Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Check NO for Motivation

I'm currently seated at my desk at the BOE, using a proxy server to surf the web and write this blog entry. I read all the blogs I follow, checked out Apartment Therapy's daily offerings of inspirational decorating ideas, and researched French negatives for Kim-Chi. I suppose it's no more or less productive than some of my days at junior highs while I wait for classes to start, but I do have things to do.

Oh yes, ladies and gents. On Thursday I will take a day off from work to visit a juuku summer camp. Juuku is often translated as "cram school," but it could also be called tutoring, supplementary classes, prep school, or suck-the-joy-from-life class. Some of these prep schools are intense study sessions that keep students away from home until near midnight. The juuku for students in elementary and preschool are more like short classes or clubs.

One of the women who visits some of my elementary schools runs an English juuku that, apparently, some of my elementary students attend. She asked me in June if I would like to be a special guest one day during the summer English camp, and I agreed. Enter planning that I have completed, preparation I haven't. Don't blame me entirely; the BOE is out of A4 size laminate sleeves.

Then there are the wonderful new JET orientations. The first is on the 18th and 19th, and will entail all ALTs getting together to bore each other with self-introductions and lesson plans. Intermittently we will passively engage in boredom while government and JET people talk at us about stuff (safe to say that I remember nothing from the "information" I was given last year).

The second orientation involves the new municipal ALTs and CIRs only. I have been honored with an invitation to present on a fill-in-the-blank topic and I'll pretend to know a whole lot about success at Japan Life. Then I will get a group of baby JETs lost in Kyoto and pretend that I'm pointing out landmarks while desperately searching for a recognizeable strip of land. I will foolishly allow my tourees to enter stores to "look around," only to drag them out by their hair forty minutes later.

I've tried to think about subjects for the second orientation. About what could I speak with any authority? Learning Japanese? Nope. Dealing with life in the countryside? Negative. Dating in Japan? Kim-chi suggested I do research on that subject. Cold hard investigative journalism that involves meet-ups, personal ads and speed dating. It would be for the sake of the new JETs, of course. Then again, all I'd really need to do is put up a few flyers advertising "language exchange" and specify that I'm looking for men between such-and-such ages. Hello, Japanese boyfriend.

To conclude my procrastination, I release here my proposed topics. I would put up a survey, but using a proxy server has its limitations. Please help me choose in what people brand new to Japan might be most interested:

Surviving the Seasons (dealing with the heat, the cold, the rain, and the mold)
Life Outside of School (getting involved, blah de blah)
Handling Multiple Schools (This might be completely irrelevant, depending on how many countryside kids there are)
Staying Positive
Daily Tips and Tricks (futon care, what to do about mukade, Japanese study tips, how to survive without Starbucks, how to avoid eating pig intestine, ATMs, etc)

Gahhh. So lethargic. It must be the August heat that rises four stories to melt my brain. Maybe going home will revive me. Maybe.


  1. Life Outside of School, check! They should know about getting involved. Done-zo. Please try speed dating as research, please. AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

  2. I like Daily Tips and Tricks! And yes, you could have a whole archive on speed dating.

  3. It's not an option, but I vote 'Dealing With Culture Shock.' I have spoken.