The Curse of the Middle Name

One of my pet peeves on about living in Japan is just how hard it can be sometimes to get things done when you have a middle name.

The last month or two have seen me frantically trying sort out a bevy of accounts that I’m trying to move over to my new bank account and my new credit card. Every few weeks I find a letter from one company or the other saying that I have to redo my payment change request since the names don’t match. This of course sees me having to go through all the steps of filling out more paperwork and frantically hoping that this time around the company will somehow accept my application. Continue reading The Curse of the Middle Name

Farewell JET!

Five years on the JET programme has now officially passed with my final JET contract coming to an end at the end of July this year. Whenever you come to the end of five years in any sort of job it is a big adjustment to move on to the next thing in your life.

That’s part of the reason why I’ve been so scarce with spots over the last several months. I’ve had to go through for interviews and check into studying for a postgrad degree all while still trying to juggle my day to day classes and lesson planning. Not the easiest of schedules as you might well imagine! Continue reading Farewell JET!

Saying Goodbye

April is a time of year in Japanese schools that I’ve written about before, but despite that it still hasn’t gotten any easier every year to see teachers I’ve come to know well move on to other schools.

This year I’ve had to say goodbye to one of my favorite teachers at my visit school as she has had to move on to a new school after 8 years of teaching at my current visit school. Continue reading Saying Goodbye

Summer Grumbles

If there is any time of the year that I feel ‘meh’ then this is it. The change of the seasons means that we’re in that zone right between spring and summer where the weather is just nice enough but has started tending towards being humid and sticky during some parts of the day.

Back in South Africa I was fortunate enough to live in Cape Town where we have mild winters and rather dry and hot summers and while the summers could get rather high temperatures there was always the option of jumping in the pool or heading off to the beach with friends to cool down. Continue reading Summer Grumbles

Go Nuts for Donuts!

Coming from South Africa meant that I grew up sorely lacking in the field of donuts and coffee. We’ve got very few coffee chain stores on the scale of Starbucks (heck, last I heard we only had a grand total of 3 Starbucks in all of South Africa). Donuts too, eluded me with Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts and countless other donuts stores opting to evade the South African market for greener pastures. Continue reading Go Nuts for Donuts!

Sakura Time!

April is here (or half way done already by the time I’m writing this) and with that Japan has burst out into cherry blossom mania. The blooming of cherry blossoms in Japan is taken pretty seriously with weather reports even having a special forecast focusing on when each part of Japan can expect to see their local cherry trees in bloom. Stores are filled with sakura flavored snacks and drinks, and most towns will hang paper lanterns along the streets and at parks to herald the end of winter and the start of spring. Continue reading Sakura Time!

Driving Trials and Tribulations

Driving in Japan is an exercise in patience. First you need to go through what seems like a million miles of red tape just to get your license. Afterwards comes the second hurdle, actually being able to use your car to and from work.

Companies here in Japan are notoriously strict when it comes to allowing their employees to use their own vehicles to commute to and from work and even more strict with foreigners looking to do the same. Continue reading Driving Trials and Tribulations

Friday Ramblings

It just struck me today that in a few months I’ll be entering my fifth year as a JET ALT this coming July.

I stumbled on the email I got from the South African embassy all the way back in 2011 to tell us the details of our final arrangements which was pretty nostalgic to read. At that point I had no idea what my school would be like or what my town was like or how to even teach English classes! Continue reading Friday Ramblings