Friday, February 26, 2010

First Days Teaching

Short Story:

Ok Thursday was my first day of full teaching in a K5 class. I think it went pretty well and I really enjoyed it. However, one interesting thing did happen. Right after lunch one of the little boys came up to me and said his underwear were dirty. I knew he had accidents so i knew he had pooped his pants. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the teacher anywhere so I had to ask one of the office ladies what to do. She handed me a pair of gloves, baby whites, new underwear and said "you might have to help him wipe". I was pretty disgusted. So I took him to the bathroom and he didn't need help wiping but you can't flush the baby wipes so he handed them to me after he wiped... wonderful. He then needed help changing. Then because in Japan everything is about presentation I got to carefully and nicely fold his poopy underwear and slide them into a bag with a note. Nasty! 6 year olds should not be pooping their pants or need help cleaning it.

On Friday.... it happened again.

Anyways that's the most exciting thing that happened while teaching. Oh and when I cleared my throat a student said, "Ms. Melanie what is 'clears throat'". hahaha! In about 4 hours I'm leaving for a weekend at the cabin on the coast. I will have pictures in my next post from the weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Practice Teaching and Church

So this past Sunday Ally, Kelsey, and I decided to go to a Japanese church that meets in our school building. One of the teachers who goes each week invited us because they were going to have English notes that week. It was interesting because I recognized every song they sang but couldn't sing any because I couldn't read the characters. We then had a sermon and it was somewhat boring because we couldn't understand anything so we just read the notes. We said the Lord's Prayer (in Japanese) and sang Doxology to end. The layout was very similar to my church back home. At the end they served everyone a cup of tea haha. Anyways I don't think we will go back very often unless we miraculously become fluent in Japanese.

Anyways this past week I've been observing and "practice teaching". Tomorrow will be my first full day of teaching which will be interesting because I've really only seen 2 normal days. I think it will go well though. The class I'm teaching is very well behaved, which is good because I really hate disciplining other people's classes. I will also teach on Friday and get observed so that I can get feedback. Next week all I know is I'm observing a few days and Thursday they will announce the K5 classes to the kids so I will be there to welcome them. I don't get my class though until the 12th I believe. So that means 3 more weeks of practice teaching and observing, 1 week of vacation, and 1 week of prep before the kids get here. Hopefully it will go by fast.

In other news, I don't think Thailand is going to work out anymore! When we originally looked at plane tickets they were about $700 and the next day they went up to $1200 so that isn't going to work for us. Tickets to Bangkok aren't bad but we are hearing mixed reviews about the safety so it makes us a little bit nervous. We have somewhat narrowed it down to Singapore or Guam though. If anyone has ever been there let me know so I can bombard you with questions.

P.S. I haven't received any mail yet.

Forest Park 101, 3-4-11
Takamori, Izumi-Ku, Sendai
Miyagi, 981-3203, JAPAN

Just Sayin.... :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This week...

Sorry it's been a week or so since I posted. I'm really going to try to get back into blogging. Unfortunately no pictures for this post. Sorry!

So, this past week I've been observing K5 and K4 classes. That's 5 year old kindergarten and 4 year old kindergarten. In Japan kindergarten is optional so only private schools offer it. Monday I got to see a normal day in a K5 class (which I will be teaching) and the other days I've been observing Open Houses. Basically that means all the moms and some dads come and watch you teach for a day. They do that about 3-4 times a year depending on the program. It's been fun to meet the kids and see which ones will be in my class next year but also a little boring to watch the same thing over and over. Next week I will begin "practice teaching" and that should be a little more interesting. I've also been busy learning Level 19 and 20 songs right now. I will be teaching Levels 11-20 and each level has 3 poems, 3 chants, 3 stories, and 3 songs... and I have to memorize them all.

Yesterday I officially took my "driving test" in Japan. It was actually pretty good. They drive on the opposite side of the road and the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car. That didn't bother me but the windshield wipers and blinkers are switched and every time I wanted to turn I would turn on the windshield wipers. Also, everybody here backs into parking spots because the spots are small and there isn't much room to back out into the aisle. We had to practice that and I was pretty bad. I might just be the stupid American who parks front forward. Oh well.

