Well, not quite, but almost. In three days I will have been living in Japan for a full month. And, let me tell you, that month has gone by fast. At this point, I’ve started working out of my base school rather than the Board of Education, but I’m taking a two-week intensive Japanese course in the afternoons (my BOE counts it as work, so I’m not taking time off for it), so I’m only at school from 8 till noon. Which is fine because it’s summer vacation and there is almost nothing for me to do at school. I’ve become an expert at laminating, and I made a PowerPoint for my self-introduction to my students, and I did some Japanese homework. Oh, and drank tea.
It’ll get a lot more interesting when school starts up and I get to meet my students. All the elementary schools in Japan teach with 英語ノート (English Notebook), so my lessons are largely set for me, but I’m really excited to meet my kids. I also really like the Japanese teachers that I’ve met so far and I’m sure the other two schools will be totally fine. I also get to teach in the special ed class for one lesson a week, which is unexpected, but I’ve been told by other JETs that special ed classes are great.
As for the Japanese class, I was pleasantly surprised to test into level four. The class has five levels, five being the highest, so level four is pretty awesome considering I wasn’t able to take Japanese senior year. The interview part of the placement test cracked me up because the Japanese lady interviewing me pulled out my written test and opened it to the page using passive and causative passive, and was like, “This section has a lot of mistakes, you really need to study, but your speaking is quite good, so we’re going to put you in level four.”
I also feel good about the class in class because I’m kind of ahead. I’m not saying I’m the best or anything, but I’m definitely not struggling, which is nice. And someone told me that I have really nice intonation when I speak Japanese. Really, it’s just because I’ve formally studied before, including my semester in Japan, but it’s still great not to flail when I’m asked a question. And it’s really good that we’re studying passive/causative passive because I hate them and always forget when to use them and which is which. English doesn’t really work this way and I just don’t find it intuitive to rely that heavily on passive voice.
(By the way, if you aren’t a grammar person, passive voice in English generally is a conjugation of “to be” (is, was, were, has been…) followed by a past participle (typically a verb ending in “-ed”). You see it a lot in scientific writing because people think it’s objective when really it’s just less clear. And that is your grammar lesson for the week – bet you didn’t know reading my blog could be so educational.)
And that’s all I’ve got for tonight. I have a lot of other things I could write about, but this is just another life update. I’ll try to get back in the habit of properly updating soon, with recaps of more specific events. For now, this is me letting you know that, yes, I am still out here and, no, I haven’t forgotten about you.