Another Year, Another Hobonichi

Whenever September rolls around I scramble on the first day of the month to be one of the first people to order my Hobonichi Techo for the following year. Now if you don’t know what a Hobonichi Techo is then I wouldn’t be surprised. A Hobonichi Techo is really just a Japanese planner or diary, but at the same time it’s a book that prides itself on being a vessel for your thoughts, your life, and anything you want to use it for. If you look at the usage examples on their website you’ll find a million and one ways that people around the world have customized to fit their lifestyles. For a quick refresher you can also read my initial impressions and see what I thought of it when I first started using it back in 2015. Continue reading Another Year, Another Hobonichi

Back in the saddle

So after a long break that started at the end of July when JET contract ended, I’ve had to finally get back into the groove of waking up early and going in to work.

After the wonderful holiday I had back in South Africa and the relaxing week I had back in Nagano, it’s a bit of a shock to my system to go back into school and nothing much has changed. Other than my desk being full of newspapers from the last month or so it could have been just yesterday that I had last come into work. Continue reading Back in the saddle

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

The Snow Cometh

It’s that time of the year again when most of Japan finds itself blanketed under a layer of pristine white snow and my Facebook feed is filled with posts and photos from giddy ALTs who have never seen snow before.

Coming from South Africa I myself was far from ready for my first winter in Japan and I had no idea just how cold it gets here from December onward. One of the first things you come to love is your kotatsu, or heated table, that lets you blissfully sink into a warm and comfortable cocoon and helps you forget all about the mountains of snow outside your front door. Continue reading The Snow Cometh

The Transfer Turntable

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my blog much to my shame. There are many, many reasons why I haven’t had a chance to set aside some time to sit down and knock out a short post or two.

I’ve recently changed schools (for the third time during my JET programme career!) and that means that there’s been a lot of organization and paperwork to get out of the way and it’s only now that I’ve managed to get settled in at my new school. This is the first actual free time I’ve had since then while the summer holidays are in full swing with September being the start of my actual classes with all my new students. Continue reading The Transfer Turntable

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