Tuesday, 2 October 2012

My Aiming for Greatness Obsession



I don’t know what it is, or when this began, but I have always wanted to be better than my peers. Not in the annoying jerk way, but more in the actually wanting to be good at something way.
I have always been a C grade student. In my GCSEs I some how managed to pick of at least of one of each grade in every subject. From an A in Science to an E in religious studies (I went to a Catholic school...)

Further Education

When I came out here I couldn’t help but feel as though I was wasting my time, as though I was just out here playing and skipping and enjoying all the little Japanese delights. And to be honest, I was. About 6 months into my stay here I began thinking about my return home and how I was going to find a Job. Sitting on my but staring at blogger for 5 hours a day (I have A LOT of free time at school) So I decided to put all that free time to better use.

Distance learning and me.

Distance learning isnt for everyone. However I really disliked attending lectures and for me work took priority. Id get notes from my house mates then write up assignments in my own time. Luckily I went to London Metropolitan who were too busy fussing over their rich and juicy international students to care about us lowly Londoners so I don’t think I was really missed. In short, I had already done distance learning.
However some people NEED the direction and motivation of a mentor, they need to be surrounded by people studying their modules so they can brain storm and get Ideas. I think this is great, but not something I need. So if you are like that distance learning will be tough.

It's bloody hard.

I think I have discovered that I don’t like learning (lol) or studying at least (Just look at my Japanese skills on my Google+ account! Terrible! Haha)
Its all about time management. Now I had plenty of time, and generally with 90% of what I do I can manage my time effectively. However studying is completely different ball game for me.

I had plenty of time, but I just didn’t know how to use it for studying. So what did I do to make it work? Well there was a ton of reading, so reading at school was easy as pie, but if I couldnt read at school for what ever reason, that reading wouldn’t get done. I had to allocate seriously my 2 hours a day. (personal goal)

I managed to get through it and handed in my first micro assignment in June. The next assignment was due in October, but I noticed something amiss. On the online form for my course everyone was abuzz about the assignment question, however I hadn’t even known it was out yet.

My only problem with distance learning

Snail mail. Why in this golden age of technology do you need to send me a giant A4 ring-binder filled with a ton of paper?? Said binder being the most important element?? Well needless to say this binder was misplaced (due to my own error to be fair) and with 6 weeks to go before my first major assignment I was feeling pretty much like a dog without a bone. There was no way I could consolidate my readings into an acceptable answer in three weeks, especially not it I have two jobs. This aside, I thought I was doing pretty well...

So I gritted my teeth and asked for an extension. One week IS NOT ENOUGH for such situations. So I had to pull out. (of the module, not the whole thing)

Blessing in disguise.

I am quite frustrated at myself for this, however modules will be changing slightly from next semester which means there will be more International Relations and International Market focus. But even still, I feel like I've really let myself down. On the bright side, I dont need to pay my next fee installment until May 2013.

Always look on the bright-side aye.

Friday, 28 September 2012

My JHS obsession

I LOVE teaching at Junior High school.

Maybe this is because I only teach at my JHS once a week, I don't know but despite the fact that it is my furthest school, I totally look forward to going there every week. Unlike my other schools they don't provide me with a lap top. No biggie though, I just bring in my netbook and portable wifi and do I as please.
7 out of JHS days have completely butchered schedules. Yes they have a set time table, yet this doesn't seem to apply for English, and they really don't seem to take advantage of the one day that I am there. Since we started back, I have taught a total of 4 JHS lessons.

Now when I say "Taught" I really REALLY use this term lightly. Some people hate JHS for the reasons I am about to outline below, but these are reasons why I love it.

- Club activities - Cooking and Craft is where I live after 2.30pm!
- The JTEs do everything, even prompt me as to when I should do what ever bit they have allocated me. (in Japanese though, so if I zone out I usually miss my cue)
- I don't have to plan any lessons. - speaks for itself, all the fun, none of the hassle.
- I only spend around 10 - 15mins of the class doing anything "English lesson" related. - This means i spend the other 30 - 35 mins of the class driving the kids crazy. Stealing their pens, hiding their pen cases, talking to them, poking them etc etc. At first I was kinda scared of these kids, most of them are the same size as me, and my town if pretty rough so my kids are borderline delinquents for the most part.
But surprisingly really enjoy the break from the boring English lesson they have with their Japanese Teacher of English, and continuously coax me on and help me to plot and plan new ways or annoying them. They are a strange bunch.

