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Wobbegong

Wobbegong Twists and Turns

Honestly just curious  

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Oh, that area is quite lovely (but to be fair, most places in Japan are quite lovely)

 

1 hour ago, Wobbegong said:

a valiant effort to resist the unagi.

There is no way to resist unagi-don.  Resistance is futile :D

 

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So many exciting things happening!!!
That sentence took way too much effort >.>
I feel like the Japanese you posted lol.

Congrats!!! I hope you'll have a blast!

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

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lmao that translation

 

but ooooooh japan in the spring? :D this seems super thrilling, but yeah, a bit of a whirlwind. (Tip : try to say goodbye to someone only once, otherwise it really starts draining on emotional energy) 

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Thank you to all of you who've stopped by! Sorry I'm not more responsive. Probably by around April 13/14th ish I'll be nosing my way back here more, for anyone looking for an update. I'm shipping out on Saturday, and then I have about a week of orientation and getting settled (three days to settle?? ugh) and then I'll be working on setting up some new routines, so. :)

 

On today's episode of unnecessarily difficult pre-departure tasks (spoilered for length): 

Spoiler

Me: Hi, I want to roll over an IRA to Fidelity but I already have a rollover account and my only option appears to be starting a new one? Can I roll over into an existing rollover account? 

Fidelity Agent: Sure! Is the IRA you want to roll over already managed by Fidelity? 
Me: No. 

FA: No problem! In that case, you'll need to contact whoever is managing it and have them send a check made out to us, FBO you, with your account number in the memo, and we'll handle the transfer. (If you withdraw the money from them yourself and just bring it to us, you'll be taxed for making withdrawals early.) You can either have them send the check to you and bring it to us, or have them send it directly to us. We get tons of those checks every day, so if you're leaving it's probably the better option. Here's our address.  
Me: Great! Thanks so much! :):):) 

 

[After half an hour of being yanked around the phone tree asked for a PIN I didn't have]


Me: Hi, I'd like to close my account with you and roll over my funds to Fidelity. 

VOYA Agent: Would that be Fidelity Investments, or just Fidelity? 
Me: ...? Fidelity Investments. 

VOYA: Do you have an IRA account with them?
Me: Yes. [Account number.] 
VOYA: In order to proceed with this transaction, can you confirm that you received this tax document from the IRS describing all of the relevant details in the past 30 days? 
Me: ...no? The government has no idea what I'm doing with my 401k. 
VOYA: You have to have received the document. 
Me: I'm leaving the country on Saturday, can they get it to me by then? 
VOYA: Uh. I could just read it to you? 
Me: Great! Let's do that! 
VOYA: [reads the document. Pauses dramatically between paragraphs -- maybe just catching her breath, but long enough pause that I think we're done EVERY TIME] 
VOYA: Can you confirm understanding of this information? 
Me: Yes! 
VOYA: Great. So you have a regular and a Roth IRA with us, so we'll have to send two different checks. Let's do the Roth first, it'll be for this amount. Can you confirm that [my home address] is your current address? 
Me: It is (until Saturday), but I need you to send the check directly to Fidelity. 
VOYA: We're only allowed to send it to the address we have on file. 

[lots of back and forth]
Me: ......fine. 
VOYA: Since you're not going to be there to accept the checks, please also confirm that Fidelity will allow someone else to deposit the checks on your behalf. 
Me: (Well I didn't ask because they said you could send it directly to them???? But I've given someone power of attorney so I'm sure it will be fine.) Yup, confirm. 

VOYA: Ok, so the other check... 

Siiiiigh. By contrast, here is my entire conversation with StateFarm to end my car insurance: 
-calls, phone rings, gets picked up by a real person on the second ring, no phone tree at all- 
Me: Hi, I'm Wobbegong SharkFace and I'm calling to cancel my car insurance. 
SF: SharkFace? Hang on... 2015 Fiat? 
Me: That's me! 
SF: Can you just confirm your address for me? 
Me: [my address] 
SF: Great. And when did you want to close the account? 
Me: Today would be wonderful. (Car has already been picked up on new insurance account, guys, don't worry.) 
SF: Ok, you're all set. A check for the extra you paid will be sent to your address. Have a great day! 

The whole experience took about a minute. 

