Tuesday, August 7, 2007

First week back in Japan!

Well, it has been over a week now that I have arrived back in Japan. After a very long and boring orientation in Tokyo I was flown to my host prefecture. For those not in the know a host prefecture, or city/town, is a reference to a local Board of Eduction in Japan that has hired a native English speaker through the JET Program (HAHA no “me” at the end ya limy bastards!) to teach English classes.

I have been applying for this position for the past year. It is a long and arduous process but well worth the effort. To say the least, JET's are paid ridiculous amounts of money compared to the Japanese teachers we will be working with. They all know this and probably just add it to the long list of reasons to further differentiate foreigns from themselves. Yes, we are all lazy and the only way we will put up with the Japanese system is if large sums of money are thrown at us.

My first week has been great! I have a huge apartment with two bedrooms, a living area, and a brand new bath. (Apparently the woman before me complained so much that they actually replaced her entire bathroom!) I have spent most of my free time so far cleaning the place up and throwing out large amounts of pink doilies, blankets, pillows, cups, clothes, place mats, etc. I think the JET before me should be submitted to a mental institute for an abnormal obsession with the color pink.

It has been a busy week but my supervisor and I found time to visit the Nebuta Festival in Aomori City. This festival is HUGE. It lasts almost a week with two hour parades of dancers, floats, and huge drums every night. The last night there is a fireworks show. We caught the Monday night parade which turned out to be the largest with over 22 floats. The Japanese sure know how to celebrate! I have heard a few theories about the history of Nebuta, from a celebration of the departure of troops to war, to a theory that the general who was sent north to subdue the barbaric tribes in the 800s used huge lanterns shaped like demons as a scare tactic.

Every year the JET's are given a chance to participate in the festivities. They can rent costumes, or buy, and dance in one of the groups. While this sounds like a once in a lifetime chance I decided to pass this year. It wouldn't have been the first time I have participated in a Japanese festival and I really didn't feel like crashing at a fellow JET's apartment in Aomori City for a night nor did I feel like trying to reserve a hotel for the night. Living in Kuroishi without a car my last chance to get home is at 9:30 from Hirosaki City which really limits my late night travel distance. I figure next year I will be more settled in and can fully take in the festivities, late night drinkin and all!


Annie said...

ShamaLama! Smatt and I are thrilled to be back in ShamaLama Land. Cool blog. We miss you too! But now we can watch your every move via the blog.

But I'm confused, what's wrong with pink doilies...We were thinking about sending you some...

Shamalama said...

Little pink doily, little pink doily~ I will return the favor by sending you some J-porn!!