Opinions.

Probably the main thing I like a about JHS is the fact that these kids can express themselves. Beyond the "I like Hip!" they have some really interesting things to say, IN ENGLISH.
A lot of kids go to eikaiwa from Elementary school, like Yamaha music and English, or ECC and whatnot so they know a lot more than you think. Bump into one of these kids in the corridor at JHS and you'll be surprised the things they try to come out with.  Just last week I had a rather detailed conversation about flamenco dancing...
After giving these guys practical and honest answers to their "00英語で何て言う?”questions kids come bugging me in the teachers room to throw their one liners at me.
I'm still trying to figure out what the phrase "American Joooooke!!" means though...

Public Holiday obsession pt 2

So the other day (Sept 17) Was aged peoples day. This is where we say thank you to the old people for being old and doing all the things that old people did when they were young that led to our lives being awesome now.  (Yeah I could have said that in an easier way, sorry!)

So what did I do??
Well you know me, I like to be outside, I went back to Ibaraki!!

Hello Kamisu my old friend!

Aya, Tomoko and the gang invited to their home for a barbecue on the Sunday, so I met Aya the bus stop and we drove to their place next to choshi.
I ate a lot of meet. The weather was weird, although it was rather warm and sunny, it suddenly began to rain so we had to move the BBQ inside.
Now normally this wouldn't be weird but my friends husband owns a grave stone making factory (I think) so inside was in fact inside of the storage units where they keeps all the grave stones. Despite the eerie surroundings we had an awesome time!
so much meat!

And there was a rainbow!



 
After stuffing ourselves, Tomoko and I were only half way through our drinking competition so we opted that we all head to Karaoke. We went to Karaoke ban ban in Choshi, we had an amazing time. Naturally Riko was scared at first but she soon eased up and fell into stride with us.

 
Karaoke BanBan, the first I have seen of its kind. 
 
The night came to a close when Tomokos husband sang Mr Children's Hanabi, and changed the lyrics from "one more time, one more time!" (mo ikkai mo ikkai - も一回、も一回) to "one more drink, one more drink" (mo ippai, mo ippai! - も一杯、も一杯!)which didnt mean final drinks, but that what ever drink we had, we had to finish in one go. then order another and down that too. By the end of the song Tomoko was completely gone and we had no choice but to call it a night lol.
 
The next day they drove me home (To tokyo station) but we stopped of at Odaiba first, he hit up round 1, watched a performing monkey and window shopped. And had an all round wonderful day.
 
Its at times like these that I miss living in Kamisu :(

Keeping active obsession

So before coming to Japan, I had just enrolled in salsa classes, I was about 3 months in when I skipped off to Japan-land leaving this beautiful world of dance behind me.

I lived in a town where I had to drive, although some of my neighbours were require to ride a bike my one of my schools were a little ways off so a car was necessary.

A year later, I moved to Saitama and my first gear less A to B bike was purchased. Now, I can honestly say that I hadn't ridden a real bike (Im excluding the bikes you use at the gym) since I was about 15. Thus, this new biking lark that I had to get on with was a nightmare. I think in about 2 - 3 weeks I got those weight lifter callouses on my hands (and they're still there - how do I get rid of these!?)

Long Journeys

School #1 is a 10 min walk away, it was then and is now a 5 min bike ride (3mins if i magically wake up at 8am and have to arrive at school by 8.20...)

School #2 is a 35 minute walk away some how it was a 30 min bike ride (in the beginning) Now I can do it in 15, which sounds about right.

School #3 is a 20 minute bus ride away. I think I walked home from there once or twice deffo an hour or more. On my bike it used to take me 40 mins, now I can get there in 25 mins on a hard fast bike ride. But I arrive at school looking like a hot mess. Luckily my lessons usually get cancelled or moved anyway so its no biggie (JHS).

Who cares? Whats this got to do with Salsa??

Well nothing.
Anyway, I decided shortly after buying my bike that I really needed to get fit/increase my stamina/do SOMETHING so I decided to join a gym.
The closest gym I could find easily was megalos (メガロス)in soka, about a 30min bike ride from my home. They had it all, over six floors they have grammed in squash courts, tennis courts, swimming pool, weights rooms, two studios, Sauna, onsen type baths and massage areas not to mention an array of classes including Salsa, Zumba and Belly dancing not to mention God knows what else. However even though they had Salsa classes they were at 11am on a Tuesday morning. Yeah, don't think school would be OK to let me out for that...

