Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Catching Up

Wow, so five weeks have gone by since I've last updated my eventful life! Thing have been good and things have been bad too. I can't really say they've been bad, but they've been challenging to say the least. First and foremost I got a new job! I didn't just get a new job, but I got an outstanding job with a fantabulous salary and staff! The staff are kind and understanding and I've received good training and support so far. I think I can be a good teacher and hopefully I can get better at teaching kids too! I am really happy about my job and I really enjoy it, especially in trying to be better. 

The challenging part right now is finding a new apartment and affording it! Apparently in Japan, when you rent an apartment it does NOT come with appliances! Also there are all these nifty fees like "fire", "life emergency", "cleaning the apartment for the next person moving in", "the thank you for letting me live in your apartment fee", and the "key money". I am sure I'm forgetting something, but you get the idea. I can only hope my company finds me an apartment that has reasonable "fees" and "deposits" so I won't be paying them half my salary for the next year! 

Otherwise in five weeks I've been to Kyoto another 3 times, I've seen part of Umeda, I've revisited sights in Nara and Osaka. In addition, I learned a lot about Japanese relationships and how there is no such thing as girls and guys being friends. If you go to dinner with a guy he will expect sex. I had two other friends who "claimed" to be concerned for me and wanted to help me, but in the end I questioned their sincerity due to their behavior. I try not to judge people, but unfortunately there are a few people in particular I've decided are not good for me and I've had to move on. 

Anyway, I am not so good today, so I will have to write more later. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Week Three

So I think most people expect me to say my life in Japan is glamorous or even completely perfect, but it's not. Even at home in America I can never understand why my life is always "fucked up" even though I work very hard to be somebody and to do something amazing with my life. I never like to think I am anyone special, but being in Japan has sort of made me realize perhaps I am. 

I got here and everything worked out well as I posted previously, but after three days I lost my job. The company who fired me, Nova made me feel like I am not cut out to be a teacher or perhaps I am mentally slow since I could not keep up with their training program. However, all of this was proven wrong when I went to the General Union yesterday to get help in fighting what you they have done to me. The representative at the Union asked me if I was a qualified teacher. I didn't know how to answer except that I had experience teaching adults and also I have a TEFL certificate. When I described the problems with my lessons during the training period, I said how I told the trainer that Nova's teaching materials are "different" from how I was taught to teach and therefore I needed more time to adapt to their methods. The representative sort of laughed and said that I had inadvertently insulted their curriculum and that is why they fired me. So I guess even when I intend to be humble and conform to what I need to do it's impossible. Apparently my higher standards of doing things and perhaps even my intelligence if I may go so far outshines the mediocre situations that I try to adapt to just to get on in life. 

However, my present situation is not without merit. I think this experience has taught me to stand up for myself . I can say I am mildly angry, but more so I am just fed up with people walking all over me from employers to boyfriends. I will not accept any sort of treatment anymore that is less than I deserve! 

Furthermore, I can continue to say I love my life in Japan. I am much more motivated here for some reason. I love getting on a train every day. I love all the little things too like the hot towels you get to wipe your hands before a meal, how tax is already included in everything! and also how the toilet sprays my butt, the sinks have motion sensored soap dispensers and faucets, and the hand dryer has a cool electric blue light in it! Haha I also like the peace and sense of contentment I feel when I go to a temple or shrine and hear the monk chanting. The ability to have some place beautiful to pray at is lovely too.

There are a few things I don't like, but they're minor. I don't get why the toilet talks to me when I sit down (mostly in public places) it's not like it talks to me in English! And I don't need the "sound effects" that start either, as I don't care if anyone else hears what I am doing in there! It's a bathroom for a reason! Japanese women don't like to be "heard" doing neither number one or two.....I don't like the damn motor bikes that drive on the sidewalk near my house, and I think I rather don't like the post system here. I have had something from my bank trying to be delivered all week, but they want to actually be able to deliver it to me in person and I am never home for that. I would just like to pick it up and be done with it! And today my gas bill, which is like a store receipt was slipped under my door? What the hell do I do with that and where do I go to pay it? Whatever though, I will ask someone and figure it out haha Oh and last but not least, I can't stand what I call "squatters" which are trench toilets in the bathrooms at train stations and other public places. The department stores thankfully have the nice ones that have warmed toilet seats and spray your butt!