 

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Thank you to all of you who've stopped by! Sorry I'm not more responsive. Probably by around April 13/14th ish I'll be nosing my way back here more, for anyone looking for an update. I'm shipping out on Saturday, and then I have about a week of orientation and getting settled (three days to settle?? ugh) and then I'll be working on setting up some new routines, so.
 
On today's episode of unnecessarily difficult pre-departure tasks (spoilered for length): 
Spoiler Me: Hi, I want to roll over an IRA to Fidelity but I already have a rollover account and my only option appears to be starting a new one? Can I roll over into an existing rollover account? 
Fidelity Agent: Sure! Is the IRA you want to roll over already managed by Fidelity? 
Me: No. 
FA: No problem! In that case, you'll need to contact whoever is managing it and have them send a check made out to us, FBO you, with your account number in the memo, and we'll handle the transfer. (If you withdraw the money from them yourself and just bring it to us, you'll be taxed for making withdrawals early.) You can either have them send the check to you and bring it to us, or have them send it directly to us. We get tons of those checks every day, so if you're leaving it's probably the better option. Here's our address.  
Me: Great! Thanks so much!  
 
[After half an hour of being yanked around the phone tree asked for a PIN I didn't have]

Me: Hi, I'd like to close my account with you and roll over my funds to Fidelity. 
VOYA Agent: Would that be Fidelity Investments, or just Fidelity? 
Me: ...? Fidelity Investments. 
VOYA: Do you have an IRA account with them?
Me: Yes. [Account number.] 
VOYA: In order to proceed with this transaction, can you confirm that you received this tax document from the IRS describing all of the relevant details in the past 30 days? 
Me: ...no? The government has no idea what I'm doing with my 401k. 
VOYA: You have to have received the document. 
Me: I'm leaving the country on Saturday, can they get it to me by then? 
VOYA: Uh. I could just read it to you? 
Me: Great! Let's do that! 
VOYA: [reads the document. Pauses dramatically between paragraphs -- maybe just catching her breath, but long enough pause that I think we're done EVERY TIME] 
VOYA: Can you confirm understanding of this information? 
Me: Yes! 
VOYA: Great. So you have a regular and a Roth IRA with us, so we'll have to send two different checks. Let's do the Roth first, it'll be for this amount. Can you confirm that [my home address] is your current address? 
Me: It is (until Saturday), but I need you to send the check directly to Fidelity. 
VOYA: We're only allowed to send it to the address we have on file. 
[lots of back and forth]
Me: ......fine. 
VOYA: Since you're not going to be there to accept the checks, please also confirm that Fidelity will allow someone else to deposit the checks on your behalf. 
Me: (Well I didn't ask because they said you could send it directly to them???? But I've given someone power of attorney so I'm sure it will be fine.) Yup, confirm. 
VOYA: Ok, so the other check... 

Siiiiigh. By contrast, here is my entire conversation with StateFarm to end my car insurance: 
-calls, phone rings, gets picked up by a real person on the second ring, no phone tree at all- 
Me: Hi, I'm Wobbegong SharkFace and I'm calling to cancel my car insurance. 
SF: SharkFace? Hang on... 2015 Fiat? 
Me: That's me! 
SF: Can you just confirm your address for me? 
Me: [my address] 
SF: Great. And when did you want to close the account? 
Me: Today would be wonderful. (Car has already been picked up on new insurance account, guys, don't worry.) 
SF: Ok, you're all set. A check for the extra you paid will be sent to your address. Have a great day! 

The whole experience took about a minute. 
 
Argh, the difficulty to move! Expect more when you arrive.
I had this issue in which I needed a bank account to have a tax id, and a tax id to open a bank account!
Also I needed a printed bill (and I was receiving them by email)
It took me going to a different branch after printing the bill to get an employee who didn't know it was home printed. Doh!
Good luck with everything and we miss you here but we understand your absence :)
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On 4/4/2018 at 8:16 PM, Wobbegong said:

Thank you to all of you who've stopped by! Sorry I'm not more responsive. Probably by around April 13/14th ish I'll be nosing my way back here more, for anyone looking for an update. I'm shipping out on Saturday, and then I have about a week of orientation and getting settled (three days to settle?? ugh) and then I'll be working on setting up some new routines, so. :)

 

On today's episode of unnecessarily difficult pre-departure tasks (spoilered for length): 

  Reveal hidden contents

Me: Hi, I want to roll over an IRA to Fidelity but I already have a rollover account and my only option appears to be starting a new one? Can I roll over into an existing rollover account? 

