Friday, April 30, 2004

My Phone

I just found a nice english page for my phone here.

Done with training

I finished training on Wednesday. It was kind of a joke. We covered the basics of what to do, but mostly of what not to do. At on the last day, we all had to make a lesson, and teach it to the rest of the ALT's while being taped. The pig guy's was terrible. He didn't prepare anything at all, and he had to go talk with the trainer afterwards about his lack of planning, and creativity. It was really bad. I hope I don't have to see him again.

Thursday, I went with Ai to an electronics shop in Shinjuyku to get a phone. We thought I would have to get it under her name at first, but since I had a credit card, I didn't need any other forms of identification as long as I had the bill directly withdrawn from my account. So I got a phone with a one mega-pixel digital camera built in.

I had to send it via email from my phone so it's very compressed. One I get a memory card for my phone, then I will have full quality pics to upload.

Monday, April 26, 2004


I started my first day of training today with Interac. It's quite an international group. There are three Aussies, four Americans, and a British-South African and a guy from Kazakhstan, and our trainer is Canadian. The training in the morning was kind of boring for me because I have had 6 classes on teaching english already, and one of the american guys was driving me nuts. I guess he is half Japanese, but he doesn't look like it at all. Instead, the sounds me makes and his facial expressions look a bit like a pig.

Tomorrow I have my second day of training, and I will go out to Yokohama to meet the head of the office I will work for, and to meet the school board that I will work for.

Friday, April 23, 2004

My first full day

I'm home!

I spent this first full day trying to sleep in, but I woke up at 6, and was unable to get back to sleep. I made french toast for breakfast this morning, and went with Ai to school. She only had one class today, so I explored a little and did a little shopping for cell phones. I think it's between the one with bluetooth, and the one with a 2 mega-pixel digital camera.

After Ai's class, I met her friend Emily, who is Japanese-Russian and grew up in Japan and England. Afterwards Ai and I went to explore places for me to live. We went to one real-estate agency to talk to them, but we were both so confused about how it works, that we spent most of the time in the office trying to translate what the agent said, until we gave up, and went to talk about it over coffee. I think that I will try to have my company find me a place in the area that I want to live. I just hope they will do it. The real-estate agent says that it is best for the company to sign the contract themselves, and the company says that it is best for me to sing the contract myself. So begins my apartment hunt...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Japan time warp

I forgot what it's like hurtling through the air in an aluminum tube packed with 350 people at 550 miles per hour. Especially going west. On the flight east, you leave Tokyo in the mid afternoon, say 5pm, and after an eight hour flight, you land in Seattle at 9 am in the same day you left. On the trip to Japan, like the flight I'm on now, You arrive a day and a few hours after you leave. Even though through this time warp, in my case from 2:20 to 4:40 the next day, adds up to 26 hours and 20 minutes, there is no night for the entire trip. In real time, without thinking about time zones and stuff, I will have been exposed to about 22 hours of daylight. This makes it kind of hard to sleep.

The last time I went to Japan, I had a lot of trouble getting my internal clock fixed on Tokyo time after I got there. I probably took a week for my body to figure out the time warp. When I returned back to Washington, I expected that I would have the same trouble, but the adjustment that time was remarkably quick.

On the flight East to the West, (Why do they call Asia the east if its in the west? (damn Europeans...)) there is a night time between. On the plane, they serve you dinner a couple hours into the flight, it gets dark for a couple hours, and then they serve you breakfast a little before you land. On the way to Japan, they do the same thing, trying to make a simulated night by serving dinner, at the beginning of the flight, then breakfast at the end of the flight. Our bodies aren't fooled by it. You look out the window and it's still day time. It's going to be a long day. That's the Japan time warp.

Next time I should fly first class. The have power up there. For my laptop.

Weather Report for the North Pacific: Cloudy

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Finally, I got a ticket!

They sent me an email the this last night saying that the immigration office was taking a little longer with visa applications this month, so I wont be able to get a visa on time, but there is a way to get a visa in Japan.

So a woke up at 8am this morning to wait for some travel agencies to open so I could buy a ticket. After calling my list, I found 3 agencies that all had tickets for around $615 round trip including all taxes and everything. So I found one that was convenient, and booked a direct flight from Seattle to Narita on NorthWest Airlines leaving next Wendesday!

I decided to go a few days early so I could stay with Ai for a few days before I started training. I'm so excited. I haven't seen here since last summer. Waaaaaaaaaay too long. I have 3 days of training starting a week from Monday which is supposed to teach me how to teach (luckly, I have my TESOL classes or I'd be lost) and then a week off for Golden Week before I start teaching on May 6th.

It's about time it all started coming together.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

We'd need you here by next Friday

"Sure, I can do that" How the hell am I going to do that? Eh, I don't care. I will try.

I called last night, just after 5pm Japan time, 1am my time, and this time I didn't have to talk to a Japanese secretary. This time it was another recruiter. This was refreshing for a change. He told me the situation that there were no more positions in Western Tokyo. This closest there was is in Yokosuka. Yokosuka is about 1:45 from Shinjuku, but I won't be living there. I refuse actually. I hope to live somewhere just north of Yokohama, that will cut the travel time for Ai and I to see each other. It's not what I wanted, but it's the best I think I will be able to get. I asked about my visa, and it seems that they can check up on it, and possibly help it along. That is the only worry I have. If I am going to be there next friday, that means that I will be leaving next Thursday morning, which means that I have to have my visa paperwork by next tuesday at the latest. It seems a little unlikely, but I will see if my recruiter contacts me, and if not, I think I will talk to this other guy.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

"Thanks for the email, I'll give you a call tomorrow morning Japan time"

I've been pretty patient and relaxed about getting the details of my job straightened out since most of the necessary things that needed to be done to get the visa paperwork submitted depended on my graduation.

On friday I received two emails, one offering a position in Zushi, southern Kanagawa and a long way from where I want to live, and then a second email saying that Zushi was a mistake, and offering placement in Yokosuka, not far from Zushi.

This really irritated me. More than the other things for some reason. This isn't the first time they have tried to get me to take a position in Kanagawa, but last time they said that there was a position in Western Tokyo, about as close as I hope to get to where I want to live, and that it would be perfect for me since they want someone that can speak some Japanese.

I have called this guy three times in the last 2 weeks, and every time he says that he will call me back, but doesn't. When I email, he rarely responds in a timely manner.

My original plan was to be in Japan at the beginning of April, but my realistic plan was April 15th. Doesn't seem very realistic now does it...

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Still not much

The recruiter for my company, the only contact I have with them so far is proving to be quite unreliable. It's driving me crazy, and Ai seems to be having an even harder time. I don't have much of a problem with not having exact plans, but she has to have everything planned out plenty of time in advance. When people ask me when I'm leaving, I just say "ah, about a week or two". But she wants an exact date so she can plan ahead.

I called the recruiter last week after not hearing from him for a while after I sent in all my paperwork, but he was in a meeting. He sent me an email an hour later though that said, "Thanks for the email" and that he'd call me the next day. He didn't. This Tuesday night I called him again, and again I got an email saying "thanks for the email"... I don't know why he keeps thanking me for emails whenever I call. This time he apologized for not calling me back; he'd been on vacation. He also promised to call me back last night. He didn't. This is getting pretty frustrating since I don't know for sure where I will be working, or when they want me there, or when I will get the Certificate of eligibility to get my visa. If he doesn't call me early this afternoon, I will call again tonight. Agrh!