Bad school – update

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Tadaoka


People in my town, people in surrounding towns and even people from far away know that Tadaoka Junior High School doesn’t have the best reputation. I know families that have moved out of Tadaoka just so that their children don’t have to go to Tadaoka JHS. My school’s Board of Education (BOE) doesn’t have that much money to spend on fixing the school up because they’re constantly repairing the damage. Broken windows – the glass is taped together because it’s too expensive to replace it. Things like burning toilet paper, putting toilet paper rolls in the toilet, making balls of wet toilet paper and then throwing them at people are also common events. 

Today a boy fell out of the window on the 1st floor (2nd floor if you’re American; 2階から落ちた). He is a bit of a bad boy, and I described this as “karma” to one of my teachers. He went to hospital, but looks like he’ll be alright. I’m not so sure if that’s a good thing or not – in any case I hope it stops him from being bad for a while. I also tried to stop one of the students from throwing wet balls of toilet paper, which seemed to anger him more, but I really hate it how they can get away with doing all these bad things without punishment. It’s especially times like these that I wish I was more fluent in the language so that I could fight my case, but instead I pretend that I can’t understand what they say.

Anyway, no damage except that my thumb nail was lifted up a bit, so that it bled underneath the nail bed. I really hate that because my thumb becomes useless due to weakness and pain.

This is of course not every student. The majority of students these days at my school are good… Well, they’re not in the “bad” category. For me, the ‘bad’ students are those that smoke at school, talk on their mobile phones, etc… I feel that the kids that wag school are better.




The long hours put in

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Tadaoka
Tags: , ,


Today I left school as I normally do, and then because there is a .. How should I call it.. A mini seminar held by a teacher in which they give a smock class lasting for about 20 minutes and afterwards, the other participating “students” (other teachers) give feedback about what they thought the good points were and what the improvable points were, I decided to come back to school just before 7pm. It lasted for just over an hour, and I’m glad I went because whilst I couldn’t voice any thoughts that I had (though I didn’t have any) I was able to listen to what the other teachers were saying and could think about how I could improve my own classes.

I usually think about explaining things as we go along in class, but a point they brought up was that if you explain what is happening in that class, and the desired outcome (in this case it was P.E. and we were practicing basketball skills where we would play a game at the end using the skills what we practiced) the students also can think about it and get at least a general overall understanding of what is going to happen.

I will try and go to more of these smock/ mini seminar lessons so that I may improve myself, my teaching methods and also hopefully the desired outcome.

Not only did I learn about this, but I went to school at about 7pm and about half the teachers were still there. Usually with other JET friends, we talk about how we can’t understand why the teachers go home at such a late time. Many of the reason’s include “looking busy” when they’re not really, sleeping, just fiddling around or doing unnecessary things during the day and then trying to finish their day’s work by the end of the day. As I was in the staff room, eating some inari as I was super hungry, I finally could understand the amount of work that teachers truly do, well, at my school anyway. I haven’t had to prepare that many classes of my own, but when I do, it does take a lot of time preparing, and I only teach each class of each grade once a week, so that’s 15 classes a week not including the handicapped learning classes I attend.

I looked around the staff room and the teachers are seriously trying their best to prepare around 4 classes for each class, so in total, about 20 classes. Not only that, but at Tadaoka Junior High School, many of the teachers don’t just teach 1 grade, they teach 2 grades which gives them even more classes. I don’t want to talk down about my fellow staff members anymore in regards to their work load and why they go home so late at night, every night. I will try not to complain as much about not having much free time, because the teachers at my school usually come to school on their days off to help out with the various club activities that happen on the weekends and public holidays, when those teachers could be at home spending quality time with their own children.

I’m an adult, but I’m still learning many things about life. I guess I am truly grateful for my time here in this small town and to learn and work with such great colleagues.

And a crow eats my stomach

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


I was outside on a nice sunny day where the weather wasn’t too hot nor too cold. I looked down and realised that my converse shoelaces were uneven, so I took them off and planned to re-thread them again so that they were even. I looked across to the chair next to me and there was a crow standing on it. I hate crows, so I tried to shoo it away, but it didn’t move, so then I thought it would be a good idea to try and flick the crow in the eye with my shoelace. The stupid crow dodged the shoelace and then started to gouge out my stomach with it’s beak. It hurt. It hurt real bad.