Fidelity Agent: Sure! Is the IRA you want to roll over already managed by Fidelity? 
Me: No. 

FA: No problem! In that case, you'll need to contact whoever is managing it and have them send a check made out to us, FBO you, with your account number in the memo, and we'll handle the transfer. (If you withdraw the money from them yourself and just bring it to us, you'll be taxed for making withdrawals early.) You can either have them send the check to you and bring it to us, or have them send it directly to us. We get tons of those checks every day, so if you're leaving it's probably the better option. Here's our address.  
Me: Great! Thanks so much! :):):) 

 

[After half an hour of being yanked around the phone tree asked for a PIN I didn't have]


Me: Hi, I'd like to close my account with you and roll over my funds to Fidelity. 

VOYA Agent: Would that be Fidelity Investments, or just Fidelity? 
Me: ...? Fidelity Investments. 

VOYA: Do you have an IRA account with them?
Me: Yes. [Account number.] 
VOYA: In order to proceed with this transaction, can you confirm that you received this tax document from the IRS describing all of the relevant details in the past 30 days? 
Me: ...no? The government has no idea what I'm doing with my 401k. 
VOYA: You have to have received the document. 
Me: I'm leaving the country on Saturday, can they get it to me by then? 
VOYA: Uh. I could just read it to you? 
Me: Great! Let's do that! 
VOYA: [reads the document. Pauses dramatically between paragraphs -- maybe just catching her breath, but long enough pause that I think we're done EVERY TIME] 
VOYA: Can you confirm understanding of this information? 
Me: Yes! 
VOYA: Great. So you have a regular and a Roth IRA with us, so we'll have to send two different checks. Let's do the Roth first, it'll be for this amount. Can you confirm that [my home address] is your current address? 
Me: It is (until Saturday), but I need you to send the check directly to Fidelity. 
VOYA: We're only allowed to send it to the address we have on file. 

[lots of back and forth]
Me: ......fine. 
VOYA: Since you're not going to be there to accept the checks, please also confirm that Fidelity will allow someone else to deposit the checks on your behalf. 
Me: (Well I didn't ask because they said you could send it directly to them???? But I've given someone power of attorney so I'm sure it will be fine.) Yup, confirm. 

VOYA: Ok, so the other check... 

Siiiiigh. By contrast, here is my entire conversation with StateFarm to end my car insurance: 
-calls, phone rings, gets picked up by a real person on the second ring, no phone tree at all- 
Me: Hi, I'm Wobbegong SharkFace and I'm calling to cancel my car insurance. 
SF: SharkFace? Hang on... 2015 Fiat? 
Me: That's me! 
SF: Can you just confirm your address for me? 
Me: [my address] 
SF: Great. And when did you want to close the account? 
Me: Today would be wonderful. (Car has already been picked up on new insurance account, guys, don't worry.) 
SF: Ok, you're all set. A check for the extra you paid will be sent to your address. Have a great day! 

The whole experience took about a minute. 

 



HI

 

I went dark. Sorry, but I am glad things are moving along, well aside from the investment thing. Those people are idiots. Hopefully the deposit thing won't be an issue.  I am so excited for you to get this opportunity. We will see you when you get to your new home

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I have arrived in Japan! I'm still in Tokyo doing orientation (just finished day one) and very jet lagged and probably not eating very well (where are you hiding all the vegetables, Japan??) and overwhelmed by the number of people I'm meeting who seem important now but I will probably never see again, but otherwise I'm doing ok. At the end of the day tomorrow I should meet a representative from Shizuoka who will take me to Higashi Izu. Or so all of the adultier adults keep telling me, anyway, but all of the other JET program participants are very worried about the lack of information I've received. Some things that everyone else has but me: 

  • Information about their living situation (either an address or some knowledge about forthcoming help to find a place) 
  • A job contract
  • Knowledge of the number of schools and grades they'll be working with 
  • Some idea of who will be coming to get them and how they'll be traveling to their final destination

Things I have that everyone else is jealous of: 

  • Cheese

I'm sure everything will work out in the end, but I can't help but be annoyed in the meantime just that I have had so little contact. People keep asking me what I've heard from my contracting organization and I keep telling them "they told me to wear layers when it gets cold." Which is apparently good advice? But not super relevant as spring comes into full swing lol. With all the other things to arrange it's kind of the least of my worries. Still, everyone here has been really friendly and accommodating, and the Japanese people are doing a really good job in general of anticipating our needs, so I'm sure it'll be fine eventually. 

