Your shitting me right? I've been here a Quarter of a Year?! I realized this yesterday as I was eating the lunch made for me by my 8th Graders in Home-Ecc class, and it just blew my mind. I could swear that I've been here, perhaps a month, at most.
I guess this isn't really all that different than the timewarped university period. (4 years=2 years) but the ratio seems to be skewing evermore in my disfavour. At this rate by the time I'm 25 years will be passing by in daily chunks, which is a scary thought. And I can't claim that "being busy makes the time fly" as I've been less busy than I was in University, although I can already feel a certain restlessness growing itchily inside of me, telling to hurry and get things done. Maybe next week...
So I thought I'd go back over some the big dreams, assumptions etc. that I had before coming here and compare them with the way things really are. Of course, lots of bubbles get popped when coming to a new and exciting place, that's inevitable. But I still think it 's interesting to see just how things are different.
I was a little better informed than most people on this regard. I knew that the old myth about the impressiveness of Japanese schools was a complete load. I knew that the level of English was likely to be extremely low, and most students wouldn't have a lot of motivation to learn it. As with most things, the reality is somewhere in the middle. In every class I seem to have a few students who desperately want to learn English, (one girl moved from Sapporo to Shikaoi, and has been living by herself for 3 years so that she could take part in the Gr. 10 trip to Canada!) a majority of apathetic students with generally dismal English skills, and a few troublemakers. Pretty standard I guess. I haven't had any of the horror stories that I've heard from friends, but none of the huge successes either. The High School is perhaps the most surprising for me. The level of delinquency is certainly low, although that probably has a much to do with its rural location as the students themselves. As well, since High School is not mandatory, perhaps the worst students drop out. The level of English that the students possess is fascinating. While a very few continue to improve, most seem to get noticeably worse in High School. My Gr.7's have the highest level of English overall, my Gr.12's the lowest.
2. My House
Sorry to disappoint, but its not particularly "Japanese," apart from a few quirks. It's actually quit similar to my place in Montreal, with hardwood floors, (no tatami) and good insulation. The kitchen sometimes feels lacking in counter space, but that's not exactly the end of the world. I do have a Japanese style bath tub, which is quite deep, but I don't use it much as it is also very small in width and length. Heating is also typically Japanese, as it uses a kerosene heater supplied from an outdoor tank. All in all, it's decent, but small. But I guess that saves on heating!
More to come soon!...