Tuesday, September 26, 2006

snapshot of the week



a naked sculpture watches a free foot bath in Hakone's Open Air Museum, day trip from Tokyo.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

greener grass

1st week back summary

it was both a busy week. I think Ill like being a sub. It means I can be anal retanively organized (oh the shopping around for orgnaizers! such joy). it allows me more freedom to be pushier with sales (something I secretly enjoy but dont like to do with regular students who Ill see every day forever). It pushes me to be a role model and that keeps me on my toes. so thats all good. I think Ill like it more than normal teaching.

and I was very afraid of what the consequences of what the grass is greener syndrome would be. some of my friends are being a little weird. Im having kind of a mess with my apartmentbut its doable.

but in the end, I realized another thing that was bothering me about ABC was that I wasnt really a teacher. I had no authority over my class. The curriculum was micro managed from above. The head teacher (though I think she would have gotten better) micromanaged in the most annoying way. Dont laminate it in separate pieces it needs to be one piece do it again.

now, as a sub, as a professional who knows how get shit done, Im told what needs to be done and left to it. period. I have textbooks to follow and class structures to follow but how I get it done is my own choice. my own teaching method. my own ideas. my own classes. and its so much more rewarding.

somehow I thought a lot of the chaos in my life could be fixed with a different job. and I think fewer hours could have helped. a walk to work rather than the trains certainly would. so its not without some disappointment that Im back at the GE . OS rat race. Its not without some resignation to this way of Tokyo living. but it will be OK. it helps that there is an end to it. There is a plan that will take me farther.

Next week is a three-day weekend and I think Ill go and check out Kyoto. Get a break from the particular heart beat of Tokyo.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

cold again

this is totally not blog worthy.

it's gotten cold all of a sudden. if anything, the weather in Tokyo is fickle. 5am sat night I was happy in a tank top and now I'm freezing in the rain.

my air conditioner hasn't caught on though. it's still blowing cold air. I pick up the remote. hit some buttons. it beeps. it's still cold.

and then I realize, for me, in my little version of culture shock, not being able to work the air conditioner/heater with out spending half and hour with the Kanji dictionary is one of the top ten frusterations of living in Japan. strange food? no problem. oh, I'm eating raw horse... whatever. everyone calling me blond, forgivable. wearing makeup to work, something I can get used to.

cold air when I want hot... infuriating.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

the adventure continues

I know this decision is not one that everyone will totally support, but maybe after a proper explanation, it'll make sense.

I've returned to Ye Ol' Eikaiwa as a sub-teacher.

Here's a break down of my reasoning:
1) I need to find a doctor. I messed up my wrist in July and it's gotten a lot worse after schlepping around toddlers for a week. I can't ride my bike because it hurts. I can't braid my hair. I started to hesitate before catching falling children. The pre-school didn't offer med. insurance or very much money. I'm sure a doc will want to x-ray me at least. It's not something I can afford to do without work insurance and it's not something I can really afford not to do either.

2) I needed to find second job anyway for money. after the stress of finding another job, I'd be working more hours for less money than I would with Ye Ol' Eikaiwa. and, in the end I'd be way more stressed with 2 or 3 jobs than just one.

3) the lack of intelligent conversation will seriously make the LSATs harder in the spring. A sampling:
yea!!! potato.
yea!!! potato.
yea!!! potato.
...yea! potato.
yep. potato.
uh hu, potato.
potato.
enough with the potato!!!!
(patient smile)
oh look! a carrot!


4) Subbing will be fun because I get to train new teachers and be a problem solver and being a "she'll get it done right" person is exciting. I think it'll be a good type of challenging.

5) the old trainer who treated me and all other teachers like dime-a-dozen lazy crap, was demoted. He was insensitive, unprofessional, disorganized, etc etc. He was a bad boss so the higher-ups demoted him to teacher. The new trainer is much better. He's shown that he respects me and has worked hard to get me to come back. He has already proven to be more reasonable and organized than the last and I respect him more.

So that's the deal. The guilt and disappointment of leaving the pre-school is mostly gone already. It wasn't pretty, but that's just the way it goes. I've got good things ahead with Ye Ol' Eikaiwa. {{Edit: I'd like to say I'm done with the guilt but it's not true. The people at ABC are good folks and I feel horrible that I had to leave so soon and didn't give proper notice. I'm sad that I disappointed them. I'm sad that the kids got attached to me and I got attached to the kids after only one week. but I need to see a doctor.... and that's just the bottom line, I guess}}

Here's the tentative Long Term Plan, for those who like to be informed of such things. Others of you, feel free to laugh at my misconceived notion that I can shape my future. But plans make me happy. So this is the plan:

Use three day weekends to go to Kyoto, Nara, Sendai, ect. There are a number of Japanese Bank holidays in the Fall, so a traveling I will go. Auditions for travel partners are commencing as we speak.