 

It's theoretically only 8:45pm here but after a long day of business meetings and an evening of schmoozing after a night of little to no rest and an eleven hour plane ride yesterday I'm kind of not exactly the most awake right now, so my apologies if this post is super scattered and nonsensical. Signing off to head to bed. 

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24 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

I have arrived in Japan!

Yay!!!

 

24 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

I'm still in Tokyo doing orientation (just finished day one) and very jet lagged and probably not eating very well (where are you hiding all the vegetables, Japan??) and overwhelmed by the number of people I'm meeting who seem important now but I will probably never see again, but otherwise I'm doing ok.

You'll find veggies eventually. And/or be drowned in them once the growing season starts. 

 

24 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

 At the end of the day tomorrow I should meet a representative from Shizuoka who will take me to Higashi Izu. Or so all of the adultier adults keep telling me, anyway, but all of the other JET program participants are very worried about the lack of information I've received. Some things that everyone else has but me: 

  • Information about their living situation (either an address or some knowledge about forthcoming help to find a place) 
  • A job contract
  • Knowledge of the number of schools and grades they'll be working with 
  • Some idea of who will be coming to get them and how they'll be traveling to their final destination

Things I have that everyone else is jealous of: 

  • Cheese

I'm sure everything will work out in the end, but I can't help but be annoyed in the meantime just that I have had so little contact. People keep asking me what I've heard from my contracting organization and I keep telling them "they told me to wear layers when it gets cold." Which is apparently good advice? But not super relevant as spring comes into full swing lol. With all the other things to arrange it's kind of the least of my worries. Still, everyone here has been really friendly and accommodating, and the Japanese people are doing a really good job in general of anticipating our needs, so I'm sure it'll be fine eventually. 

*Fingers crossed*

 

Depending on the area, dressing in layers can be an all year thing. I think the climate is pretty similar to Washington state. Which would mean that even on hot days it can cool down a lot overnight. Basically, that advice is probably relevant until summer.

 

You should really ask about the job contract though. I think that's one of the first things you should have been given...

 

24 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

It's theoretically only 8:45pm here but after a long day of business meetings and an evening of schmoozing after a night of little to no rest and an eleven hour plane ride yesterday I'm kind of not exactly the most awake right now, so my apologies if this post is super scattered and nonsensical. Signing off to head to bed. 

Sleep is important!!! And 8:45pm in Tokyo is 4:45am in California. So really, you were just up all night. ;)

 

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1 hour ago, Wobbegong said:

Things I have that everyone else is jealous of: 

  • Cheese

The day will soon come when you will truly understand just how precious of a commodity cheese is in Asia :P

 

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3 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I have arrived in Japan! I'm still in Tokyo doing orientation (just finished day one)

Yay!  :D  So excited for you~

 

tenor.gif?itemid=4743406

 

 

3 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

Things I have that everyone else is jealous of: 

  • Cheese

...Did you bring the cheese with you?  xD  If so, how did you get it to survive the flight?  What kind of cheese is it?

 

3 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I'm sure everything will work out in the end, but I can't help but be annoyed in the meantime just that I have had so little contact. People keep asking me what I've heard from my contracting organization and I keep telling them "they told me to wear layers when it gets cold." Which is apparently good advice? But not super relevant as spring comes into full swing lol. With all the other things to arrange it's kind of the least of my worries. Still, everyone here has been really friendly and accommodating, and the Japanese people are doing a really good job in general of anticipating our needs, so I'm sure it'll be fine eventually. 

I hope it all clears up for you soon~!  It can be super frustrating moving to a new place and not being given the information you need to get settled.  Fingers crossed it all resolves itself soon!  

 

3 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

It's theoretically only 8:45pm here but after a long day of business meetings and an evening of schmoozing after a night of little to no rest and an eleven hour plane ride yesterday I'm kind of not exactly the most awake right now, so my apologies if this post is super scattered and nonsensical. Signing off to head to bed. 

