28 April 2011

Mr. Independent!

Now I can officially say I have my own apartment!!! This will be the first time in my adult life that I will living alone if I don't count China.

On Monday I was able to meet all the other teachers in the area. They all seem nice and easy to get a long with. In the meeting we mainly discussed what is going to happen at Summer School and also if we have any problems with teaching in general.

After we finished the meeting the majority of us went back to Kumamoto City and hung out at an Izakaya. Like always I didn't drink any alcohol and just ate instead but the other teachers seemed to be enjoying themselves. Once we had finished in there we went to do some Purikura which was pretty weird. That was the first time I had ever done anything like that before!

Later we went to another bar which one of the teachers named Becky suggested. We didn't stay in there for too long due to some of the teachers feeling a bit tired. I was happy to do what ever the other guys were doing because I wasn't too familiar with the area any ways.

The next day I met up with one of the teachers named Sarah who was going to help me with applying for my Alien Registration Card aka Gaijin Card at the local City Hall and also setting up a Bank account. Everything was pretty straight forward with applying for my ARC and Bank account. But at the City Hall I was given a little booklet which would allow me to have free entry to many attractions/sights in Kumamoto for just applying for my ARC.

We also tried to enquire about getting a phone. After realising there is not enough time to decide to go somewhere for Golden Week I thought I might as well spend that money on an iPhone 4. So Sarah and I went to the SoftBank shop and enquired about the phone and they told me I would have to buy the phone outright because I only have a one year visa and so can not pay monthly. In total the phone would cost about 46,080yen (£336) and then I would have to pay the monthly bill. The deal they were telling me seemed like it was fairly good.

I then went with Sarah to the 7Eleven to withdraw some money but for some reason it was rejected. I later found out from my bank that my limit is £300 per day with my current card and I was trying to withdraw 50,000yen (£364) and this is why it was rejected. So I will probably end up waiting until Friday to buy the phone because right now I need this money to buy some items for my new apartment.

Oh yesterday I had my first day officially teaching. I think it went pretty well apart from getting really confused when I needed to get a bus to my school and also getting the taxi back home (it was expensive) because it was after the last bus! But apart from that it was pretty good and the students were good students as well.

I just realised I haven't actually said anything about the apartment. Well I am living in a LeoPalace21 apartment so I already have a TV and pretty fast internet (23.26Mbps download & 21.68Mbps upload) which is all included in my monthly rent. Overall it's quite nice and looks like one of the newer ones I had seen on youtube. I will probably do a 'My Apartment' video at some point but not sure when. Maybe once I make it a bit more homely. It seems like I am the only one out of the trainees to have an electric toilet which is pretty sweet! I think I will go out in a bit to pick up some stuff for this place because its pretty empty not even any toilet paper! I also need to find a way to stick things to my walls without damaging them. I have a Jamaican flag I want to put up as well as some other things.

It seems like Kumamoto City may not be such a bad place to live after all!

24 April 2011

Sayonara Osaka!

Today is now my official last full day in Osaka! My teacher training ended yesterday with a test which I didn't do too great in. Everyone needed to get at least 75% to pass but I ended up with 68%. I was told by my trainer that I would have to take the test again at some point once I move to Kumamoto. Out of the whole group there were 3 of us including myself who didn't pass. I didn't get much chance to revise mainly due to me being unwell and spending most of the past couple of days in bed!

This whole sickness has put a stop to my raving plans! I haven't been able to go out since I started to feel sick on Thursday. But I think I went out enough times since I been here in Osaka and I managed to meet some more cool people. The majority of them I knew through Youtube videos and/or Facebook but some of them I had met the last time I came to Japan.

Right now im in the process of getting all my stuff in order to repack my suitcases. I had the option of sending one of my suitcases to my area ahead of time but I decided to take both of my suitcase with me tomorrow. But I hope I don't regret that decision tomorrow! I will need to get the train from Shin-Osaka at 6:50am and I will arrive in Kumamoto at 10:27am. Pretty much as soon as I drop my stuff off at the hotel I will have to get back on the train and attend a meeting with all the people in my area. In this meeting our manager will go over some new things such as what the plans are for summer school.

I think I may keep my future posts short so I can post more frequently and I wont miss anything out. If you haven't already done so please 'like' my facebook page and follow me on twitter @dgrey1986. Thanks for reading.

