03 February 2013

First Month Recap

I've been in Japan now for a month, and I have LOTS to write about.  So much, in fact, that it will take a few posts to catch everyone up.  Actually, I need to make a list:

  • English Teacher Training
  • My Birthday
  • Moving to Fukushima
  • Housing Update
  • First Days of Teaching
  • Japan: One of a Kind

Ok, so I'll start with teacher training.  The company I work for trains it's teachers in a two-week crash course.  Since all teachers are expected to teach 3 year olds through adults, there's a LOT of information to absorb.  

We started with kids training.  The bottom line: BE ENTHUSIASTIC!  If you know me well, you can imagine how I struggled with this, especially since I have roughly ZERO experience with very small children (adorable cousins excluded).  To complicate matters, I also caught what *might* have been the flu... It could also have been any number of other cold/flu-like illnesses.  For two days I had a temperature over 100, my throat killed me, I was congested, and I was extremely tired to boot.  I wore a face mask in public places to try to prevent spreading my illness-- I felt very Japanese in that respect.

One of my Japanese roommates, who's been a SAINT in helping me get adjusted to the city, noticed I was coughing at night, so she looked up a recipe for chicken noodle soup because she knew Americans frequently eat the dish when they're ill.  She made me soup from scratch!  It was her first time making it, and it was so delicious.  It was full of wholesome veggies and smooth broth.  I still haven't quite figured out how I might return her kindness. 

I'd been told that Japanese are very shy, and up until becoming ill, I'd noticed that most Japanese would politely ignore me.  I was pleasantly surprised, you can imagine, when several lovely Japanese women expressed concern for my health while I was riding the train one day.  

I'd thought I was feeling a bit better, but after a few minutes on the train to work I realized I was most definitely NOT better.  I was fortunate to find a seat when I first got on the train, so I was torn when I started feeling extremely ill: all I wanted was to get off the train and possibly throw up, but if I got off I'd definitely not have a seat when I got back on, and I wasn't sure I could physically stand up for the rest of my trip.  Eventually, I couldn't take any more, so I got off the train, found a bench, and put my head between my knees.  Thankfully, I didn't throw up, so after I was feeling a bit less nauseous I returned to the train.  

As I'd predicted, there wasn't a seat available, so I leaned against the door.  After a few minutes I couldn't even do that, so I squatted down in a corner and rested my head against the wall.  It wasn't a perfect solution, but it was the best I could do.  Not long after that I felt a soft tap on my shoulder.  

"Daijabu?" a woman asked me.  Are you ok?

"Hai.  Daijabu," I replied.  Yes, I'm ok.

The kind woman wasn't convinced, so she gestured for me to take her seat.  I gratefully accepted, desperately wishing I knew enough Japanese to properly thank her. Then before I knew it, several more caring Japanese women were asking me, Daijabu?  I did my best to respond in Japanese, and I truly hope that I communicated how thankful I was for their concern.  

I had to get off the train once more because I was still feeling ill, and when I got off the women gently helped me up and looked concerned.  I made it to work in time, and my trainers were kind and understood why I wasn't keen to jump up and down or run around for kids training.  Even though being sick isn't my favorite, I was pleasantly surprised at the care and concern that Japanese strangers and friends showed me.

The rest of training was a breeze when I started feeling well again.  I observed two teachers, and one of them is involved in marathon running and cycling.  He told me about some events that I might be interested in.  I feel very comfortable around adults, so adult training felt very natural.  The most complicated thing is just remembering the names of the seemingly endless types of classes we offer.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry you were sick! I would have made you soup... I'm glad there was someone there to do that for you!