… And then I woke up.


The Summer Holidays~ A time where students and teachers rejoice.. Well, in Australia they do anyway. In Japan however, the students come to school everyday for club activities, which means the teachers also have to come to school for club activities, and nobody really travels or has a decent break. Luckily for most of my JET friends, their Boards of Education allow them not to come to school… But my Board of Education doesn’t allow that kind of thing. So besides sitting at my desk listening to K-pop in the staff room, I did manage to travel a little bit!!

SOUTH KOREA      韓国     한국

I arrived to 부산 (Busan) on the 30th July. It was hot and humid, but not as bad as Osaka. As soon as I arrived, I felt at easy and very happy. A bunch of friends were there to greet me and welcome me to Busan for my first time. We checked out the 자갈치 시장 (Jagalchi seafood market) and at delicious seafood!
My accommodation was at a place called ‘Chan’s Guest House’. It has an Indian theme, and is quite close to 해운대 바닷가 (Haeundae beach), like 3 mins away! So of course I went to the beach, even though it was really, really crowded and the deepest part was waist deep. The water was also extremely cold, but on those hot and humid days, nothing’s better! I also got to travel to various other parts such as 청사포 (Cheongsapo) which is famed for it’s baked clams, and also ate Waffles at Beans Bin Cafe before walking back down to 해운대 (Haeundae) with the beautiful view of the beach.

We (new friends were made) also visited 남포동 (Nampodong), the heart of Busan. Here we checked out PIFF (Pusan International Film Festival) square and ate 호떡 (Hoddeok) (some sort of rice cake with a sweet filling inside), anyway, it was delicious, but we had to wait 30 mins for it and I didn’t want to wait another 30 mins for another one.. ㅠ.ㅠ

My friend 정연이 누나 works in Busan, but lives in 대구 (Daegu) so I also got to travel to Daegu and have a look around. We had to run to the train station because we wanted to watch as much of the 2PM concert as we could at Haeundae beach. I also fell in love with a girl group called 5dolls that night too. Too bad it was raining most of my time there, but I went shopping and continued eating many delicious foods, even my 누나의 Aunty made 잡채 (japchae) for me as it’s one of my favourite foods.

We also had to check out 신세계 (Shinsegae), the world’s largest department store. It was so big, we spent 2 days there!! Also, there’s a public bath area called ‘Spa Land’ which we went to and enjoyed a relaxing time!!

Next, I travelled to 광주 와 진도 (Gwangju and Jindo) as that’s where most of my Korean family live.

I found my way to Gwangju via bus from Busan without too much difficulty, and there I met up with my cousin and his girlfriend first. I can’t believe that he is actually TALLER than me now! He must be about 192 cm!! Anyway, I got to meet his dad for the first time and I also got to meet old cousins and new cousins, my mum, my grandparents for the first time and uncles and aunties. They are all such nice people!! I really think I’m lucky sometimes! There isn’t much to do in Jindo as it’s very country-side, but there was a beach close by^^

After only spending a short time with my new family, I made a move to 서울 (Seoul) where I would spend a week catching up with friends, shopping, relaxing and having a good time. I felt at home in 홍대 (Hongdae) as not only is it a popular place with nice cafe’s and many clubs, eateries, etc, but my adoption agency is based in Hongdae. I’m so grateful for my adoption agency, that I’m also sponsoring a boy through the same agency. Eastern Social Welfare Society. My girlfriend Sayaka also managed to come for a few days to Korea, which was great! As it was her first time, everything was kind of new and exciting, exploring 남대문 시장 (Namdaemun Markets), 명동 (Myeongdong), 홍대 (Hongdae), 인사동 (Insadong), 청계천 (Cheonggaecheon) and 광화문 (Gwanghwamun).

