We’ve Survived One Week in Japan.

3 04 2009

Toshy picked us up at 10am. I opened a bank account and filled in the forms for direct debit of the rent, gas and water (but not electricity yet). After endless red tape, paperwork and random forms, 90 minutes later I walked away with a Disney passbook/card and a Pooh face towel (a present for opening the account).

After lunch we went shopping for mobile phones. The bilingual phones that we got have internet and e-mail so we were able to check our e-mail when we arrived home…at a cost (Benno has already exceeded the internet limit but fortunately it is a capped cost). But it’s better than nothing especially when we will be without home internet for another couple of weeks at best…some things in Japan are so streamlined, and some things are like the dark-ages of red tape. I have a bright pink new model slide phone, and Benno has the same in black.

Toshy translated some of the school year calendar. My first lot of holidays is Golden Week from May 2 Р6 which is less than a month after I start. Then in June there are a few days holiday (12-16) and the main summer holidays July 24-September 1. Then October 3-7 followed by November 12-16. Not sure if there’s a real break for Christmas (students get 20th Dec to Jan 6th, but I have a feeling that teachers are required to stay behind longer), but February 10-14 is a holiday and the school year breaks up on March 20th (teachers probably finish 25th March and the new academic year starts 8th April 2010). So 6 short holidays and one long holiday. Time to start planning travel!

Roast vegetable (pumpkin, potato and steamed broccoli) pasta for dinner and chocolate pudding for dessert.

First Official Duties

1 04 2009

Toshy picked me up and we went to Gyosei wearing our “suits”. All the new teachers were invited to a little ceremony and a “party”. There were 2 new international staff – myself and a scottish primary teacher – and 6 new Japanese staff (a nurse, a senior maths teacher, some sports teachers/coaches and some elementary teachers). We had a cup of coffee in the waiting room (what’s with all the cups of coffee? I don’t like drinking the stuff). Then we went upstairs (changing into inside slippers) to a meeting hall/lounge where Father Tagawa and all the deputies met us. Our names were called and certificates given out, then we all had to say some words of introduction about ourselves. Toshy acted as my translator. Lots of “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” all round with lots of bowing and clapping.

Then we had our “party” which meant sitting at a long table with little cups of Japanese wine and having lunch of salad and rice brought out on ‘cafeteria trays’.

Toshy was busy for the rest of the day so the vice principal (of the elementary?) dropped me home. Benno stayed at home during the morning and awaited our fridge delivery. The delivery man got lost, came late, then left again (saying he needed a blanket so the floor didn’t get dirty) but came back instead with another man and together they lifted the fridge into the apartment.

It was raining a little today, but we can tell that the weather is generally warming up for spring…maybe…there was lightning and thunder in the evening along with more rain overnight.

We enjoyed a 4 course dinner (cooked by Benno) which included salty edamame (steamed green soy beans), udon stirfry with bean sprouts and aubergine, oven baked chips with heinz tomato sauce and adzuki bean ice creams. We found cheap broccoli, tofu and garlic (about $1 each) and strawberries were reasonable too (maybe $8 for 2 punnets). However the myth of the $100 rockmelon is true – perfectly round rockmelons are about $75 or over 4500 yen.


We’re moving!

1 02 2009

Yep, it’s all happening. We’re moving to Japan where we will live and work for a year. After threatening to do so for 4 years we are finally following through.

Lara has a one-year job contract teaching science in the English-speaking stream of an International School in Kisarazu City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. She will be teaching grades 7-10 full time. The school is called Gyosei International School and is a private Catholic school that includes students from Kindergarten, Elementary, Junior High and Senior High School. (http://www.gis.ac.jp/english/index.html)

Benno will continue his business Transmogrifier E-Solutions; managing the programming work remotely by webcam and e-mail.

We’ll be flying out at the end of March, to start working in Japan on the 1st of April.

map_kisarazuWe will be here: across Tokyo Bay from Yokohama and about 1 hour from Toyko by train.