Monday, 8 February 2010

PostHeaderIcon Japan Forever

I can’t say I've had a lot of desire to write anything in my blog lately. It can be terribly tedious to talk about myself despite quite a few interesting things happening. I haven’t had much time or energy to complain about Japan recently either… maybe I’m just getting used to it. Also, it appears quite a lot of Kochi people have read a few entries of my ramblings. I met an English bloke who said he’d seen it before he came and compared it to Charlie Brooker. This pleased me but then I got paranoid about everyone analysing my blog whilst talking about how I was mental and bitter.

Anyone that does read this might be pleased to know that I have decided to stay here for another year. When I first came here I didn’t expect that I would stay anymore than two years at the most so I’ve even surprised myself. It’s strange that I will be a veteran JET at the age of 24, possibly the same age as the majority of the new people that will come this year. I feel a degree of embarrassment for staying so long even though there is no reason too if I am happy with it. I probably would have left last year if the circumstances were different but it suits my present and future plans to persevere through the harsh wilderness of Japan for a further twelve moons. It’s never an easy decision at this time of year and I usually stress myself into illness. This latest re-contracting was the most difficult and it has been in the back of my mind for months. I talked to a few people at the weekend that are staying and it’s amazing how easy it is to sign on for another year when you realise the reality of the alternative which is to go home with no plans or money. So I’ll hopefully be working on those things in the next year or so. Probably not though.

It is at this point that I would also mention my continued determination to improve my Japanese. Though I have said this too often in the last two years and have only barely got anywhere with it. In saying that, I passed the Japanese test that I sat in December. It’s still quite a basic level and the next two levels go up exponentially in terms of difficulty. People who are good at Japanese comment with derision at how simple a test it is but they’re arseholes and I’m great. Actually, I’m not really pleased with the mark I got so it doesn’t really feel like that much of an achievement at the moment. I might continue to stick it out or I might just give up altogether. The reason for my pessimism is that I never use my Japanese. The extent of my conversing during the week is planning lessons with elementary teachers. After that it is ordering food/beer and trying to decipherer what the hell the younger children are trying to tell me (it’s usually about fish or insects). Indeed, the re-contracting procedure this year showed me again how much my work can irritate me. I had to ask my boss about getting me a contract to sign… he didn’t know there was one. I told them I needed it by Friday and so they asked if I was staying or not. Whilst I was thinking for the Japanese to say I was going to wait till the end of the week to decide I got a few mutterings of “Bah he doesn’t understand what we’re saying” so I just replied “Yeah… I’m staying another year” and I got not a single glance of anything. I just said my “Sorry for leaving before you” and went home.

Some small issues with my town and work aside, I am quite happy to continue living here for another year. As the years have flown by on JET I’ve become less agitated and more accustomed to living here. I still want to travel to a few more countries this side of the globe and I’d like to have a fair bit saved up so I’ve got some options when I return home. Also, when I compare my life to those I graduated with then they aren’t exactly that far ahead or even enjoying themselves. Everyone hates their job or is losing it or doesn’t have one and yet they haven’t experienced living in a foreign country or doing any of the exciting stuff I’ve been doing for years. I don’t regret coming here in the slightest and each year still has something new to offer it. It’s great. Look how optimistic I am. Right… I’ll wrap this up and write a new post about stuff that Japan does that is stupid.


R said...

He returns!

It's true, you have done so much more than most people your age that I know. You could have easily went down the same mundane path as everyone else, but you've done something special.
I would be very much content to be in your shoes by the time I'm your age... but the grass is always greener, I s'pose.

Interesting comparison re Charlie Brooker. Well, you know you've got a sizeable audience these days, so you've got to keep updating now! : > WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

Jamie said...

I never thought I'd extend my teaching contract either. But after just a year, I decided I could press on. The first few months there were awful. But Japan grew on me. And sometimes I miss it. You will miss it too, when you go "home." Even the stupid parts. :)

Ahoy hoy said...

Thanks for the comments. I reckon I should at least update at least once a week since I'm such an internet phenomenom... phenomenum...phenomenon

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.