Come back to the states for Christmas. Details TBA.

Take the LSAT in the spring (yes, itâs offered in Tokyo) send off applications in the Fall. My LSAT score will determine which schools I apply for but probably most, if not all, on the W. Coast.

Basically explore Japan as much as possible for the next year on week or shorter vacations while saving up lots of money. The promotion to sub will probably let me save at least $500/month even after weekend trips.

So save $10K and explore close to "home." Leave Japan winter 2007, visit 'merica and then travel S. America for 6 months. Be in Brazil for Carnival, volunteer in wine WWOOF farms in Chile, dance the tango in Buenos Aires... Come back, settle into whatever university town Iâve chosen and kick ass in Law School fall 2008.

sound like a plan? yeah, I think so.

the adventure begins! er, the adventure continues!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

over reacting?

ok. so I may have over reacted just a skish. I mean, me over-reacting like never happens, not even as much as sarcasm.

that said, Im still planning to take the LSAT in Feb. and shoot for Law school 2008, but the pre-school job may not be as bad as I thought. Its just that when I think about a good 100,000 yen cut in pay every month and living in an area that encourages me to spend more than before, I got a little panicky (whoa, thats the RIGHT spelling?? Im shocked). but maybe it wont be so hard to make up. Ive got one private student 20,000/month. a kids thing that may be 40,000 and I havent even been sucked into the GABA demon

(an aside: GABA is this “upstart” English company that only offers private lessons and runs really aggressive ad campaigns both to recruit teachers and students. The student ads say things like “why would you want a group lesson? you know the English schools just want to make money on you?” –very loose translation. and they are a leach company that doesn’t offer 1)visa sponsorship 2)any guarantee of wage 3)minimal or no benefits. but, you decide your own schedule, vacation, etc. so, I’ve applied and I guess I’ll find out if they are worth it)

but yeah, the panic has blown over and I apologize. Its no wonder everyones rolling their eyes at me with a shut the fuck up already, you havent even given your new job a chance attitute. you are all right. Im going to give this a proper chance before properly panicking.

and again if anyone has any lawyery contacts/rent-a-mentor types, let me know.

and as a ps: if you are curious (or procrastinating) my preschool has a website http://www.abcjuban.com/
we are the Juban, pronounced like Jew Band, without the 'd'

Saturday, September 02, 2006

plans to take over the world, one microbe at a time

I have a plan. and I’m the type of girl who likes a plan, so I’m feeling so much better now that I have a vague plan. this plan does not involve 2 year olds or test tubes. My new job was a good idea but I think a very poor choice over all. I’m so much smarter than this. Maybe 3 or 4 or 5 year olds would have been OK but the repetition of a 18month old is going to drive me nuts very very soon. I’ve made a mistake. and for all the benefits, it pays so little that those long vacations are going to be huddled around instant noodles writing on my blog because I can’t afford plane tickets. so I’d/I’ll have to get another job anyway and then I’ll be just as busy as before…. I’m not sure how I will fix it in the short term but I have a new long term plan and I want people to weigh in on it.

It’s called LAW SCHOOL 2008.

What the wha???? you ask. well, it’s been on my mind for a while now. I mean what can you do with a biochem degree when you don’t want to be a lab rat again? You can teach. You can be a forensic freak. You can write. You can give up your specialty and do some thing completely different. Or, you can go into law. I’ve heard that biotech/patent/ molecular bio/pharmaceutical type lawyers are in high demand now. I’m having trouble confirming that by google but it’s what I heard from grad students who defected to the law school.

things I wish I knew and maybe someone can fill me in on:
my perfect career would involve a job where I can talk to people. not constantly like as an English teacher or sales-type. but on a regular basis. somehow I’ve become a verbal person, despite all the indications otherwise, and I kinda being a people person.
does anyone think this is completely counter to a biotech lawyer?

I think this could have the advantage of always learning about cool things coming into the field but would naturally be tedious. that’s fine. I have a special place in my heart for tedium. but does anyone know people who have gone this route? is it boring? Is it challenging?

I have so many questions right now and I have a long time line to sort them, but any input would be super welcome. Comment please!!