Working in Japan

Lately I’ve been severely lacking any fucks to give concerning my current work situation, and I have fully accepted it as a good thing. So good, in fact, that I wish I had learned to stop excessively caring and worrying a lot sooner. It would have saved me from a ton of headaches, emotional meltdowns, and a significant number of gray hairs that have been popping up all over my head.

Despite my recent lack of emotional entanglement, I have been performing my job surprisingly well! I think I am finally discovering the balance between not overexerting myself, and learning to just go with the flow. As result, the days have been flying by, and I’m left feeling a little more accomplished. Less worrying means more time I can put into studying, and more time I can put into studying means the faster I can reach my goals.

What are my goals exactly? To pass the JLPT N1 and get the hell out of here.

There are very few decisions that I regret making since coming to Japan, but leaving the countryside is one of them. Aside from missing the quiet, beautiful landscape, I also miss my previous job. The pay wasn’t nearly as nice, but the work was relatively easy, and I felt that I learned much more about traditional Japanese culture than I do now. I wish I had stayed there for at least another year or two before transitioning to my current residence in the city.

Working at an eikaiwa (English conversation school) has been one of the most challenging tasks I’ve dared to take on. The days are busy, the hours are long, and it feels like I only have a few hours after coming home before it’s time to go to bed and prepare for it all over again. It has been difficult to focus on my real passion–learning Japanese–in the midst of handling my hectic work life.

However, I am pleased to say that I am making progress. It’s not easy finding the willpower to study for 2-3 hours each night while working 40 hours a week, but dammit I’m doing it!

Here’s to reaching my goals!

Good News!

I passed the JLPT N3! I know it’s not as impressive as the N1 or N2, but I’m still pretty happy that I managed to scrape by with a passing score. I was really worried immediately after I took the test, because I ran out of time on the reading section and had to guess for the last five questions. Additionally, the listening section was brutal! I was not prepared for it at all, but it ended up being my highest score.

Now I’m debating whether or not I should attempt to take the N2 this July. I know that I could finish learning the kanji with ample time remaining, but the grammar and listening sections worry me. I still don’t have a good grasp on the N3 grammar, so I’m not sure how well I can cope with cramming that along with the N2 stuff over the next five months.

More importantly, I would like to work on boosting my speaking ability. It has come a long way since I first arrived in Japan, but not nearly as much as you would expect for someone who has been here almost two years. My progression has been fairly slow, mainly due to the fact that I rarely get to speak Japanese on a daily basis. At work it’s nothing but English, English, and more English. Then when I come home I continue to speak nothing but English with my boyfriend.

This week I’ll try to make a more solid attempt at holding conversations in Japanese. Plus, I’ll finally crack down on grammar.

Hello from Kanagawa

I really have to be better about updating my blog! Life has been pretty hectic for me since the end of March. Not only did I start a new job, but I also moved (twice) and have been fumbling around trying to figure out how to get settled in. Needless to say my stress levels have been through the roof. Sometimes I question whether I made the right decision to leave my quiet little home in Moka.

I am constantly trying to reassure myself that I did. Only time will really tell I guess. However, one thing that I know for sure is that I need to work on being more optimistic and grateful for the things that I do have, and stop worrying about the things that I don’t. Sure, my new apartment is smaller than my last and is next to a noisy construction site, but I still have a lot to appreciate.

My new job has been a really big transition from my previous one. The new company that I work for pays well, and has pretty good benefits. However, that all comes at a price and I find that my free time has diminished while my responsibilities have skyrocketed.  Solo teaching takes quite a bit of effort and planning. For the first few weeks I was almost tempted to give up and run back to Tochigi.  Luckily, I stuck with it and seem to be fairing a little better. I think it will definitely continue to get easier with time.

Right now I teach around 4-6 classes a day for five days a week. I thought that I would enjoy working evenings, but I get home so late that there isn’t time left for anything else. I teach students anywhere from 4 years old to 32. It has been pretty challenging figuring out what to do for each class, and how to cater to the needs of specific students. I realize that I’ll never be a perfect teacher, but regardless of that I’ll always seek improvement.

My next major goal is to move into a bigger apartment, and save up enough money to visit my family in the states. Austin has been gone for about a month to process out of the Navy, and although having the apartment to myself is nice, I really miss him and know we need to find some place better to live.