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With the end of August in sight, it means that in the next few weeks classes will start up, and the summer holidays will be a thing of the past.

It also means that I’ll get to start teaching at my new school and get an idea of what the teachers and students will be like. So far my main school seems rather high level compared to where I taught previously, and it also looks like I’m going to have to be far more active in terms of creating materials and activities rather than relying on the lessons I did over the past three years. I think that’s a good thing though, because if there is no challenge to your job then your motivation to push yourself begins to wane a little.

It has been tough, though, adjusting to the 90-minute commute times and the 5:20am mornings. I dread to think what I’ll do in the cold of winter if I still don’t have my driver’s license!

This past weekend I had 4 days off thanks to a day’s leave and Obon that saw my school close on Friday. This meant that I had a chance to head off to Tokyo to take care of some paperwork at the South African and Spanish embassies. Unfortunately a tight time schedule and pretty bad rains meant that I couldn’t get any actual sightseeing done, but I got to have a rather wonderful Spanish style omelette rice at Spain Bar Girona in Toranomon Hills and I also got the chance to help out a fellow foreigner who needed some help to navigate the maze that is the Tokyo subway system. To be honest, though, most of the time I have to rely on my iPhone to figure out which trains to take. I have no idea how the people who commute daily in Tokyo can find their way around so quickly!

This coming Friday is the ALT orientation, which I’ve decided to join in despite this being my fourth year as a JET ALT. It will be good to meet and greet the higher ups at the Board of education and see the faces of my fellow JETs who will be living and working near me for the next year or two.

So far the move to Nagano has gone pretty well, and I’m adjusting to my new life here as well as can be expected. Hopefully I can get my driver’s license and then go about doing more touristy things such as hiking and visiting the more remote towns in the mountains that make up most of Nagano.