Get some rest!  Sleep well and I hope the jet lag goes away soon~

 

e900f57953c9c38f8980b4152f539a8f.gif

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23 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I have arrived in Japan! I'm still in Tokyo doing orientation (just finished day one) and very jet lagged and probably not eating very well (where are you hiding all the vegetables, Japan??) and overwhelmed by the number of people I'm meeting who seem important now but I will probably never see again, but otherwise I'm doing ok. At the end of the day tomorrow I should meet a representative from Shizuoka who will take me to Higashi Izu. Or so all of the adultier adults keep telling me, anyway, but all of the other JET program participants are very worried about the lack of information I've received. Some things that everyone else has but me: 

  • Information about their living situation (either an address or some knowledge about forthcoming help to find a place) 
  • A job contract
  • Knowledge of the number of schools and grades they'll be working with 
  • Some idea of who will be coming to get them and how they'll be traveling to their final destination

Things I have that everyone else is jealous of: 

  • Cheese

I'm sure everything will work out in the end, but I can't help but be annoyed in the meantime just that I have had so little contact. People keep asking me what I've heard from my contracting organization and I keep telling them "they told me to wear layers when it gets cold." Which is apparently good advice? But not super relevant as spring comes into full swing lol. With all the other things to arrange it's kind of the least of my worries. Still, everyone here has been really friendly and accommodating, and the Japanese people are doing a really good job in general of anticipating our needs, so I'm sure it'll be fine eventually. 

 

It's theoretically only 8:45pm here but after a long day of business meetings and an evening of schmoozing after a night of little to no rest and an eleven hour plane ride yesterday I'm kind of not exactly the most awake right now, so my apologies if this post is super scattered and nonsensical. Signing off to head to bed. 

 

I am so glad you made it safely. This is a huge thing and I am so excited for you. The lack of information would probably be driving me nuts, but I am sure that things will work out okay.

I do love the fact that you made sure to take cheese. Sometimes, you just have to make sure you have what you need.

And if its anything like overhere in Japan. the fact it snowed YESTERDAY could mean that having the layers will come in handy. Stupid spring, where are you?

 

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Hooray! I'm sure sakura season was a lovely time to arrive:) I visited Japan for a few weeks last July and I can tell you to brace yourself for heat and humidity. Also, check out the convenience stores for fresh fruit. We had a similar experience about the fruit and veg but usually managed to find some apples or something at 7-Eleven. Hope you have a wonderful time :):)

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I have arrived in my host city! I have an apartment, although I have no idea what the address is (or rent, for that matter??? But I met my landlord, he's a nice guy who generously gave me his wifi password because apparently it takes a million years and a million dollars to get wifi here). Everyone is super duper kind and accommodating, and the local board of education went to town kitting out my apartment before I arrived. The bedroom has brand new tatami mats, and they set me up with a fridge, a tv, a microwave, a table, a coffee table, a desk, a desk chair, two table chairs, and an easy chair. Also a bookcase. The apartment came with things like a stove (gas), toilet (thank god), and washing machine (!!!!!!). I have THREE ROOMS you guys! A bedroom, a kitchen, and a living room. I am terrified to find out how much this decadence costs. 

 

Today I rode the Shinkansen from Tokyo (where orientation was) to Atami (at the top of Izu peninsula; the Shinkansen does not travel down the coast to my town), where I was met by my two supervisors, Maeda-san and Naga-san. From Atami, we drove down to Ito for lunch and then on to Higashi Izu, our town. When I got here, I was introduced to everyone who works for the Board of Education (not the actual teachers, who are employed by the schools, not the city, but the city administrators), which was about eleven people. Then I was interviewed for the local newspaper, met the mayor (TV crew and photographer present), and did a TV interview for the local TV news channel. O_O Apparently people are REALLY excited I'm here. They haven't had a native English speaker here in 20 years or so, so I guess it's kind of a big deal. 

I found out from Maeda-san and Naga-san that I will be working with two junior high schools and two elementary schools. The town where I live, Higashi Izu, is kind of barbell-shaped around the coast, and the two sections are called Atagawa and Inatori. So I have a junior high and elementary in each section. I was told that the schools here are very small, and there are about 100 students in each grade. Depending on my class schedule that could still mean I end up with up to 1400 students (3rd - 9th grade in two regions), but it could also be waaaay less than that, which is kind of nice. On the way down here we passed a small island and I saw a building on it so I asked if anyone lived there and Naga-san promptly informed me that there was a fact a town with an elementary school and junior high. The elementary school has a grand total of two students, and the junior high has three. O_O 

 

I still do not have a job contract. I asked about it today and Maeda-san said he was still writing it. I'm not entirely sure what that means since the organization in charge of the JET program offers contracting organizations (like my BOE) a pre-written contract that is ready to go, but... they're so excited to have me maybe he's writing it from scratch to prove his joy or something. Idk. 