18 April 2011

Finally some time to myself!

Ok I finally have some time to write something in here that is a little more substantial. Just in case you didn't see any of my pictures of Nagoya Castle or the Sakura on my tumblr photo blog you can see a few of them below but the rest are on the photo blog.

Well I have been in Osaka now for nearly one week. At the moment I am staying in an area called Takatsuki which is about 20mins away from Umeda, Osaka by Rapid Express train.

I can honestly say that I have been enjoying living in Osaka far more than living in Nagoya. Compared to Osaka Nagoya seems kind of tame. The first night we got here I knew that this would be a great place to be living. It also helped that we weren't too far away from the main areas in Osaka or Kyoto.

So far my teacher training has been going pretty well. It reminds me a lot of my CELTA that I did early last year. The format is pretty much the same except that it is all being squeezed in to 2 weeks rather than it being spread over 4 weeks. The only gripe I have with the training so far is having to travel some distance to get to the training school/location.

I have observed two teachers so far and the first was pretty much what PKC were trying to tell us not to be! It was quite funny seeing him but I have to say he was really good with the students and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves in his lessons. The second teacher was pretty cool too unlike the first he was a bit more by the book but that didn't get in the way of him having fun with his lessons and creating his own games for the students to play.

Last Saturday I had my first opportunity at teaching whilst being supervised by a more experienced teacher. Overall I felt it went pretty well apart from the fact that one of the students seemed a little bored/disinterested in the lesson. But after reading the teachers notes in the communication notebook it was clear to see that it wasn't only me that noticed she seemed unfocused in class.

Later that night I was actually able to go to a Dancehall event in Shinsaibashi, Osaka! I had been waiting for the chance to go to somewhere good after arriving here in Japan. I don't really count the place I went to in Nagoya as good because it wasn't really a dance night just old school Reggae.

I got to the club around 12:30am after following the directions I had written down in my notebook. When I got inside the place was pretty empty. Apart from the DJs and Staff there were only 2 of us in there. But I have to expect this in the club scene here in Japan. Normally people don't start showing up until maybe 1:30/2:00am. It wasn't until around that time people started to fill up the club but I was quite surprised when I first got there at how small it was.

I decided to come to this club over any other mainly due to SNOB being one of the DJs on the night. I knew one of the members from SNOB named Yuka mainly through my Dancehall in Japan facebook fan page. But it was actually nice to meet her in person. Both her and her partner Tsune were both very nice and kept bigging me up on the mic...MAD!

There were 3 dance performance that night which were all pretty cool! But I will say that I liked both the first and second ones over the last one. I have posted a video of the first performance below.

Everyone in the club was very friendly. A lot of them kept asking me where I was from and if I was a tourist here in Japan. Fortunately this time I could say that I was an English Teacher and that I will be living in Japan. Although they were all pretty surprised when I said I will be moving to Kumamoto City! I took quite a lot of pictures that night and can't post them all here. If you want to see some of the better ones please have a look at my tumblr photo blog: j2dephotography.tumblr.com

I ended up leaving the club around 6:00am and got back to Takatsuki around 7:00am so was very tired when I got in. But luckily I have the chance to go out again tonight. I will go to another one of SNOB's dances in Shinsaibashi at Sam and Dave 02 called 'Get Your Shots'! Luckily I do not have to teach until 4:00pm tomorrow so I will be alright coming back at 6:00/7:00am that morning...I hope!

11 April 2011

More to come...

Sorry I haven't updated this in a little while. But just in case you didn't know I have arrived safely in Nagoya. Since I have been here I have been fortunate to see some interesting things in the city. The most interesting thing so far was actually being able to see the Sakura in full bloom at Nagoya Castle.

At the end of tomorrow I will be moved to Osaka to complete the remainder of my two week training course which started yesterday. I am quite excited about being moved closer to Osaka city since we will actually be in Osaka prefecture and supposedly we will be somewhere between Osaka and Kyoto. I am really looking forward to checking out some of the reggae clubs in Osaka on the weekend since the reggae scene in Nagoya isn't really saying much unfortunately.

When I next get a chance I will update the blog more thoroughly with more information and pictures. Same goes for the facebook page and youtube channel. But for the mean time please have a look at some of the images I have posted on to the tumblr account: j2dephotography.tumblr.com

Thanks for reading.