I probably should get my butt dressed and get out of this apartment for a while! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Living My Life

I've been a bit behind because honestly I haven't felt like writing.......However, I forgot to put down a few things I would like to put here. First is that I am so delighted to see vending machines every half a kilometer with some many yummy drinks! Second is how much I am like a kid because I get to ride a train every day! I really look forward to my train ride haha! There are many little things that I appreciate a lot, which makes life so enjoyable here.

The other night I found myself doing something that I rarely do and that is eating food I am not familiar with. I was pretty sure I was going to be eating some kind of fish, so I didn't ask questions, just ate it and pretended that I couldn't decide what it was! I knew I was eating maguro sashimi (raw tuna) but the tempura I didn't know what it was and later learned I ate mussels! Gah gag! 

Yesterday I went to Kyoto for a trip to see some friends. I am constantly surprised at people's generosity here! My friend there has offered to help me find a job and even give me a place to stay if I paint some pictures for him for his guest house. It was an interesting day to be sure and I even got lost on the trains haha no surprise there! I really better get more sleep tonight so I can start thinking straight!

As for today, I met with Michi's parents. They are the kindest people on the planet. I met them at Nanba, another place I got lost at the other day. Just when I got to the station and was looking for the Kintetsu exit there they were right before me! I always feel so happy and at peace when I see them. I suppose I feel safe with them too. We had lots of coffee and food, which always seems to be the way of things! We went to see dolls at Takashimaya Department store for hina matsuri (Girl's Day Festival) They were very beautiful and also expensive. Anyways, I enjoyed it very much as I felt very inspired by the art in general on that floor. I also went to Aoyama, which is a popular coffee chain here in Japan. It was pretty good, but if there are two things I would have to say are expensive here it's tea, coffee, and the train fairs! 

I am sure I am forgetting something, but this is it for now....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Livin' da Life!

Today is day three and I am damn tired! I'd like one day to just go bathe somewhere perhaps......However, it's been great! Michi's parents helped me haul my luggage from the guest house to my apartment, which was incredibly exhausting and hard work, especially for them! Spent the day doing that and then the gas man came to my place and after we had to go house shopping! It was so much fun and so awesome how his parents have sort of taken responsibility for me in a way suggesting what I "should have" for my place and all! They have been very kind and generous indeed. I am forever greatful to them to be sure.

Anyway, I've forgotten to mention some of my thoughts and observations along the way during my  recent adventures. Honestly, everything here is so normal for me despite not understanding most of what people say and only being able to read certain things. I often even forget I am the only foreigner and everyone else around is essentially the same by race and nationality. Then it comes to my attention and I realize there are people staring at me, looking at the white girl with big round eyes! I never care though. I also feel very "free" here, comfortable, and at peace. I could be happy living here forever, but I don't find myself "being" Japanese anymore, I am just Mel and that's it. Perhaps some of it will rub off  and I will become more like them than I think, we'll see. Another thing is my ability to make friends, I don't really know what I do, but it seems people are easily drawn to me and I already made new Korean friends of all people! In addition, now that I am here and "free" it seems the dating population has increased by 100! However, so far there is no one who has come forward nor has there been anyone exceptional either. I am not so worried about it right now, but it is interesting none the less!

I am sure I am forgetting something, but I am quite tired and have many more emails and what not to finish. Until next time....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The New Adventure Begins!