 

12 hours ago, Lateral Planet said:

I'm sure sakura season was a lovely time to arrive:)

Everyone is very very sumimasen because sakura season happened early this year, so the flowers are long gone in my part of the country. (There were like two trees still hanging onto their blooms in Tokyo, but that's north of here, so.) 

 

12 hours ago, Lateral Planet said:

I visited Japan for a few weeks last July and I can tell you to brace yourself for heat and humidity.

My lovely hosts were also very very sumimasen that I do not have an air conditioner set up and ready to go in my apartment. They are going to look for city funds to provide me with one, and many of them offered me the use of their extra fans in the meantime. I'm drowning in generosity. (In part this is my fault, since I don't drink enough coffee to need a coffee machine and don't eat enough bread to need a toaster, so I turned down both of those offers. They told me I had to ask for something, so I asked for a kettle, and they said they'd be happy to help with that but it was too small to count. I am apparently really bad at this.) 

 

12 hours ago, Lateral Planet said:

Also, check out the convenience stores for fresh fruit. We had a similar experience about the fruit and veg but usually managed to find some apples or something at 7-Eleven. Hope you have a wonderful time

My day ended with a trip to the dollar store and the supermarket and the supermarket has plenty of vegetables! So I'm good now. It was just the weird business hotel section of Tokyo I was stuck in (and the catered food at orientation) that was weirdly light on veg. 

 

On 4/10/2018 at 4:39 AM, Bean Sidhe said:

I am so glad you made it safely. This is a huge thing and I am so excited for you. The lack of information would probably be driving me nuts, but I am sure that things will work out okay.

Having met my supervisors I have the strong impression that their English is just not that good so they were too scared to communicate with me before they realized I speak Japanese. Information should flow a lot more freely from now on. But I will be honest and say I was nearly in tears a couple of times over how little info I had. 

 

On 4/10/2018 at 4:39 AM, Bean Sidhe said:

I do love the fact that you made sure to take cheese. Sometimes, you just have to make sure you have what you need.

Homesickness is a real thing and it is much cheaper to allocate some luggage space to cheese than it is to fly my parents and best friend out here. But I'm really very serious about my cheese so I didn't tell anyone from the BOE that I have it. >_>;; I brought them chocolate! Isn't it enough?!

 

On 4/10/2018 at 4:39 AM, Bean Sidhe said:

And if its anything like over here in Japan. the fact it snowed YESTERDAY could mean that having the layers will come in handy. Stupid spring, where are you?

Yeah I have no idea if it's just the whole "Japanese insulation is shit" thing or if it's way colder than it feels or if I'm just really tired but I'm sitting in my apartment shivering right now so I'm going to sign off. But first a quick thank you to everyone for being here and being so supportive! Hopefully my life will become somewhat stable soon and I'll be able to get back to NF more regularly. <3 

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Sooo exciting! 

 

Being the only foreigner in town is always a little strange. On one hand you feel like some kind of celebrity because everyone knows you but on the other hand you have zero privacy because everyone knows you...

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I am so excited for  you Wobbegong. It sounds like you are settling in really well and that this could be a really awesome place for you. I am so amazed how they are trying to go out of their way to make you comfortable. I hope you settle in quickly and easily.

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On 4/11/2018 at 9:06 AM, Wobbegong said:

I have arrived in my host city! I have an apartment, although I have no idea what the address is (or rent, for that matter??? But I met my landlord, he's a nice guy who generously gave me his wifi password because apparently it takes a million years and a million dollars to get wifi here). Everyone is super duper kind and accommodating, and the local board of education went to town kitting out my apartment before I arrived. The bedroom has brand new tatami mats, and they set me up with a fridge, a tv, a microwave, a table, a coffee table, a desk, a desk chair, two table chairs, and an easy chair. Also a bookcase. The apartment came with things like a stove (gas), toilet (thank god), and washing machine (!!!!!!). I have THREE ROOMS you guys! A bedroom, a kitchen, and a living room. I am terrified to find out how much this decadence costs. 

