Even on a weeknight everything was bustling. Students were finishing cram school, office workers were heading home for the night, and people were going out for some fun. I then found the Godzilla statue. It was constructed to look like it was peeking out from one of the buildings. I couldn’t get any good pictures due to the awkward angle, but it was still a cool site to see. 

I decided to explore the area more and came across an arcade. If you know me, you’ll know that I am a huge anime fan. Thankfully I didn’t spend too much money because the workers helped me out. I was even able to use some Japanese! With prizes in tow, I decided to head back to the hotel. 

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Heading to Japan

Before heading out to Japan, the Nashville Consulate held a Pre-Departure Orientation where alumni of the program went over information such as budgeting, expectations, and a English teaching workshop. Afterwards, we went down to the lobby for a goodbye reception. There was a lot of good food, including sushi! I mingled around and met a JET alumnus who was part of the first year of the program in 1987. This year is the 30th anniversary of the program! When I was talking to him, I could tell how much the program had impacted his life. He had so many wonderful memories of his coworkers and the people in his community. It made me very excited to start my own JET adventure.

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Nashville Consulate JETs (photo courtesy of Tye Ebel, Nashville Consulate JET Coordinator)

The next day, our group headed off on our day of traveling. First, we caught a flight from Nashville to Dallas. Very smooth flight except for a funny ordeal. Before leaving I bought a new water bottle. The type with a straw inside and then there is a rubber top that you can open with a switch. When I tried to get a drink during the flight, a long stream of water shot out of the top! It even flew into the seats behind me. At first, I was so confused because I was still half asleep from a short nap. Once I realized I was getting soaked, I started laughing hysterically. Our final flight was then from Dallas to Tokyo (Narita Airport). The very LONG one. Thankfully, most of the flight was smooth except for some bumps. Colorado and Alaska were especially bumpy with that crazy summer turbulence. After 13 hours, I could finally see Japan in the distance.  Once we landed in Tokyo I realized that this was really happening. After months of waiting, I was finally back in Japan.

20294476_10101149214052803_6895575121626970768_nNashville JETs heading off to Dallas (photo courtesy of Tye Ebel, Nashville Consulate JET Coordinator) 
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FAQ

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will record my travels in Japan. I thought it would be helpful to have a “frequently asked questions” as my first blog post.

1)  Who am I?

My name is Peyton Goodman. I recently graduated from Centre College with a major in International Studies with a concentration in Comparative Studies. I mostly focused on East and Southeast Asian affairs. Now, I am ready to take on the world!

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2) Have you been to Japan before? 

Yes! During my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Yamaguchi where I attended Yamaguchi Prefectural University. I had such a wonderful experience and made many wonderful friends. I am so thankful and excited to be able to return to Japan.

3) What will you be doing in Japan? 

I will be working as an Assistant Language Teacher for the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. I will be teaching English to elementary and junior high school students.

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4) How long will you be in Japan? 

My contract lasts for one year, but I might try to stay an extra year!

5) Where will you be living? 

I will be living in Hita, a city located in Oita Prefecture in Kyushu. When I studied abroad in Japan, I only went to southern Japan a few times. I am looking forward to exploring new cities. I will be adding more details about my new home once I get there.

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That is it for now! Only a few more days until I leave for Japan. I can’t wait for all of the new adventures that await me!