Joining the Gym.

Was relatively painless I could fill out the form on line for the most part, but I would have to head down to sign papers and what now. I was 1 year into Japan by this time and I had mustered up enough Japanese to go through this process solo, as I said it was too had as I had did the bulk on line. There is no English application page, I just used google translate and stuck the links in there. The sales assistant couldn't speak a lick of English, so after a lot of guess work on my part I was finally able to sign up and get started out.

I joined another new starter and we went off with a buff looking personal trainer for our introduction. The young lady I was with and I were made to do a detailed weigh in. it measure BMI, height, weight, muscle strength and a number of other things. The young lady was visibly repulsed by the fact she had a higher body fat rating than me (Even though she was a twig in comparison) and that I was already my exact ideal weight for my height. Oh well to her.

With that out of the way, and knowing that I hadn't turned in to a heffa, I decided I didn't need to use the machine and went only to the classes.
My routing was -
Monday - Belly Dancing
Wednesday - Zumba 
Thursday - Swimming
Unluckily for me they were closed on Fridays so I couldn't plan my week exactly as I had wanted.

How much does it cost?

I think in total, to sign up I had to pay around 30,000yen. I had to pay for 3 months of membership as there has been a problem of people (salary men and OLs) who joining the gym only to quit a month later as as feel they cant fit the gym into their schedule. By making us pay up this much in the first place, they not only ensure they get our money, but that we actually think long and hard before we joining up.
Monthly my fee is 7000yen and I can do everything, I don't have to pay extra for classes or usage of the pool and what not. Major bonus. However, as far as I know, I think I can only use the gym in Soka. I had been  curious about whether I could visit others, nows a good time as any to ask.
There are cheaper plans depending on when you would like to go and what facilities you would want to use. I opted for evenings, weekends and pool.

Public Holiday obsession pt 1.

This is a double post of sorts as it crosses over with some other stuff. - it will be in more than one part.

So I have come to notice that almost every month there is at least one public holiday, I near enough curse the months that don't have any. The most popular of which is Golden week.

Golden week

This is a set of days in late April early may which consist of the Showa day, Memorial day, Green day and Children's day (April 29th, May 3rd, 4th and 5th). This is great when the weekend is conveniently placed and we can enjoy a nice long week off, however, it wasn't like that this year, and If I remember correctly, I had to work smack bang in the middle of it.

Even so, I had a 3 day weekend then a 4day weekend (Hmm I think I messed up the math with that)

Part one Sat, Sun and Showa day.


What to do, where to go?
Well, I never leave such things until the last minute to decide. About a month or so before, my friends Aya, Tomoko, Tomokos husband and their daughter had invited me to go to Fuji Kyuu for the weekend. We left on the sunday and returned on the monday. Fuji kyuu is a theme park in Yamanashi, close to Mount Fuji. We stayed in the connecting hotel, and were able to get discounted theme park tickets and use of their large yet overcrowded outdoor baths. I would go on in more details but I'm  a visual lass. So I took pictures to save me for boring you to death with this text.

Just arrived at Yamanashi Winery.
 
Barrels of yummy wine. Yamanashi is famous for their grapes :) 


Usually I prefer red wine, but the white was beautiful, I bought a bottle on the right.

 
Riko showing me her piece of broken pine cone(?)

 
FujiQ from my hotel window XD 



Houtou, insanely thick noodles. But very yummy.
 
 I can't remember where we took this, but there was a luby museum there or something.
 
 
Night view from my window, I was pretty wasted by this time, hence the fuzzy picture. 
 
What I rode on :) I forgot dodonpa though! BEST RIDE EVER!




View from my other window :D

Friday, 8 June 2012

City obsession.

When I first decided I would come to Japan, I really didn't care where I ended up. Actually I yearned for a rural placement. One where I could be away with my thoughts and be forced to learn Japanese at a faster rate. However that was not the case.

Now I'm not complaining mind you, but a semi rural placement is far worse than a rural one. I ended up in Kamisu, a town with a 2hour bus ride from Tokyo, with no train station and rice feilds and factories lining every field of vision. I make it sound far worse than it is, as you may know I lived by the sea so that was lovely and the locals were amazing, snack bars and izakayas literally on my door step.

Could be worse

The bad thing is, because you are so "close" to the city, you end up taking weekend trips there far too regularly, and before you know it, those ¥2030 add up! And being a city girl, being so close but yet so far just wasnt good enough for me. It would be either countryside or city life for me.