In other news, I now have plans for my spring break. Their spring break is actually the break between each school year and it starts at the end of March. Ally, Logan, Mallory, and I are all going to Krabi, Thailand. I've never heard of it but it sounds cool. It is a tourist town smaller than Phuket (so much cheaper) and it is right on the ocean. We are going to layout, get thai massages and hopefully ride an elephant :).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Well, the past 2 days we have been in LONG meetings about training. Yesterday (monday) we spend 9 to 3:30 in training and then played a game of dodgeball. Dodgeball in Japan is not the same as dodgeball in the states. It is much more exciting here. First if you get out then you go behind the other team and when the ball goes out of the line you can grab it and throw it from behind them. Then if you get one of them out you get to go back in the game on your side.

Today we spent the same amount of time in training, plus they gave us homework! After that we went to sing some Karaoke! It was hilarious! It is definitely not like what I thought it would be. First of all you rent a room that holds about 8 people. Then you are in this tiny room just singing to your friends. You can also rent a tambourine if you so desire... we desired. Some of the songs we sang: Truly Madly Deeply, I'll make love to you, You're the one that I want, Hollaback girl, Mmm Bop, My Heart will go on, Girls just want to have fun, Everybody (Backstreet Boys), Britney Spears Medley, etc. We only had the room for one hour but as you can see we got quite a bit accomplished. Enjoy the pictures!

Mallory isn't so sure about Ally singing along.

Tambourine? Yes please!
I'll make love to you...

I'm not sure what is being sung here but I'm sure it was funny!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Hi Everyone!

I finally was able to upload a few pictures to blogger! They are somewhat out of order but it won't let me rearrange them so oh well. Here is a picture of the outside of my building covered in snow. Last night it snowed all night and this is what it looked like when I woke up. It continued to snow all day and we probably got another 6 inches throughout the afternoon.

The third picture is a picture of Ally and I this morning in front of her building which is right next door to mine. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the inside of my place yet. I will be moving in to a new place at the end of March (same building) but I will take pictures soon of the inside to show you all.

Today 3 of the current teachers took all of us new teachers to downtown Sendai to see the sights and shop. We first had to take the bus from our apartment and then get on the Subway. Ally and I were saying how much more confusing this seems than China and we think it is because we have so much more help. In China we were just kind of thrown out there with a figure it out your selfs and so we had to. Here everyone is helping us with everything. It is pretty nice!

By the way you can see more pictures of downtown Sendai on my facebook. Blogger just takes forever to upload pictures. Downtown has kind of a main shopping area that we stayed in today. We got to eat lunch at an Italian place and it was pretty good. However, they had no pictures for us to point to! Their foreigner menu was in Japanese and Italian so we were able to decipher the Italian enough to say what we wanted. We then went to the 100 yen and 300 yen store (1 dollar and 3 dollar) and shopped around. They have EVERYTHING you would need for your apartment at the 100 yen store. It is kind of amazing.

We also stopped at Starbucks and had some delicious green tea! After we got back I hung out at my new friend, Kelsey's apartment for awhile. It was fun and I'm excited about all the fun people I'm getting to meet! I then cooked dinner, and by cooked I mean I toasted an english muffin. I don't think I will be doing a ton of cooking here. My actual oven is smaller than my toaster oven and the two halves of my english muffin barely fit in my toaster oven. Oh by the way below is a picture of a dog in downtown sendai that I thought looked like a lion.

Well I better run! Some friends are coming over for a movie night in a few minutes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

First Day in Japan

Hi everybody,

We finally made it to Sendai! Tuesday morning I flew out from DFW at noon. 13 hours later we arrived in Tokyo and a 6 hour bus trip later we arrived in Sendai. I got to my apartment at 1 in the morning Thursday and fell right into bed. Unfortunately my heater chose not to work last night and so I pretty much froze to death under my bed. The vent is pointed right at my head too so that didn't help. This morning I started pushing all the buttons on the heaters remote. I had no idea what they did but it couldn't get any colder and miraculously the heat turned on!

Thursday (today) we left our apartments at 11:00 to go eat lunch and it was pretty good. I ordered Doria which is basically rice with spaghetti meat sauce on top. We then went to the immigration office to register as aliens and get our health insurance. After that we met up with Melissa who took us on a tour of our campus. Our campus is beautiful but I didn't get any good pictures so that will come later. We will see the other campus next week. Right now we have a small break before dinner with the other teachers and volleyball. Now, those of you who know my sport skills would know that volleyball is my absolute worst. Have I ever made the ball over the net? No. Have I ever hit the ball and it went towards the net? No. It usually goes behind me. So... if I actually play or if I even make it that far into the night is debatable at this point. I have only slept about 6 1/2 hours in the past 48 hours so I'm not exactly at my most energetic right now.

Everything has been great and exciting so far! Tomorrow we go to the bank to set up our account and that is pretty much all I know at this point!