A job unlike any other

Monday was my first day at work…

Saiki School District Office

I had most of my paperwork completed, but the fact that I go by Kate rather than Mary or Cathleen was a major source of consternation. I explained that it is somewhat common to use a nickname, but I couldn’t convince the person in charge to have my nametag read Kate.

So after two days of sitting in the office,

I was able to go out to one of the schools today with the young man who has done the job I have been hired for for the past four years. After a beautiful 45 minute drive over hills and south along the coast we arrived at Inokushi Elementary School with a total enrollment of 6. There were also about 8 adults who work at the school. The kids were engaged and they really enjoy learning English. it was impressive to hear them introduce themselves, especially considering they only have one 45-minute lesson a month. We worked with the 2 girls in 2nd and 3rd grade and then with the remaining 4 kids in 4th-6th grade. We all ate lunch together and then played Uno and played in their gymnasium (volleyball and unicyles!)

I have been hired as the Assistant Language teacher of English for all 33 elementary schools in the city of Saiki. That means that most days I will visit one school and meet with as many classes as I can and then come back to the office and prepare for the following day. Summer break begins around July 20th and lasts until September. I am expected to be in the office every day..I will work on materials preparation, lesson plans, Japanese, and I think I am going to try to develop some online materials to support the infrequent school visits.

The price of gas gas just gone up to about 173 yen per liter (about $6.90 a gallon!). I think I will be riding my bike a lot once the rainy season ends. The rice planting season is about to begin and the temperature is rising every day.

Looking out the back window of my mother-in-law’s home…Yes, we are all living together.

Progress on the kura

Turtle wandering in the garden.

About the banner of this blog…I took the photo at Flamingo Jim’s at Rockaway Beach in Oregon. I often feel like like the gnome in the photo when I am in Kyushu.

8 thoughts on “A job unlike any other

  1. Donita June 4, 2008 / 4:52 pm

    Congratulations on it all, Kate! (Or should I say, Mary Cathleen 😉 The job, the first day, surviving the move, and, for our sake especially, starting this blog! The pictures are great; I especially love the gnome, and the turtle.
    Here in Seattle it feels like mid-October. Cold and seemingly never-ending rain, rain, rain. Unlike John Lennon, I *do* mind 😉
    Can’t wait to read your next post. Lots of love to you and Jhiro!

  2. Noriko and Sandy June 4, 2008 / 11:36 pm

    Hey Kate,
    Noriko and I are at benkyoukai, since we have a few minutes we thought we would write. What a beautiful beam in your room. We both think it is gorgeous!!
    Can we come visit now? How about tomorrow? Well, it might not work, but a nice idea.
    We both remember the cute, little gnome on your first picture. It brings back great memories.
    Ganbatte ne!! ^_^

  3. Sue June 5, 2008 / 3:33 pm

    Thanks for following through with the blog, Kate, and the pics so we/I can picture you in your current life chapter. I see you are making progress in the who and what departments. Why might take a little longer– except one could say one “why” will be to be a super teacher to those darling children.

    Keep on bloggin’!!

  4. Denise Hardy June 6, 2008 / 3:04 am

    Hi Kate!

    Thanks for letting me know what you’re up to. I’m sending you my blog site so you can look at what I’ve been up to in Mexico if you’re interested. I post infrequently, usually only when I’m in Mexico. Good luck with your venture!


  5. Jan Hopkins June 6, 2008 / 5:24 pm

    Thanks for sending the blog, it looks like you are surrounded by beauty! Best wishes to you and Jiro.

  6. Nina June 10, 2008 / 7:01 am

    The kura looks amazing. I want to come!

  7. Mara July 26, 2008 / 4:38 pm

    Hi Kate! Susan told me about your blog, so I wanted to stop by and say hi. I really like the gnome in the banner! I really miss you, and I hope you are having fun!

  8. katezawa July 26, 2008 / 9:52 pm

    I miss you all, too. What I
    I would do for a Saturday morning bagel…

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