It’s been three months now since I moved back to Tokyo after travelling for the guts of a year. I arrived in January after my company needed someone to replace a teacher who had quit after the second term. So for the last three months I’ve basically been finishing off someone else’s contract – which has had its good and bad points. The positives: I had actually taught at this school before, four years ago. It was the first kindergarten I ever taught at in Japan, and so it was nice to be back. I know all the teachers, and some of the kids too. The bad thing was that I wasn’t really challenged by anything. I moved back into the same place, the same area, and was teaching at the same school. I even found my BMX locked up to the same lampost I left it at 10 months prior. So while it was good to be back, it also felt like hadn’t really moved on or made any progress.

The last few weeks, however, have been very busy. We have just got a new intake of teachers for the coming school year and so I was busy training them. It was exactly what I needed, and despite being exhausting was actually very rewarding this time around. I don’t want to speak too soon, but it seem like this year we have a solid crew of teachers. Everyone is very friendly, and there are no strong asshole personalities. Most importantly, everybody took training very seriously so hopefully 2016 is a good year. Now that training is out of the way, it finally feels like I can start to settle in to Tokyo again. I’ve finished that other teacher’s contract and I’m looking forward to the next few months and the better weather.

One slightly surreal thing happened during training actually. One of the new trainee teachers was doing a demo lesson to a bunch of kids and I was sitting at the back observing when the ground shook. I turned round and said to my manager, “that’s an earthquake” and sure enough five seconds later the intercom came on in the school telling the kids and teachers that it wasn’t a drill. We all ran into the centre of the room and kneeled down with our hands over our heads (as if that was gonna help) while other classes got under tables. The trainee teacher didn’t understand what was going on as he couldn’t understand Japanese – he had just moved from South Korea a few weeks before. He told me after the lesson that he had thought North Korea had launched an attack against Japan of something. These minor rumblings are of course part and parcel of living in Japan, but after what happened to me in Nepal last year, I’m still kinda edgy about them. All good though.

With regards to this website, I’ll admit that the last few months have been pretty quiet – I haven’t been posting as much simply because I’ve been working and settling back into a routine. I generally hibernate during the cold weather – I really, really don’t like it – but now that the temperatures are finally hitting the high teens again I can leave my nest and write about some cool stuff. There are a good few traditional festivals coming up, as well as a number of exhibitions I have been asked to cover over the next few months. I’ve also been offered the opportunity to go down to Mount Fuji and help promote a couple of hotels down there. Along with this, I want to try and work with the Japanese National Tourism Organization if possible to cover some of the more unknown cities and regions of Japan. I still haven’t decided what I’ll do in the summer. I may stay here or I may head off to Sri Lanka again.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling update. Cheers for reading. Here are a few photos from my neighbourhood of Shimokitazawa at night. Justin 🙂






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  1. No, living here is very reasonable actually – it’s kind of a myth that it’s expensive. I mean, a meal out is much cheaper than UK and USA. You can get a decent meal here for about £5 /$7 etc. Fruit and veg is very expensive though in the supermarkets, and the start-up costs for apartments too… But all-in-all it’s an affordable place to visit. Thanks for reading!

  2. I’ve wondered for years which company you work for? Not sure if you can say (no worries if not). It seems like you have a good working relationship with them and it works out well for both sides being able to take time off to travel/come back to take over other people’s contracts. Great that you are training others too. I need to come back to East Asia one more time to live in Japan (I loved my 2 week visit last year). I taught ESL in Korea nearly ten years ago, then at an international school in Beijing the last couple of years- but Japan was the one I always wanted to live in and haven’t yet. We’re in the US now (my husband’s country) but I’m already getting itchy feet and wanting to visit Asia again. 🙂

  3. Drop me an email and I’ll tell you the name of the company if you want. If you’ve taught kids this age before then I reckon you’d enjoy it 🙂

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