水曜日, 7月 25, 2007

My last post

So, this is it!

I'm sitting in Natasha's apartment since I no longer have a home in Japan anymore. I have said goodbye to all my dear friends and will be running my last few errands in Niigata soon, then dropping off my car, and heading southeast to Tokyo on the shink saying farewell to Niigata ken for the last time. What can I say??? Two years. Amazing. Not the end. Paths will cross again.

It's bittersweet. Even though I would have loved to stay, I know this year was not my time. On to bigger and brighter things, but I will cherish my friends and memories of this place forever.

Thank you all so very much!

Gambare kudasai.

Ja ne!

My NEW blog is http://johannadarilek.blogspot.com/

月曜日, 7月 23, 2007

Tomorrow is my last day!

Nishikawa JHS farewell flowers
Nishikawa JHS teacher's room
Farewell flowers from Katahigashi JHS

日曜日, 7月 22, 2007

Good Stuff!!!

My last weekend in Niigata

Jose Cuervo...

...you are a friend of mine, I like to drink you with a lil' salt and lime...

...Did I kiss all the cowboys? Did I shoot out the lights? ...
...Did I dance on the bar? Did I start a fight?...

Know that song?

Troy looking fab as always






Patrick and Joyce leaving the party

Sam starting off Karaoke

Stocked with lots of English song books, but limited with good Eigo songs

Troy serenading to Britney while Martin tries to stay awake in his inebriated stupor

Siobhan in front of her condemned apartment complex (AKA Bosnia)

水曜日, 7月 18, 2007

I leave Japan in a week...

You've Been a Little Ruined by American Culture
Whether you live in the US or not, deep down you're a little American. And there's nothing wrong with loving American culture, but it may have negative effects on your life. Slow down and enjoy what you have. Reconnect with life's simple pleasures. You don't need to be in a consumerist rat race. Life's too short to overwork yourself!

With questions like how often do you walk places to how much soda you drink in a week, it’s funny to see if the Japanese culture I’ve become accustomed too has clashed with my own…but…I’ll be back in that US of A way of life in less than 2 months (catching up on what hit music/TV shows/current slang that I have missed in the last two years), but no matter where I travel, I’ll always have a little American in me. No doubt Japan will remain to be a big part of me as well; full of cherished memories and experiences. So, here is my list that I have been compiling for the last 3 months or so of the “little” daily joys and quibbles I will miss once I leave the rice fields of Niigata…

Things I will miss about Japan:

♥ Having tissues everywhere: at the lunch table, given to you in shopping bags and at street corners, every teacher’s desk

♥ Not having to pump my own gas, wipe your own cars windows, or refill the air in your own

♥ Empty movie theaters on grand openings like Harry Potter, X-man, etc.

♥ The fact that Japanese audiences will usually sit through all the credits before leaving

♥ Trying to sneak out of school early, only to have a student lean out a window to yell goodbye and draw
attention to me

♥ Running a red light with two cars following, you never yield on yellow here

♥ My students and watching them riding double on their friends’ bikes to and from school or their ridiculous
gym clothes

♥ Students who clean up after themselves

♥ 100 yen store runs

♥ Listening to only Japanese and zoning out into my own peaceful world, I don’t feel so over whelmed with
trying to understand too many conversations at once. Ignorance truly is bliss!

♥ Keitai text messaging about the random-ist things everyday (ex. Natanders 3-5+ msgs a day – fun stuff)

♥ That the beach is a 15 min. drive away, but then so again are the mountains

♥ Random facts I pick up from friends about life in their own countries (No shopping at GAPS in New Zealand,
never seeing prairie dogs in England, and that traffic lights are called “robots” down in South Africa)

♥ Slang from other countries that I can’t wait to use on my friends back in Texas and confuse ‘em like crazy with "sor'ed" & "slainte"

♥ Those moments in class when you just click with the students, the ones when they’re so use to your company that they start speaking and laughing with you in mixed Japanese/English and those 50mins just fly by

♥ School lunch and how the rice bowl, soup bowl, and other dish have to all be in just the right order

My last school lunch at Usui JHS
♥ My avid traveling friends who have shared this experience with me for the last two years, no one ever will come close to understanding anything like this: rocking climbing over the ocean in Thailand, swimming with whale sharks in Okinawa, or jumping off waterfalls in Japan, and those are just to name a few
♥ Talking about where I’d like to travel next in the world and having 3 friends want to travel there as well

♥ Onsens and how going with your girlfriends makes talking about anything and everything comfortably

♥ Combinis and how you can pay your bills, buy your chu-hi’s, and snack on an onigiri all at 4am

♥ The world’s friendliest and most earnest customer service

♥ “Irashaimase!!!” (welcome!) - as annoying as it is, I'm going to miss it (it’s going to sound so quiet going to combines in America)

♥ How you can’t go into a combini without seeing grown men reading the comics/mangas

♥ Homemade soba with tempura (esp. pumpkin or eggplant…yum)

♥ Everything seeming new and interesting, all the time

♥ Engrish or the embarrassing questions your teachers ask not knowing you may feel awkward answering it

♥ Grading student’s papers and laughing at what they ingeniously wrote and understanding it

One of the 3rd Graders English Mangas
♥ You can get beer in a vending machine

♥ Carrying large sums of cash around without worrying

♥ Intense lime green melon soda

♥ Not having to be tanned, the paler you are the better and more beautiful

♥ My heated toliet seat on those cold winter mornings

♥ The mountain views on my drive to work, my favorite: when the tops are sprinkeled in snow or a blue fog/haze

♥ Criticizing people in English with impunity, until you find out they might know some English and then you freak out

♥ Drunken puri-kura and all night Karaoke sessions♥ How my local post office sees me and grabs their foreign postal slips having no idea they’re in French and not English

♥ Hearing my neighbors son and his 2 friends run around outside, playing with the bikes and chatting away in loud Japanese

♥ The difficult decision of having to pick between the last train 11:30pm or the earliest train 5:30am for a night out in the Shi

♥ Singing Disney songs during cleaning time at school. It’s always fun belting out a Jamaican accent with “It’s hotter under the water, what do they got, a lot of sand, we got a hot coruscation man” or singing in a high opera'ish voice to Once upon a dream with Cinderella while wiping down the copy machines and getting odd but funny stares from the students

♥ My celebrity status: Even though I'm probably like a D-list celebrity, it is kind of cool to walk to the grocery store and hear "HAAAANNNNAAA SEEEEENSEEEEIIIII!" being screamed from across the street, plus it’s kind of fun to watch the old people and little children freak out on the side of the road and blatantly stare with open mouths at me just for walking by

♥ Catching my students trying to read my English board when they think nobody is looking

♥ When the school schedule on the classroom blackboard for the day for 4th period (English class) has only my name surrounded by hearts
♥ Those crazy really-are-you-kidding-me? two way roads

♥ A nice cold beer with sweet edemame on a summer festival day waiting for fireworks and wondering if you’ll run into any of your students in yukatas or happies

♥ Dinner parties and movie/card nights with friends

♥ Being shocked every time I go to rent a DVD on how strangely the selection is mixed

♥ Watching and laughing when your friends drink root beer or your students eat ‘ants on a log’ for the first time

♥ Laughing at the silly “illegal copying” messages at the beginning of credits at the movie theatre (The girl turning into the skull and then crying will always be a great memory for me)

♥ Getting a scent of the sea some mornings before going to school, I have never lived that close to a sea or ocean before so it is new to me

Am I missing anything important?

My Last English Board

火曜日, 7月 17, 2007