Because quite a few months have gone by it looks like I will have to briefly summarise what happened in each month leading up until now.
July was quite interesting for me because I actually decided to go somewhere else in Japan for the first time since I started my new job in Kumamoto. I was luckily enough this month to get my July schedule quite early in June so this gave me enough time to book a trip to Tokyo.
Originally I had planned to spend 2 weeks in Tokyo during the Christmas period but I thought to myself "Hey, I have 3 days off...I could go to Tokyo!" and so I booked my plane ticket. I decided to fly with Skymark mainly offering the cheapest domestic flights in the country. A lot of people I know take the Shinkansen places or the Night Bus but I think this is silly since Skymark offer cheap flights and you can get to your destination in a couple of hours if that.
This was also the month that Japanese Reggae Singer Akane came to Kumamoto as part of her "D-Swagga 4 Life" tour with Baddy-45. It was really nice to see Akane again because she was one of the first Japanese artists that I met/spoke to during my first trip to Tokyo back in January 2010. Like always Akane was really nice and friendly!
My flight to Tokyo was the morning that Akane's event ended so when I finaly got to Tokyo I was really tired because I hadn't slept for a good while. To waste some time before I could check in to my hotel I walked around Shibuya and I noticed some shops that I had been to before had now closed such as Rockers Island and HMV. I guess a lot can change in the space of a year!
This trip to Tokyo was nice because I got to meet a few people in person that I had been communicating with for a while via email and places like Facebook. I ended up going to The event Kachi Kachi at Shibuya Axxcis where I met Shy-N and Chie again. I also got to speak to Issei and Mask from Cross Colours Dancers also. This was the also the first time I got to meet Romain who I had known from Facebook for a little while. It was cool to meet him but it was just a shame that he had to go back to France the next after spending quite a while in Japan. But unfortunately during that time I was still in London so had no way of hanging out with him then.
I also ended up meeting Asian Star again at Caribbean Sunday! I also finally got to meet Youko from Helty Baddy Girls because the first time I came she was in New York. I also saw Yumiko again from Helty Baddy Girls who like the first time I met her was just as nice. The night started off slow mainly because I had to get there early because the last train from my hotel was around 23:50. But it wasn't until really 02:00 that the party really started. Being at the club this night really reminded me of my first trip to Tokyo so it was really good.
During this visit I was actually able to go Asakusa because I didn't have much time during my first trip to Tokyo. It was nice to visit the Sensō-ji temple there because the gate there is quite iconic. It was also nice to spend some time with one of my other friends who took the time to show me around there area.
Overally I had a nice time in Tokyo again but just wish it was longer because I didn't have enough time to spend time with everyone. But there is always the possibility of another trip when I next have 3/4 days off work.
During the end of the month was my first chance to experience Summer School! This was an experience yet it didn't seem as difficult as it was made out to be in previous training sessions. There were three levels that were taught and class sizes for some were as big as 30 or more if all of the students parents attended. For me this was some of my most fun experiences of teaching since the lessons seemed more fun and a lot more of the students were engaged in the lessons. However I did notice a lot of the mothers of the younger children did not really discipline them when they misbehaved and then I realised why they were so naughty during their lessons with me...because they get away with murder when they're at home!
But I had a lot of interesting times during this month.
Just like in June I was luckily enough to get my August schedule early in July so I could plan another trip somewhere. I was thinking to myself where should I go next and then I just decided on Osaka mainly because Skymark only flies to Kobe and Tokyo (Haneda) from Kumamoto Airport.
Unlike the first time I went to Osaka I hoped that I would get more of a chance to see the city and also at the same time do some more tourist type activities. Before going to Osaka I searched on Booking.com to find a hotel with reasonable rates. Luckily I was able to find a decent hotel in Umeda that quite close to the station also.
Whilst I was still in Kumamoto I went to the International Centre there and managed to find a flyer about The Unlimited Pass in Osaka which would allow me free entry to some attractions as well as unlimited travel on certain train lines and the subway. I thought this would be the best and most cost effective way for me to get around Osaka.
I first picked up my Unlimited Pass from The Hankyu Station in Umeda. But unfortunately they only had the manual in Japanese and advised me to go to Osaka station to get an English version of the manual. Once I had the English version of the manual I decided to follow the guide at the back which suggested a good route to take to see quite a few of the attractions. I did however have to keep the Japanese version of the manual because it was in this that the 'Free Entry' coupons were. By the end of the day I was able to see quite a few attractions in the city. I really enjoyed the Pirate Ship ride near the Aquarium and also the Boat Ride in Namba.
