WORK

Contrary to popular belief, I do work here in Japan! HAHA. I know most of what I post on social media is of my Tokyo escapades, but in reality, I spent 80% of my time at work! So I thought i'd spend some time sharing a few work related things recently...

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  • WORK: Last week I judged the Chiba Prefectural English Speech Contest, which was a big deal considering the winner will attend the Kanto Region contest! Myself, along with two Japanese teachers (principals and VPs) listened to 19 students give their self-written speeches. We had to choose the top 2 to advance. WOW. It was not easy. Each speech was 5 minutes, and I had to not only give them a score based on their composition, English level and delivery, but also write a comment for each. After all of it, they asked me to give a speech to all 40+ participants about how to improve! I left that day so exhausted. From the work of course, but also because I wore heels all day HAHA. I never thought judging anything would be a part of my job...and yet here I am. 
     
  • VENTING: One thing I WILL NEVER (I repeat, WILL NEVER) understand about Japanese schools is the "after PE situation" and by that I mean...(for example) the students have PE 3rd period. I have to teach them in 4th period. They rush into their classroom, still in their PE clothes with 2 minutes to spare before my class starts and they CHANGE RIGHT THERE IN THE CLASSROOM. All students. Boys and girls. Take off their PE clothes and change back into their uniforms. I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS!? Why can't PE end 5 minute earlier, giving the kids time to go to THE LOCKER ROOMS and change?? How hard is that? I just don't get it. 
     
  • CULTURE: As we all know, Thanksgiving in on Thursday, and many of my coworkers have been curiously asking me, "what exactly does turkey taste like?" and "why is black Friday black?" and "why is Thanksgiving on Thursday?" and a bunch of other questions I had no answer for HAHA. Living in a different country really makes you think about the holidays that are so normal to you back home...and yet so foreign here. 
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  • PERK: This week the 2nd year students and teachers are in Okinawa for a class trip, therefore the school schedule is a little less busy. The teachers in the English department always take advantage of this and head to a nearby golf course that offers a 1600yen lunch buffet that is amazing! It is always fun to be outside the office with my coworkers...and this place has an Ochazuke (rice+green tea) bar that is my absolute favorite! 
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  • COLLIDE: this past week, my worlds collided! My two coworkers, Takeda and Tamaoki, took 24 of our Ichikashi students to Torrance for the annual exchange trip...and this time around they met my family!! EEK!!! My brother picked them up and took them to target and then delamo, where they had lunch with everyone. I can't fully express how much this means to me...to have my Kashiwa family meet my family-family!! And the funniest thing about it all is that Takeda and Tamaoki have officially met my niece, Tayah, before I have..HAHA!! 

And that wraps up my random work post! It's already November 21st...and I'll be home in exactly a month for the holidays YAY!!!! 

1998

Today, my coworker, Alison, introduced me to HUJI...it's this app that takes photos that look like they came straight out of a FUJI film camera (get it? HUJI lol) and needless to say, I'm obsessed. We cruised around school today during 4th period and got some shots.

HUJI's slogan is literally, "Just like the year 1998" ...brilliant.

The road behind school. 

The road behind school. 

The 中庭 (center garden) 

The 中庭 (center garden) 

One of the smaller classrooms I teach in. 

One of the smaller classrooms I teach in. 

Strollin to the vending machines. 

Strollin to the vending machines. 

Bikes on Bikes on Bikes. 

Bikes on Bikes on Bikes. 

Shoe lockers for the 3rd year students. 

Shoe lockers for the 3rd year students. 

A view of the ground (soccer field). 

A view of the ground (soccer field). 

A shot snapped by one of my students, Juna. 

A shot snapped by one of my students, Juna. 

The teacher in charge of the 生花 (flower arranging) club at school always leaves beautiful flowers in the corners of the stair landings.

The teacher in charge of the 生花 (flower arranging) club at school always leaves beautiful flowers in the corners of the stair landings.

GOOD THINGS

A few good things I've been loving recently...

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1. RAMEN
On Friday I went to eat ramen for dinner with my coworker, at 9pm. The I went home, went to sleep, woke up...and ate ramen for lunch on Saturday. HAHAH ridiculous. But my excuse is simple; every bowl of ramen in Japan is a good bowl of ramen. So I must take advantage of this and try them all. The one of the left is a ramen shop a 10 minute walk from my house. GARLICY AND AMAZING. The one on the right is at Kashiwa station and had the best SPICY NEGI (scallions) on top. 

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2. SATURDAY MORNINGS
As a full-time working person, I can now fully appreciate Saturday morning. There is something so wonderful about staying in your PJs all morning, drinking coffee slowly, getting laundry done, running a few errands, and enjoying the relaxed pace. #adultlife. For me here in Japan, I am blessed to live 10 steps from a 7-11 which is a magical land where I can get good-black coffee, withdraw money from the bank, buy trash bags, pay my bills, and chat with the workers who know me by now. Saturday mornings are the best.

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3. THE PERFECT FACE WASH
I have been in search for some good MADE IN JAPAN cosmetics recently, and stumbled upon the holy grail of face wash...SUISAI beauty clear powder!! It comes in these tiny little pods...seriously so small...that you pour out and mix with water to make the worlds best face wash. glory hallelujah. They somehow magically clean my face perfectly without leaving it dry (which I hate!). On top of that, they are cheap, are in powder form so easy to travel with, and are just cute! 

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4. LEARNING FROM MY STUDENTS
As a teacher, my job is to teach. But let's be real, 80% of the time, I am the one being taught. Recently, I've have the opportunity to sit down with one of my students who is a Muslim girl from Egypt. We've been discussing the Bible and the Quran, the stories in both and what we believe to be true. It's so rad to share with her, and I feel God speaking so much to me in opportunities I get to work at a school, with eager and curious students. 

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5. POCKETS OF BEAUTY
I'm at school 7:30am - 5:00pm, which means I spend most of my time indoors. But every so often, I try to sneak outside to get a breath of fresh air, see the sunset, and take in the beauty of this place. Although I'm in Tokyo a lot on weekend, the truth is, the school I work at (Ichikashi) is pretty much in the country side. It's quiet out here...the sun setting straight over the river with no buildings blocking it. That's some magic.