Escaping

So I set out applying for different companies in and around Tokyo. I interviewed with Berlitz, Gaba and NOVA, then decided ¥2000 an hour just wasnt profitable enough. for the amount of time and effort they needed of me, then I interviewed with RCS.

RCS

RCS have a number of locations in and around Kanto. They are no where near the size of interac either.
They operate mainly out of their Yorii (Saitama) office and they have a small office based in Shinjuku (Tokyo)

The application process was very quick. I sent off my CV in mid November and filled out a few fields online (I think), around 2 weeks later I was offered an interview with the Tokyo branch. Due to my work hours being the same (more or less) to the interview hours, they scheduled a skype interview for me one day after school.

RCS Interview (Skype)

I expected it to be a video conference type jobby but it wasn't. After I realised my interviewer wasn't putting on her camera I turned mine off and discarded my suit jacket.
I was asked questions such as:
- Why Japan
- Do you like Japan? Why?
- How long will you stay in Japan?
- What teaching experience do you have?
- Do you mind teaching Kindergarten?
- Do you mind only teaching Elementary school?
- How far are you willing to commute?
- Do you have accommodation?
- Can you drive in Japan?
- What is your visa status?
- Describe how to deal with a difficult situation at Jr High. (With staff)
- Describe how to deal with a difficult situation with students.
Most of these led into other questions so I cant remember exactly where things branched off, but these were the basic set.
In total it lasted about 45mins to an hour then we signed off.

I received an email 2 weeks later stating they would like to find a placement for me, and so the waiting began.

I hate waiting

Even though RCS had said they were looking for a place for me, they still hadn't confirmed that I would be 100% employed by April, so this left me very anxious. In January I was sent to a BOE interview as a "RCS employee" so I felt somewhat more confident, however RCS lost that town to direct hire so I was at square one again.

Over the weeks I would receive the odd email saying they had put my resume to XXX BOE, I had a total of 4 updates regarding different locations. This was particularly frustrating as I had also been looking for a new apartment.

March rolled around and I still had nothing set in stone. Interac where wanting me to sign papers of resignation/transfer and I had a week to get out of my apartment. During my final week in Kamisu I received confirmation of a position in Saitama with quick yet somewhat pricey links to the city with a "possibility" of subsidised housing. If I got said housing my rent would be ¥10,500 for a 2k apartment. So I put all my eggs in one basket, cancelled the House share I had just paid a deposit on, and moved in with the fella for 2 weeks while they decided whether I was worthy of such a sweet deal. Only problem is, my salary would be ¥10,000 lower than interac. Not that big of a deal as my rent before was ¥40,000。

All's well that ends well.

Well I am sure you have guessed it by now, I got the place with the cheapo rent, I was technically homeless for a week but it all worked out in the end! My apartment is far from spectacular, but I am happy in saying "Its worth what I pay for it". Ill update later with a vid or two of the new(ish) pad.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Tribute to bromances.

April leads to many things in Japan, cherry blossoms, new school year, companies (not just teaching ones) hiring new staff etc, but the biggest sadness is the ALT turnover.

Well, not all ALTs make it into my best bud list, but two in particular, my dearest Tim and Ben had their time cut short. They had a Bromance so intense they were practically gay for each other and I mean that in the most non gay way possible. So this be a photo tribute to you my friends. Canada and England just (well a month ago) had to awesome guys returned.

Ben, Japan wont be the same without your constant ranting and ravings. Or your hair of which its texture I am still unsure. But I'm pretty sure you have an afro.

Tim, still stalking me on DrawSomething. Who will I complain too when these guys diss England? I will keep you updated with any anti Canada info and defend your honour in your absence.

You guys were always up for a night out. Alaways willing to eat enough yakiniku to cause meat sweats and the "itis" Since you've been gone, I've only had 3 nights outs, other weekends have been spent Joshua Tuckering. (Not really, but just wanted to put that reference in there.) 

Hats off to you good Sirs, HATS OFF!

YOU WILL BE MISSED!!

Hmm... I don't actually have any photos of you guys... WHAT'S UP WITH THAT!?

I'll see if I can dig something out... in the mean time make do with this.




Saving money obsession. Xmas 2011

Yes, very much overdue but that can't be helped.

