(The subject is Japanese for "Let's update!!")
What a busy Summer I had. I'll start from shortly after my last update, though.
So my company went bankrupt, but most of the schools were bought up by a giant corporation. Giant corporation tried to hire many of the old teachers back, and ended up hiring less than half of them back. I was one of them, luckily (?).
My new teaching position was split between two schools: Mishima (two days a week) and Gotemba (three days a week). There were already full-time teachers at both schools, so my schedules were appallingly easy for these first few months. (Well, after the company finally got around to moving me, I mean. Commuting every day for two-four hours sucked.)
It was during this time that Ben visited me! That was great. I was able to get some vacation days (unpaid, natch), so we saw lots of Tokyo and Kyoto, with the time in between mostly spent exploring Shizuoka (prefecture). Many games were played, lots of K-ON! was watched, and good times were had by all.
But good things don't last, and the company decided to close Mishima school. And then the teacher from Gotemba was going to quit (like many, many other teachers ended up doing), so it was decided that I would be his replacement.
Before that would happen however, I was sent to Hamamatsu (three hours south) for a month. Yet another teacher had quit and they needed a substitute. My schedule was light, so they had no problem canceling my classes. I was unhappy about this, but it ended up going okay. Hamamatsu school was in a mall, so there was lots of stuff to see between classes. Plus, the other native teacher at Hamamatsu was a cool guy who I'd met before during training, so I had someone to talk to. The weather incredibly humid, though.
After about a week in Hamamatsu, I returned to my old stomping grounds of Shizuoka (city) to take the Japanese proficiency exam, level three. It was tough, and I was definitely on the fence about whether or not I passed. In about three months, I would find out that I had indeed passed. Callooh, callay!
It was also during this month in Hamamatsu that my sisters visited me! The timing of this trip could have been much better. Firstly, the weather was brutally hot, although it did sometimes switch up the heat for pouring rain. Secondly, I was staying at the former Hamamatsu teacher's apartment, rather than my own apartment. Hence, I had very few of the comforts one would normally offer guests. It was also not in a good area in relationship to the Japanese railway system. It was a thirty minute bus ride to the station. Lastly, I had no vacation days left, so I had to work for those two weeks. Meaning I couldn't spend as much time as I would have liked showing my sisters around. IN SPITE OF THIS, my sisters got to see lots of Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Kyoto were all thoroughly explored. We watched MST3K, ate sushi and good times were had by all.
Right before they left, however. My awesome new company killed my internet. That was not good times. Hamamatsu, by the way, also has a very cool cave. It's a bit remote, but well worth the trip. It contains the largest underground waterfall in Japan!
Okay, so I finally returned to Gotemba (and my new apartment) and began my (theoretically) permanent position as main teacher for Gotemba school. Things are going okay. Most of my classes are alright. Only a few argumentative old people and naughty children. Co-workers are alright too.
Gotemba, if you're curious, is right next to Mt. Fuji. But don't mistakenly assume that this means you can usually see it. Because of its altitude, clouds regularly obscure the mountain from view. Even now, after living here for over a month, it's still a pleasant surprise to actually see the mountain. On clear days, however, I can see it from my apartment window!
As Summer drew to a close, I took a trip to the resort town of Atami and went swimming at the beach. And just my luck, there was a fireworks display the same day! So that was a nice way to end the Summer. ALSO, King of Fighters XIII came out and stole so very many of my coins. That game is fantabulous.
I'll close by mentioning that, yesterday, I went to the Tokyo Game Show with the Hamamatsu school teacher (not the one I replaced, the one I knew from training) and one of his former students. It was awesome times, as you should have expected. I saw many cool games, played a demo for Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, and saw so, so much amazing cosplay. There was also a fighting game tournament happening at the same event, so I spent some time spectating. The highlight, however, were my new purchases:
I can finally tell people I have a COLLECTION of Fatal Fury hats. This was the best 3000 yen I (or anyone else) has ever spent.
Whew. This has gone on pretty long. Don't say I never update, okay? If you'd like to see pictures of actual Japanese places, like Atami and Kyoto, please visit my Picasa page, won't you?
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