Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why do I have stress when I shouldn't?

RF7MQHD237TN45RKB6PJ6DE3HCBOREN6   Often, I find myself having trivial worries pop up in my mind now a days. All I seem able to do is find something new to dread or worry about when I get over older worries. The big changes at work recently have been keeping my mind full of worries I'd rather not think about. Recently, I have been worrying about how I will be received and what the staff and students will be like at my new junior high school. I had my first classes with my new junior high school on Tuesday and it ended up being just fine. I worried for nothing.

I was blessed with a fairly clear face during my teenage years and I never had that many pimples since I graduated from college. My anxieties have gotten the best of me and form pimples in a few choice parts of my face that are highly visible to others. My "stress" pimples seem to form in the middle of my forehead between my eyebrows (like a Hindu) or on the side of my mouth where my moustache would end if I grew one. Its really annoying to get pimples in my later 20s but I guess I should be happy I am still young enough to get pimples.

My life would be so much better if I had a kill switch for my pimples. I know I am feeling anxious but my body doesn't need to give me visual cues to how I feel also. This has been a really silly blog entry but its nice to dump these ideas somewhere. I kind of feel better now.

Tour guide for a week.

DSC00051 My mom visited me over my spring break. She couldn't have chosen a better time to visit me. Her timing was perfect to see the world famous Japanese sakura (cherry) tree flowers in full bloom.
I am very happy and relieved that my mom made it to my city safely. I was very worried that she would get lost or freak out from Japan overload once she landed, but she handled herself quite well with a little help from some strangers. Six degrees of separation really does seem to come in play often in my life, especially when it concerned my mother's bus ride to Ruyo station (a train station about three miles from my home.) Apparently she met another woman who was also going to Ryuo to visit her son who has a similar job as me and actually knew me too. Go figure. So thanks to that lady's help, my mom's first experience in Japan wasn't as rough as I had anticipated.
DSC00011 My mom and I ended up visiting a few big tourist spots in Japan during our long week together. Our first stop was Kyoto, where we visited a few temples and shrines like Kinkakuji and Kyomizudera. My girlfriend, Yuko was a great help on our trip to Kyoto. I think my mom and her got a long pretty well. We ended up staying at a really nice hotel called the Hearton where I was able to get the much needed rest I deserved after a long day of walking.
DSC00064 The next day we traveled to Nara. We didn't see very much in Nara but it happened to be more interesting to my mom than a bunch of historic temples and shrines. I think she liked Nara better because of deer park. In Nara, deer run free through the parks and streets year round. They are used to human contact and kind of depend on people to feed them special deer crackers which are about 50 cents a piece. The deer are really cute and even bow for crackers. It is too bad there aren't any other places like that in Japan I could have taken her to. I think she prefers seeing animals and nature more than anything else in Japan.
DSC00045 I also took my mom to a bunch of cities in Tokyo to give her a taste of what its like to be in one of the biggest cities in Asia. We visited a few famous temples and landmarks like, Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace near Tokyo Station. After a few days of wading through the ocean of humanity that is Tokyo, we spent our last few days in Yamanashi. We went to a couple of national parks like Shosenkyo to see a nice waterfall and other natural structures. But the highlight of the trip for my mom was Mt. Fuji. She was really pushing to see Mt. Fuji the whole time we were together.  Unfortunately for her Mt. Fuji is only open to the public during a very short time frame of three weeks between July and August. Mt. Fuji is incredibly cold and dangerous year round despite Japan being DSC00012 unbearably humid during the summer months. But thanks to Yuko, we were able to drive up the mountain a few thousand feet to check it out up close. My mom really appreciated that and now she can say she's been on Mt. Fuji, although I think seeing it from a distance is just as good.
DSC00004 Our week together went by at a pretty good speed. I feel we got to see plenty of interesting things she can tell her friends about for plenty of years to come. Now she can scratch off Asia from her list of places to visit.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Its like starting all over again.

yotsuba oww The new school year just started in Japan about a week ago. With a new school year comes new faces for both the staff and students. I was hoping things wouldn't change much at my primary junior high school I work at but things did change, a lot! This year my primary junior high school is short one English teacher compared to last year, so I now have to teach 1st graders (7th graders in America) with the art teacher who doesn't really know English. At first, I was really worried about how teaching English with the art teacher would work out but it looks like it will work out somehow. I've had to change my class style a bit to accommodate for the change but I think I've had a good first impression with the 1st graders.
The only thing that is kind of disappointing about my primary junior high school is that I only teach English with one of the two English teachers. The other new English teacher is too busy teaching regular classes to add me into her schedule which is too bad. It's not her fault though, its just how the staffing worked out this year. I doubt I'll really get to know her which is really a shame because she seems like a nice lady. I really miss my original English teaching staff and I wish at least two stayed so I could have a full staff like last year. At least I still have one familiar face to work with.
As for my new elementary school, it is like a breath of fresh air. We only meet once a week on Tuesdays but I already feel as if they've accepted me into their school as a regular. Teaching English to little kids is really exhausting but it is also fun since they all are so full of energy and more willing to do stuff compared to their older junior high peers. It seems I worried too much about adding new schools to my work load because every thing has worked out somehow for the best. I am super relieved!
I guess since I am on a positive note I want to share one little neat thing happened to me on Monday after school. Normally, I leave school an hour or two before students go home, but Monday I stuck around for a CPR seminar. On my way out from school I met a couple of graduated 3rd graders from last year. They told me they really miss being at my school and especially miss my classes. They said that I made school fun. I was really impressed and it was just the thing I needed to lift my sprits. I always felt as if I never really connected with the past third graders but it's nice to have a little closure.
Next week I'll visit my other junior high school. Hopefully I receive just as warm as a reception as I have from my other schools. I miss you Ms. Saito and Ms. Yoda!