Because I was enjoying the pass so much and wanted to go to the Zoo I thought I would try to pay the difference so that I could exchange my 1-Day Pass for the 2-Day version. However when I asked at Namba Station they told me this wasn't possible but maybe if I asked them at Hankyu Station where I got it from it might be possible. When I got to Hankyu Station I told a little lie and said that I had originally asked them for a 2-Day pass and was given the 1-Day pass by mistake. Then then gave me back my 2,000yen and told me that they only sold the 1-Day pass here and that I would have to buy the 2-Day pass from Osaka Station. I then thought to myself if I was really dishonest I could just leave with my 2,000yen since I had already done so much in the day, but I thought no I will go to Osaka station to get the 2-Day pass. When I got to Osaka Station they told me that the 2-Day pass was only available for people with Tourists Visas so I ending up keeping that ¥2,000 after all! ha-ha-ha
The next day I went to Universal Studio Japan! I had heard a lot about the park from people that have been. I was also curious to see how it compared to the one in Florida. There were a lot of people there that day and the queues were quite long at some of the attractions. Some of the rides brought some nice memories of when I was younger at Universal Studios Florida. A lot of the rides were the same as their American counterpart but because all of the introductions to the rides were in Japanese sometimes I didn't get as much out of them because I couldn't really understand what was being said. I also found that a lot of the rides were more family orientated and there was really only one roller coaster. But overall it was a nice place to visit even if it is a little expensive at ¥6,200 but I could have sworn I saw a yearly pass for ¥12,000+...go figure! ha-ha
Later that evening (morning) I went to Gets Your Shot! hosted by SNOB SOUND at Sam & Dave 02 in Shinsaibashi. This wasn't the first time I had been to this event so I knew what to expect. This was also the first time I was able to meet a Japanese Reggae dancer named Chammy. Even though I have spoken to her via Facebook/Twitter I had never actually met her. I was also in luck because she performed a Dance Showcase with her friend Aina. I also met more of the Japanese dancers again and they always seem surprised/find it funny that I know many of the Japanese dance routines and the songs that go with them! I really enjoy SNOB's (Yuka & Tsune) events because Yuka Snob loves dancing and everyone ends up dancing so there is always a lot of energy at the events. I hope one day this type of energy and vibe will be more present at events in Kumamoto.
The next day I pretty much slept in because I was tired from dancing all night. But once again I really enjoyed being in Osaka and was happy that I did something other than just go to the club which I was normally so used to.
This month has gone by so quickly. I am finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable in my job and also with the students. It also nice that I am starting to remember more of their names and sometimes I don't need to give them their name tags.
However this month was the first month for me to experience Parent Observations! After my first week I realised once again there was no reason to be so anxious about it. As far as I am aware the parents had no problems with me because I was there doing what I was supposed to be doing.
Luckily near the end of Parent Observations I was luckily enough to have 4 days off in a row and so decided to go to Okinawa!!! I ended up staying in Naha because it was easy for me to get to the Airport from there. Also the other reason was that I was able to find a hotel that only charged me ￥16,500 for 4 nights which I thought was pretty good! However what I didn't realise was that all of the good things to see/do in Okinawa are not really that close to Naha for example the Aquarium. I read that the Aquarium was about 140mins away and would cost over ￥2,000 to get there and that's not including entrance to the Aquarium and unfortunately I only had around ￥15,000 for the whole trip.
Even though I was in Naha I was able to see some interesting things such as a Chinese Style Garden near my hotel, Kokusai Doori-Street and Shuri Castle which was quite nice since it was quite different to typical castles you see elsewhere in Japan. Whilst I was in Okinawa I was really getting a Chinese vibe from the whole area which was brought back some nice memories for me.
Whilst I was in Okinawa I met up with another friend who I only knew through Facebook. Jarvis was nice he enough to take me around in his car. On the Saturday I got there was his Birthday Party at Club Nest. It was here that I got to see Crossfire from Unity Sound as well as Pikkal King from King Jam Sound who I had met the month previous in Kumamoto. It was nice to meet all these people again and it was also interesting to see a dance in Okinawa where a lot of the people there where Non-Japanese (American Soldiers). However I think I prefer events where the Japanese are more in the forefront rather than the background because it made me feel like I wasn't in Japan and just at a normal dance back in London or maybe New York! ha-ha
Before the dance Jarvis was cool enough to take me to a place called Flex Bar & Grill which served Jamaican food. This was real good because I had been wanting to eat some Jamaican food since I got to Japan and I have to say that their Jerk Chicken was pretty good. During my last night in Naha I went to another bar called Afro Nest which I found a flyer for at my hotel. Once again I tried their Jerk Chicken however it wasn't as good as the Jerk at Flex but it was alright still since it tasted like seasoned chicken.
I had a nice time in Okinawa but what I learned from the trip was that you need more than ￥15,000 and possibly a car/some friends to drive you around. But like I said I had a nice time overall. Also I forgot to say that there was supposed to be a Typhoon when I was there but luckily it was alright just a light sprinkle nothing major which was good thank god!
I would have written some more but I'm a bit lazy and this post is already long enough as it is already. Also I hope to start making more videos and uploading them to my channel so if you have any ideas of what you would like to see please leave a comment on the channel. Thanks again for reading.