 

SydIIvi.gif

 

On 4/11/2018 at 9:06 AM, Wobbegong said:

But first a quick thank you to everyone for being here and being so supportive! Hopefully my life will become somewhat stable soon and I'll be able to get back to NF more regularly. <3 

^_^ We'll be here whenever that stability comes!

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On 4/11/2018 at 10:45 PM, IAmInfinite said:

Wow, that apartment sounds amazing! 

Also, congrats on getting to Japan at last! :D I hope you're settling in well, but I'm super jealous :P 

It is amazing! And amazingly cold! Japanese people don't believe in insulation (srsly???) so whatever temperature it is outside, it is inside. Apparently people here believe strongly in only having the room you're currently using be the right temperature, so they use space heaters and localized air conditioning units to manage the temperature inside. 

 

Aside from being extremely energy inefficient, the lack of insulation also means the apartment is 0% bug proof. Even though it's not the right season, being the bug queen that I am I somehow managed to invite a flock of mosquitoes in on my first day. I thought yesterday I had finally succeeded in killing them all, but this evening there was another one. Then there're these spiders that jump at you aggressively when you approach them (whether you're trying to kill them or just snap a photo to ask your friends if they're dangerous to people or if you can keep them to deal with your mosquitoes). There is one spider in Japan that I know jumps, but it is called the Huntsman spider and it is like 30cm (enormous and unmistakable, basically). The ones I've been finding are only about 1cm, so I'm not sure if they're babies or something completely unrelated. (If they are huntsmen, they can stay. Those things hunt cockroaches and are harmless to humans so no matter how terrifying they are they're 100% welcome in my home. Unless it means I have a cockroach infestation. Because no.) 

 

On 4/11/2018 at 11:34 PM, WhiteGhost said:

Sooo exciting! 

 

Being the only foreigner in town is always a little strange. On one hand you feel like some kind of celebrity because everyone knows you but on the other hand you have zero privacy because everyone knows you...

It is a little strange. People have been stopping me in the street to say, "Oh, you're the new English teacher from San Francisco! I saw you in the paper! How do you like this town? Ah, San Francisco is cool, right? Is it too hot here?" And they say it so earnestly I sometimes wonder if I said, "Yes, it's a little too hot here," could they adjust the weather for me? 

 

On 4/12/2018 at 8:37 PM, Bean Sidhe said:

I am so excited for you Wobbegong. It sounds like you are settling in really well and that this could be a really awesome place for you. I am so amazed how they are trying to go out of their way to make you comfortable. I hope you settle in quickly and easily.

So far it's been really great! I'm doing my best to settle in well, although I haven't quite finished moving in yet and my apartment is a mess of papers and cords right now, so I feel kind of like I'm living at an office with a bed on the floor in the back closet. (My bedroom is significantly larger than closet-size, but because of the ambiance it feels that way.) 

 

Yesterday morning I was outside hanging up some laundry to dry and a neighbor walked by and said, "Good morning! Are you ok?" I had never met her before and it felt a little abrupt, but when I asked at work they said, "Even though you don't know her, your picture was in the paper and you were on the news, so she knows you. She wasn't saying you look not-ok, she just considers you part of the community and wanted to make sure you're comfortable." People here are amazingly kind. But whenever I mention it, they brush it off and say, "No no, I'm only the normal amount of kind." Lies. 

 

On 4/14/2018 at 5:44 AM, zeroh13 said:

 

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^_^ We'll be here whenever that stability comes!

Yaaaaay!! <3 I am getting close to stable. Probably by the end of the week I will be back at it here. I still won't have as much time to spend on NF as I did before I moved, because I'm no longer doing nothing online all day... I have a real people job with real people standards now. But I will try to do more than just drive by, and I will definitely participate in the next challenge. It will probably be a "establish routines in a new setting" challenge and not anything extravagant, but I'll be here! 

 

My timezone is pretty inconvenient for chatting with people on the West Coast, but those of you on the East Coast might overlap with me a bit when I'm online in the late evening and you're just waking up. I think I'm about 13 hours off from the East Coast people, since I'm 16 ahead of the West Coast. 