So last Christmas I went back to the UK, now as sad as my saying this may seem, this was against my will. However I was really glad to see family and friends. (Will go into detail on that in another post)

The Issue

As I came to Japan on a working holiday visa, for a number of months I insisted that Interac change it to an instructors. To do this I had to go to the UK to do this process (Apparently this was the only way possible, which I found out recently that it isnt...)

FYI

Let me start by saying I was raised a flight-snob. I grew up going on at least 1 overseas holiday a year and only ever flying with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic. (I think I took a Delta flight once from Boston to NY or something) Then I had to venture to budget airlines when I realised I had to pay an adult fair by myself if my parents werent going with me. So the girly holiday to Aiya-napa and the holiday with the Ex bf to Florida were both super-low budget flights. After which I swore to never do that budget crap again.

The solution to the visa thingy

My flight to the UK was already paid for by my company, a lovely Virgin flight, however I had to arrange the flight back and my first 6 months or so in Japan and made me poor. "No problemo!" I thought to myself while scaling the budget airline websites.
I thought I lucked out and picked up a flight from London to Tokyo via Italy with Alitalia... (Some folks probably already know full well how this turns out before they even finish reading about it.)

This journey was a total nightmare!
So it started out in my home while attempting to do the on-line check-in. Impossible. I began to freak out that my 367GBP flight ticket to Japan was a fraud and that I would be stuck. My flight was due in on the 9th, and I was due to teach from the 10th. (Yeah, no rest for the wicked) So after having a minor break down, I figured, as I have all the proof of purchases and what not all would be good in the end. Eventually the family wake up due to my rustling around and we all headed off to the airport.

The worry begins

After arriving at check-in, I tred to check-in via the little electronic pod things, again, no luck; I am being told I have invalid flight details... Attempting to appear cool, calm and collected in from of my mother and the rest of the bunch, I stagger over to an assistant and ask for some help and advice. She then explains that the reason I cannot check-in in the usual ways, is because my connecting flights are in different places. I had no idea what she was on about; I stopped listening once signed and checked off all my info and luggage.

Plain sailing untill...

 The flight was fair, the food was pretty good and entertainment better than expected. This lead me into a false sense of "I am awesome"ness that was about 3 hours premature.
I arrive in Rome and am giddy with the whole "Im in Rome!" feeling, check my tickets and notice I have just under 2 hours before my next flight, just enough time to chillax and stretch. I head over to the information box and ask the guy (In my broken Italian) where the next departure gate is and he tells me (In English)
                  "Not here lady, it is in Madrid".
I was never good at geography, so I say
                  "huh? is that far?"
 to which he laughed... He suggested I take a taxi.
                  "How much for a Taxi to Madrid my good fellow?"
                  "150 Euros"
                  "...oh... I have 3000yen"
                  "We take credit card *creepy grin*"
                  "Ummm... let me go to the currency exchange counter...."
At the counter I ask the lovely lady how to get to this other airport a couple hundred miles away (or so it seemed) and she said I could get the shuttle bus for 6.00 euros. However the next bus would arrive after my flight.
So she suggested I take a local bus and get off some place and change to another bus that will take me to the other airport.
So off I skip to the bus stop with my hand luggage and two suit cases, and hop on to a number 73 style bendy bus (Yay free bus ride heh heh!!) however I arrive at the terminus after about 30 mins. A lovely lady in the bus asks me where I am going, then laughs at my reply. She then tells me I need to take a subway train to X another train the Y then the express train to the airport. So I manned up and did just that, I arrived at the express trains station with an hour to spare, the train would take 15 minutes. It was on the platform ready and waiting for me, so I hiked up my bags and ran for it. Then my bag strap broke spilling my belongings out onto the platform - missing the train.

With just over an hour before my flight was due to take of I was in a panic. My mind began to wonder... "Hmmm maybe this is my fate. Maybe I shouldn't return to Japan. Maybe I am supposed to stay here and live in Italy"

Eventually another train came. it took 30 minutes to get to the airport, meaning I had 40mins before my plane took off and I hadn't even checked in. A friendly guy on the train helped me with my mad dash to the correct flight desk. After arriving the woman said the plane was preparing for take-off so I couldn't board, and that she would have to call. As my thoughts of  giving up on getting back to Japan and living in Italy instead returned, she made her stupid call whist staring at me in disgust the whole time. The I noticed other  people joining the queue behind me. That gave me a slight relief, to know that I wasn't the only headless chicken trying to get that darn plane.

