Vivian's Travel Blog

Destinations: Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Seoul, California, Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, Shiga, Nara, Kobe, Nagoya, Okinawa, Tokyo, Hiroshima), Las Vegas
The cafe I went to over the weekend, forgot to take a picture of my drink #food

The cafe I went to over the weekend, forgot to take a picture of my drink #food

Fucking awesome week: got so much free stuff, won a raffle and got a bag of rice, got a Halloween gift from my jte at the Halloween enkai Friday night, and got a cookie from my IC :) Life is GREAT!!!

Fucking awesome week: got so much free stuff, won a raffle and got a bag of rice, got a Halloween gift from my jte at the Halloween enkai Friday night, and got a cookie from my IC :) Life is GREAT!!!

What I Miss?

Friday, October 17, 2014 (15:43)

     I just finished my last class of the day. By 6th period, the kids are tired, and I’m tired. However, I can always depend on the class clowns to brighten up the mood. If there are too many of them, the class is too rowdy, but one are two, they bring up the energy. When the kids are energetic, I am also energetic. 

     I have no homework to grade, so instead, I decided to update my blog. I swear, I will upload more pictures soon enough. I was thinking about a topic, and this was one of them that popped up in my head. So, let’s get it started: Things I Miss. 

1) Paper towels: Japan is a hand dryer./You carry your own towel society. I, of course, do not carry my own towel around, so my clothes have substituted as my paper towel especially at school. I think I have become less sanitary while in Japan. I miss knowing I have easy access to paper towels, and OMG, do not get my started on trashcans. 

2) Living with people: I know I mentioned this in a previous post, and that is why I did not want to once again put it in the number one spot. With that being said, I of course, miss my family, friends, and having roommates. Suddenly having to live alone, I realized that I have a lot of freedom, but most times, I would trade that to know I have company especially during the typhoon this weekend. The loud wind sounds kept waking me up. Last time, there was a short blackout. I hated being alone in the dark and not being able to sleep through the loud noise. Also, I hated this while studying abroad, and I still hate it while working abroad. I have always been close to my siblings and knowing that they are growing up without me there makes me sad. I want to know what is going on in their lives. 

3) I miss American English and hearing people talk slang: I do hear English being spoken, usually Japanese English/Katakana English when I am in school. If not, then it is when I hang out with the other English teachers, but not all of them are from America. Sometimes, I just miss hearing SoCal slang and stuff, you know. Honestly, I want to hear some ghetto talk. LOL!

4) American sites that do not work in Japan: I miss things like Netflix and Hulu and all those other sites and stuff that are not offered in Japan. Luckily, there are other ways to watch stuff, but still… I very much still am and probably will always be a tv show addict. 

5) Driving: I did not have this problem at all in Kyoto. However, this time, I am in a more rural area. I realized now that in Japan’s more rural areas, people tend to actually drive because public transportation is not as good and things can get quite far. I always hated driving when I was back home, and I had cool family and friends that would usually drive me around. Now I no longer have that luxury. I want to be a princess and get picked up. Well, at least, I want to be able to get somewhere in a car. 

6) Food: LA is so diverse with its food, and it is so easy from my house to walk to good food. Now I can bike to that one big street that has a lot of restaurants, and sometimes I am just too lazy to bike. I realize I dislike biking now more than I did driving when I was back home. I know a lot of people rave over Japanese food, but it is usually too expensive and my basic taste buds do not know what qualifies as good. By the way, ask any other Chinese person, Chinese food in Japan tastes like Japanese food to us. Additionally, I usually just cook since it is cheaper especially since I only buy food that is on sale. Yes, I will reiterate this important point that I am terribly BASIC. 

Those are just some little things I have missed since moving here. I have only been here for only a month and a half, so that list will shrink and grow depending on the day and time. However, I am already transitioning pretty well into my life here. The countryside has really growing on me, though I do miss city life. I do not want worry anyone because life here is really good. Also, on a plus note, from the biking and portion controlled school lunches, I am starting to lose weight. This actually makes me quite happy. I gained a lot of weight during my senior year of college. I was lazy and summer did not help, so… this time, coming to Japan, I was probably at my heaviest time ever, so I am extremely happy to be slimming down due to natural things like biking for my commute and eating less. I was worried I would gain weight from eating more carbohydrates such as rice and noodles everyday, but I will slowly try to eat less of that during school lunch. It is just a little hard since I am generally hungry during lunch time. 

Well, I should end it here. I can already hear myself rambling. I can go on and on about the food here. I realize now, living alone, I talk to myself more than before. I also talk to myself a lot during work. I just like working things through in my head, and I know people don’t understand me anyways besides the Japanese English teachers. Anyways, those are probably the two factors for my increase in rambling…   

Don’t you like this awesome and basic jack o lantern I made for my kids today

Don’t you like this awesome and basic jack o lantern I made for my kids today

Thoughts on My Mind

October 15, 2014 (14:21)