I am finally in Japan! Honestly it seems so surreal and as if it was never going to happen or the time was never going to come.....However, the adventure did not begin without it's challenges. I felt myself being nervous and anxious about what was ahead of me in terms of moving my things (and Buddha knows I have too much!) and also getting around and knowing what I'm doing since I my Japanese is so poor! I let my mind think the worst things and put me in a state of panic, in which I told myself I could just turn around and come home if I wanted to. Alas, as my hero Osho always said, "The mind is the naysayer." So I got here and went through customs/immigration just swell and at last I was saved! Michi's dad met me at the airport after our long conversations of not understanding each other! In the end he was waiting for me at the train platform at the airport and like a trooper he helped me transport my 130 lbs of luggage onto a train that took one hour to get to my guest house! Once we found the guest house I literally unloaded, got a bit settled and we went for some dinner. Now I have to note here that I think Japanese young people are just as bad in their opinion of old people (although they won't say it out loud) since I have noticed many young people making fun of Michi's dad and even both his parents in general. I think most younger people would be embarrassed to be seen with them, but I am greatful and in their debt for their kindness and generosity and have sincerely enjoyed their company. Furthermore, the first day ended with a dinner with Michi's dad followed by a shower, and some computer time in the sitting room with my Korean mates. 

Today, Okaasama (Michi's mum) came with his dad and the three of us went to McDonald's! I haven't eaten that shit in 3 years and well I guess I broke that now! I was happy to have brekky though! After that we went through a trying time at Soft Bank to get m a cell phone! OMG, I felt sorry for the representative with my poor Japanese even with Michi's parents trying to explain as well! After that we went and had Katsu Kari (fried pork cutlet with curry sauce and rice) for lunch! It was sooooooooo good! Then we went to his parent's house, which was really nostalgic for me and odd that Michi had been home not so long ago. It was almost like a ghost had been there I guess. His dad had another present for me, which is a really pretty scarf! After that they were kind enough to show me where I will be working this week and after that we ended up at an Italian restaurant! All the food was very delicious and I am thankful to them for their treats and also because I might not have eaten three meals just because I have not had an appetite lately. They are really kind and I owe them much when the right payment will come along.

I would just like to end today's entry by saying that it has been sort of strange revisiting places I have already been here, especially without Michi. It all seems a shame that it's over between us because there were so many beautiful things we did together and it's gone. 私はばかやねん。。。I'm an idiot....

And last I am posting a picture of a shrine that is kitty corner from my guest house. This is the sort of thing you see everywhere, a Buddhist temple next to a Mobile gas station....and a random shrine on a corner....

Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Year

This year has not been bad at all. I faced some amazing challenges, but also accomplished a lot! I almost didn't finish school, someone broke my heart, and I've faced people who can't accept my dreams and accomplishments. However, I DID finish school! Four years of hard work I might add! I went to Canada, Arizona, and New York this year, landed a job in Japan and finished an EFL certificate too! I have the best, most amazing friends that exist on this planet and two students who I adore and love dearly. 

Usually I do a meditation to accept and also forget the negativity of the year, while putting into motion the positive things I hope for in the coming year. So here goes, someone broke my heart and it's a shame that what happened is that there was no place in his life for me. I wish he would have let me be, as it took him one year to ask me out, but I did not have the strength to say no to my feelings for him, even though I had been thinking it took him so long......I almost didn't finish school and I struggled to get a job in Japan, but nevertheless my determination and willingness to work hard persevered. As for the positive things, I will be working in Japan this new year and I hope to build the financial stability I have been working toward so I may live a comfortable life. I also hope for the happiness, peace, and health of everyone in the world and that we may see a transformation and the love of people may be more prevalent in our society. Last, but not least, I hope that he who has been looking for me will appear.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dreams Come True and Prayers Unanswered

Well this year has been a long hard road out of hell! I managed to finish school and graduate in May and I also recently just completed my EFL certificate as well! Most important my dream has come true and I will go work in Japan in January of 2013! Originally my plan was to already be working there this year, but I believe everything has worked out as it should. 

The road to my dreams has not been without struggles, as I ran out of money for school and almost did not graduate, I have been fighting for work all year, it took 3 months before anyone in Japan would hire me, and I have been working very hard every day since then including putting up with the horrid experience of retail work! 

Never let anyone tell you your dreams can't come true because they can! If you're willing to work hard, are motivated and willing to put in 200% effort than you can make anything happen! However, how silly was I to pray for love, and how silly was I to believe if I worked hard enough it would be mine! My dreams have come true, not without struggle, but my prayers remained unanswered.

May the sun god of Japan bless me in 2013!