So, Halloween is next weekend. Usually, I don’t go too crazy when it comes to costumes but continuing the tradition of breaking my routine, I decided to go get one. I headed to Namba with Andrew and we basically spent the whole day wandering around the city, looking for Halloween stuff. Costume selections here are definitely more limited but I managed to come up with an idea: I’m going to be a school delinquent. I got a school uniform and I’m going to gel my hair in some wacky fashion, pop my collar, maybe get a bat and some other shit. Andrew got a bunch of tacky accessories because he’s going to be a host boy. We wandered around Amemura–the “American” district in Osaka. It’s a bit funny to watch a bunch of people wear really tacky hip hop clothing but paying a fortune for it. I also saw a lot girls in lolita clothing…that shit just weirds me out. I don’t know how dressing up like a doll looks cool or even cute…they really look like human dolls and it freaks me out! We were going to meet up with some other people in the evening so we wandered around some more, played some games at the arcade, and bought random stuff. I got yet another geeky phone cover my iPhone. When i saw it, I just had to get it!:
There was still some time to kill so we went to this well-hidden jazz bar. There are tons of bars in Namba, so many that most of them are not even visible to the public eye. Many bars are in tall buildings through narrow hallways; the only way you would know it was there is through the small directory in front of the building. Even when you go through these hallways, all you encounter is the name of the bar and a closed door so basically you have to go inside to even see what the place is like. Needless to say, the bar was amazing. It had all the characteristics I like in a bar (small, mellow, quiet, and classy) but it had a huge selection of jazz! The master there has an enormous catalog of records and you are given a book to select what album you would like to listen to. He tried to get me to play the guitar but I had to tell him I wasn’t able to! The drinks there were a bit pricey but they were really potent and not watered down at all. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long because we had to meet our friends but I will definitely visit again when I’m in Namba. After the short break at the bar, we met with our friends and ate some delicious ramen. That’s when things started going downhill.
A couple of my friends are…a tad more cynical than the average person. They’ve been doing the whole teacher thing for awhile now they definitely see the job differently than I do. I don’t want to say they’re jaded or anything…but they’re definitely not positive about it. They think we’re just there as a clown to entertain the kids and not do much else. I’d have to disagree with that fact. I know I’m not going to be changing the education system or the curriculum but you can still see it as a teaching job and have your kids get something out of it. When I was trying to argue that point, they kept telling me “Oh, silly Diego. I’ve been here for X years, you’ve been here for 3 months. You’ll soon learn how it is.” They weren’t paying attention to what I was saying, they just kept describing me as a naive rookie who was trying to change the world. I’m not trying to change the world though! This started to annoy me really fast because whenever someone describes me as something I’m not, I get pissed off. I really couldn’t get a word in because I kept getting interrupted with “Oh you don’t know how it is yet” or “Well don’t come crying to me when you feel miserable.” as if I have never experienced the shitty sides of a job. Eventually I got tired of not being able to explain my views I just said “Just stop talking to me.” It was an awkward train ride home.
This job is just like any other job, it has its up and downs. While I have only been working for a couple of months, I generally have an idea of what the job is like. You’re here to teach bits and pieces of English to students but you’re definitely not trying to create some curriculum. You teach them very basic things and have them learn it through repetition, games, etc. They don’t always learn fast so you have to keep going over basic things but that’s just how it is. Some students are really happy to see you, some could care less. Some kids are actively participating in class, some are out cold on their desk. Some classes are awesome, some are impossibly hard to teach because they’re loud and inattentive. This is how public school is basically anywhere. I consider my role as a JET as giving my students some firsthand experience using English with a foreigner. The lessons you are given to teach or planned out by your teacher aren’t always the greatest but you can usually make it work somehow. I accepted this as my job and I’m okay with it…I just gotta do my best in making these kids happy and learn a bit of English along the way.
Anyways, the JET’s unofficial motto- “Every Situation Is Different” is very true. Some JETs could be having the time of their life with perfect kids or some could be experiencing hell and dodging incoming objects as they try to teach a rowdy classroom full of delinquents. Not everyone is going to have the same experience in this program and if you keep that in mind, you should be okay. Teaching in Japan isn’t the ultimate dream job (at least to me) but it’s also not the worst job. I have a lot of fun with it actually! My friends have to understand that just because feel a certain way about the job doesn’t mean everyone in the fucking world will as well. There is no right and wrong here and I really wish they could see that. Oh well, whatever. That’s the end of my rant, haha.
This week my Minnesota friends Andrew and Joy are coming to Japan! It was very last minute news and shocked me but they will be staying with me for a couple of days. Mario will also be coming! I took a couple of days off during this week to show them around and with Halloween just around the corner, it’s definitely going to be an eventful end to this month.