The woman gives me the OK then I sprint (or near enough) to the terminal. Now my ticket says 29, but there is 27,28,32,33... my 3 years of learning Italian was beginning to fail me drastically and I'm pretty sure they use the same numbers as us. At a junction somewhere it seems as though I took the turning for national instead of international flights. I do the mad dash again, get through the bag check the dash again to gate 29.

I finally make it with 20 mins to spare, only to discover that some where along the way I lost my boarding pass... 5 minutes and some serious hyperventilation later the lady on the doors makes some calls then gives me the OK. I get through then realise I have to get a bus to my plane... luckily there were a ton of people on the bus who were also clearly on the same flight as me so I didn't tear my hair out, just sweated a ton.

10minutes before take off and I make it onto my plane, finishing up nicely by sitting in the wrong seat as I couldn't find my boarding pass. Only to take off my jacket and have my original boarding pass fall out of my sleeve...wtf.


Obsession with being outside.

Simply another installation of going somewhere awesome.

During golden week a friend invited me to Yamanashi. There was 5 of us all together, Aya, Tomoko, her husband Keiichi and their daughter Riko (I was number 5)

Aya is a language exchange partner  i met while i was living in Kamisu, we soon became good friends (Thanks to her i get out of the house a lot more) They left their home around 7.30 and picked me up by Yoyogi park around 10. I was actually late because i though they said Harajuku and iI went out of the Omotesando exit...

The journey took about 2 hours. Much quicker than we expected as it was the weekend of golden week. our first stop was a winery where we were able to taste wine by the famous Yamanashi gapes! I'm usually a red wine (well rose) kind of girl but i certainly preferred their whites. They also showed us how to determine whether a wine is of high quality or not. I bought a bottle of white then we headed off to our next destination.




Our next stop was to a park (I forget the name of it) where we could see cherry blossoms. As Yamanashi is cooler than Tokyo so the cherry blossoms bloom much later. So we were able to see some really beautiful scenes.

The next stop was for dinner! We went to a traditional Japanese restaurant that served some really fat udon. Im not sure why but I ordered the mushroom version. It was waaaaaay too much for me and I couldn't finish it all :(


  The beast in the flesh. Pretty sure it was more mushrooms that anything else!


After dinner we took a drive to a toy museum but it was closed, so we hung around by the near by docks. It started to get chilly so we headed back shortly after. We had tickets to fujiyama onsen as it was more or les connected to our hotel. It was a lot larger than any I've been to, but it was soooo crowded that it felt small. however it is a really lovely onsen.
 We then headed back to our hotel. If I'm honest, it was pretty basic for what we paid. I'm guessing the fact that it is connected to fujiq means they can charge premium prices for a standard style room.
However I cant dispute the awesome views I had from my window!



Thursday, 10 May 2012

Obsession with being a Nomad

Yes, I am finally admitting that I am a nomad.

I have been absent on this blog thing of late due to me busying myself with various things. I'll try to post about them individually later.
The most major thing however is that I have moved from Kamisu to Yashio. (From one factory town to another)
Yashio is in Saitama, on the Tsukuba express, so at least my town has a train station this time, a station thats only 15 mins walk from my house at that!

It's a little more lively than Kamisu however my old apartment was surrounded by izakayas and snack bars for my entertainment. Yashio however is lacking heavily, you'll be lucky to find anything further than 10mins from the station, unless my fellow ALTs are holding out on me... Sucks to be me. But I've only been here for a month, so I have plenty of time ahead of me to sink my nails into this town.

Why Saitama?

Well its the right mix of being near the city centre without living in Tokyo; I am only 18mins by train from Akihabara after all.

Why Yashio?

There is a distinct difference and feel to my town from the city. Its surprisingly rural compared to its sisters Soka and Misato but both towns are only a 20min bike ride away (Closer than one of my schools) so its quite nice to be in just after the rain, you get that nice muddy grass smell instead of the groggy lung feeling. Oh and my super cheap rent. If I am honest I was very very nearly going to live in Omiya, in fact I pulled out a week before I was due to move in. (Mostly as my new company failed to tell me until after my lease was up what the deal was gonna be.
The teaching contract I have here comes with housing, a 2k apartment for only¥10,500 per month. (About 90GBP) so I am one happy bunny.

Now I am trying to furnish and make it homely. It is VERY VERY old but for the money I am paying I really cant complain.

Once I have finished beautifying my home, I'll get some pics up for you all. Might even revisit the you tube jazz I was doing before...  hmmm.,.