     I get a lot of comments about how it must be really nice to be in Japan and how envious people are of me and what I am doing. Sometimes these compliments really confuse me. First off, they could be doing the same thing. It’s not hard; you just have to first apply. Next, it is still work. It is not like studying abroad when I really did not have any responsibilities (especially if one did not care about grades). I have to be at school every Monday through Friday teaching, correcting, making lesson plans, etc. Teaching is fun, but kids can also be very draining. After work, like anyone else who works, I just want to go home and relax. I do not go out and do things like I did when my classes would end early and when I did not have classes like I did when I was in college. In the end of the day, this is still the adult world, and it is not just all fun and games teaching abroad. Also on my schedule, I enrolled in two different Japanese class, one is on Thursday and the other is on Saturday. The Saturday evening one also has a Wednesday night one, but it ends pretty late meaning I will be home late… I am still thinking about that one, but I probably will not do it. In the end, I may be in a different country, but I don’t think I am enjoying it the same way people are imagining me to be. I love teaching. I love children. I love being in Japan. I am making friends and getting along with my co-workers. It would be nicer in all honesty to be in a big city, but the country life is growing on me. It would be nice to be able to drive and to go to where ever I want, but I think I am losing weight and staying in shape from all the biking. I mean, that’s just life. You win some and you lose some. Moving to another country is hard, there are adjusts you must make. Working in another country has its difficulties, but nonetheless, you have to always look at the positives. Once again, it’s just me spilling my thoughts on tumblr. :) 

#cooking

#cooking

eclipse

eclipse

I want one!!! #okayama #disneystore

I want one!!! #okayama #disneystore

Staying indoors and #cooking

Staying indoors and #cooking

cooking

cooking

Let’s go frolic in the flowers (okayama)

Let’s go frolic in the flowers (okayama)

At First

Friday, September 26, 2014 (9:32)

     Hello, world. Today is a pretty chill day. I do not have first and second period. After the morning staff meeting, I have around 100 minutes of prep time. I am almost done prepping, so I decided it’s time to update my tumblr. 

     At first, arriving in Okayama was not what I expected. As you can tell, I live in a pretty quaint town, and that hit this LA girl hard. While, I was studying abroad in Kyoto, everything was walking distance and if not the train was really convenient. Where I live in Okayama, everything is biking and sometimes even driving distance. I do not understand the bus and I am ‘‘considered close‘‘ to the train station… Anyways, I missed the city life and having a car pretty quickly. However, the countryside is growing on me. I love the blue skies, clear water, biking pass rice fields, it is all very nice. However, damn those bugs. You should know that I stocked UP on insect repellent. Luckily, I like in a new apartment, so it’s not old with bugs and stuff inside. It’s the bugs outside. Anyways, looking at the rice fields and cute houses, I can’t stop thinking that this is how Japanese dramas about the country life looks like. hahaha 

     In addition to adjusting to a more country lifestyle, it was also hard making friends. Since I started later than others, I did not meet/train with any of the other ALTs in my area except one if you remember from my previous post. However, he is a bit far from me. Okayama has the most ALTs, if I remember correctly, and I only knew one that was far away. Also, it is hard making friends at work since you are not there everyday, everyone is actually extremely busy, and the language barrier. Let’s just say, I got homesick pretty fast. I have been shot down by my fellow co-workers a few times when I asked to talk with them during my break because they were actually busy. Also, sometimes it feels like they are afraid to talk to you. I mean, you do get the ones that are really friendly and approach you first, but it’s not like you understand them. Also, since I know my contract is only for one semester, the pessimistic me is wondering if these friendships are even worth it. However, things are getting better. I am making friends with my neighbor who is also an English teacher and I am making friends with some of the locals. But yeah, at first, I felt super lonely especially since I was living alone. Back home, I live with my family and share a room with my sister. My freshmen year of college, I dormed. My sophomore year of college, I rented an apartment with my friends and shared a room with one of them. My junior year, I studied abroad in Hong Kong and Japan. During Hong Kong, I dormed and my roommate was a local. During Japan, I thought I was dorming, but it ended up being a small apartment (more like a room) where you shared the one shower room with the girls on your floor. However, some of my floor-mates and apartment-mates were also study abroad students. So even though I was alone in my own room, it was easy to make friends and stuff.[Sidenote: I thought oh so this is the typical size for a Japanese apartment, which meant I was pleasantly surprise at the size of my current apartment. I still think it is huge, but then again, I only have two suitcases of stuff to fill it up with.]  My senior year, I rented out a house with my friends and shared a room with two other girls. Therefore, I have never had my own room except during those five months studying abroad in Kyoto, but it is completely different having your own room to having your own apartment/truly living alone. I like the privacy of doing whatever I want, but in all honesty, I miss the company more. I miss having someone to debrief my day with; yes, I am talking about you Tandy. hehehe It’s nice to come home after school/work and just see a familiar loving face. However, I no longer have that. My roommate, Jackie, told me now I had to wait until I get married. THE FUCK! I wonder if there is a roommate option, and if there is, for next time (if there is a next time), should I take it? Anyways, wow that was an out pour of thoughts. I do not even want read over it due to the fact that I am a bit embarrassed by my own thoughts. Well, that’s that. I want to take some time and thank all the friends who skyped with me, lined me, or kakaotalk me when the first pang of loneliness hit. And boy, did it hit hard. There will probably be other moments where I will feel homesick or maybe a little lonely from missing my friends back home, but I think that closing in on my first month here, I have gotten a lot stronger.

Shoutout to: Melissa, William, Lillian, Jennie, Tiffany, and Kyle (with)
Special thanks to: Jenny, Tandy, Jane, and Ross
I love you all!!!  

another picture of my view: okayama, japan

exploring okayama station

my view in okayama