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Today was my first day in the classroom! It also happened to be my birthday, so all my classes sang to me. It was super cute. Since it was my first day, I spent half of every class doing a self-introduction and taking questions, and then the other half of class was mostly playing games. My first class was special ed, and I was really excited about getting to work with those students (super excited that they are still expected to learn English! Because Japan has great bathrooms but can still be really backwards about a lot of things). Usually, there are two students in that class, but today the girl was absent so it was just one boy. He was very, very shy and spent the first 35 minutes or so with his chin glued to his chest, but by the end he was getting very playful! It was really great! Later, they told me that usually the girl is the talkative, outgoing one, so the boy is able to hide behind her frequently. With his regular attendant, the Japanese English Teacher, and me all focused on him, he was a little flustered. I would be too! But in the evening, his attendant told me that later in the day he had heard me teaching other classes and looked up and said, "Hey, that's Wobbegong!" That was pretty heartwarming. 

 

My next class was first year students (7th graders for US people -- approximately 12-13 years old) and even though they haven't had formal English instruction before, they were really energetic and excited to meet me. I was very nervous, so their friendly attitude helped a lot! Later as I was touring the school they kept running up to me and saying "Hello! Hello!" at me. They're so cute! -^_^- My final class of the day was second year students. Before we went in, the JTE told me "The first and third years are really energetic, but I don't know what's up with the second years. They're kind of shy." They were definitely much more subdued than the first years but they also warmed up to me! They were really impressed when I told them I live in the same town as George Lucas (of Star Wars fame). My stories about the stupid turkeys also went over well. 

 

Normally I would teach third years also, but since the school year just started, they're still taking placement exams. In Japan, teachers are often moved around between schools in a district when the school year changes, so continuity of instruction can be a challenge. High school isn't required in Japan, so students take entrance exams to get in and usually go to the best school they test into, so they are basically sorted by academic ability. In junior high and elementary, though, everyone just goes to the school closest to their house, so you get a wide range of academic abilities in a single classroom. For these reasons, at the beginning of the school year the students take benchmark tests so the teachers can figure out what they know. For some bureaucratic reason unknown to me, the third years weren't finished yet by today, so I will meet them for the first time next week. 

 

Tomorrow, I'll do basically the same thing again at another junior high school. Then Thursday will be at that school again (probably actually doing some English work) and Friday will be at the local elementary school. Since I haven't done elementary school yet, I'm still really nervous because I have no idea what to expect. Elementary school students are exposed to English in the upper grades but aren't graded on their English lessons, so from what I understand it's basically all games and singalongs. Which sounds super fun only if you have a plan, which I do not. Wish me luck! 

 

(Ah, I have no idea if you guys care about this kind of stuff. I'm super excited but I can rein it in if this is obnoxious. Please let me know.) 

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5 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

It is amazing! And amazingly cold! Japanese people don't believe in insulation (srsly???) so whatever temperature it is outside, it is inside. Apparently people here believe strongly in only having the room you're currently using be the right temperature, so they use space heaters and localized air conditioning units to manage the temperature inside. 

 

Aside from being extremely energy inefficient, the lack of insulation also means the apartment is 0% bug proof. Even though it's not the right season, being the bug queen that I am I somehow managed to invite a flock of mosquitoes in on my first day.

 

My timezone is pretty inconvenient for chatting with people on the West Coast, but those of you on the East Coast might overlap with me a bit when I'm online in the late evening and you're just waking up. I think I'm about 13 hours off from the East Coast people, since I'm 16 ahead of the West Coast. 

 

So you're just right for the GMT people? :P

 

Honestly, I think part of the "only this room gets temperature regulation" mindset is due to the fact that a lot of houses used to only have one main room, where everyone would be together anyway, and it's not energy saving to heat/cool rooms that you aren't in. I know that in Korea my aunt won't put any air conditioning in the house except for the month of August. Otherwise, you just use a fan in your room. I think this highly contributes to the desire of coffee shop culture :D 

 

But urgh, bugs. Mosquitoes are the worst, so here's to hoping you aren't super allergic to them, or that they'll leave you alone.

 

And no, never stop talking about the schools! IT sounds really fascinating and its great to hear how cheerful you are in your writing xD

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5 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I have no idea if you guys care about this kind of stuff

 

Don’t you dare stop!

 

 I love slice-of-life manga/anime, and this story is just getting started!

 

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