Mt. Fuji 富士山

On the 21st Aug, my friend Yuki and I left Shin-Osaka (新大阪) at 10:30pm to make our way to Mt. Fuji, arriving there at approximately 4:30am!! The weather driving there was appalling. Rain, rain and more rain! But we slept and woke up a few hours later to get ready for our climb. Initially we wanted to climb, stay the night at one of the stations and then climb the rest to see the sunrise the next morning, but we were faced with mist, wind and rain…

Anyway, we still got ready and made our way to the stairs, the first leg of our journey on our legs. However, a man told us that we could only go as far as the 7th station because the weather was too bad. Disappointed with that news, we decided to climb to the 7th station anyway. What did we have to lose after travelling all that way, right? So we made it to the 7th station and celebrated as far as we could go with a coffee (because our hands were numb from the cold).

Anyway, after having our coffee, we decided to go as far as the ‘old 7th station’ as we were at the ‘new 7th station’. And we travelled up and after we arrived, we saw some people coming down from further up and also people continuing to climb up, so what the hell, we decided to go one more. And as we reached the next station, we decided to go to the next station until we… Yes, that’s right! We made it to the top!!! 3,775 metres high!

It took 5 hours to climb up, but only about 1 hour to climb down. But climbing up and down in 1 day was hell for our legs! Lucky there’s 温泉 (onsen – public baths) around. We went to a nice one called 花の湯 (Hana no yu). Because we had planned staying on Mt. Fuji overnight, we had to decide where to go for the night. Because Yuki is from Nagoya (名古屋) and I have friends in Nagoya, we decided to go there.
In Nagoya I got to catch up with 涼君 and 健ちゃん and watched Transformers 3.





It’s supposed to be the “rainy season” in Japan right now, 梅雨 (つゆ) if you can read Japanese, but for the last week, coming up to two weeks now it’s just been Mr. Sunshine. I think I should be happy about this, but actually, it’s so hot and humid right now that I’m sweating more than a fat, chocolate cake loving kid stuck in an Egyptian desert!!! The weather forecast predicts a thunder storm everyday… but it just never comes!

  This is a very sexy tan of one of my fellow teachers.

Even though I find myself using my air con everyday these days, I hope it stays sunny. I want to work on my own tan, but not only that, I love the fact that I can hang out a load of washing and it’s dry within the hour! No Chinese laundries at my place at the moment! Score.

Just 3 weeks until Summer holidays start, and then 1 week after that and I’ll be in Korea for a holiday!! Come on holidays… can’t you come any faster?!


So I returned to Japan from Australia today as I went back to Australia during Japan’s “Golden Week“, basically a week long holiday.

When I was back in my Country, I spoke with my grandparents who have decided to move out into a semi-looked after retirement village where they don’t have to cook and wash dishes and maintain gardens. Besides the face that they are getting older, do you ever actually sit down and think about the fact that you’re getting older? I think the answer is yes. Whilst this probably doesn’t apply to a lot of people, my grandma said something which struck something within me. She said “You always think you’re getting older. You always say you’re getting older and when you get older you’ll do such and such. Even when you’re old, you continue to say ‘when I’m old’ or ‘when I’m older’ but it’s a sad and painful fact when you have to admit to yourself that ‘I am old’ “. 

Not only that, on the aeroplane ride coming back to Japan I watched a Japanese movie with the English title: 1778 Stories of Me and My Wife. []
I don’t want to ruin the story line of it, but it really made me realise that I have to knuckle down and do the things that I want to do in my life before it’s too late and I’m at a point in my life where I have to admit ‘I am old’.

Back to teaching tomorrow. I hope that I can help inspire some of my students (all of them would be great) to reach out and do the things that they want to do. To waste your life is just a waste of the world’s resources.

To escape Japan or not…?

Posted: March 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


So there was a major Earthquake on the 11th March that hit the coast near Miyagi prefecture. There has been constant news, not only because it was a Magnitude 9 Earthquake, but also because it caused a tsunami which literally destroyed towns like nothing, moving cars and trucks like they were toys. And that’s not just it either. The tsunami caused damage to the back-up generators for the Daiichi Nuclear Plant, which is now releasing radiation. Japan is trying to cool these reactors down as fast as possible, even using sea water to try and keep the rods in the nuclear factory cool.

Australia, America and some other countries have advised people not to go within an 80 kilometer radius of the Nuclear factory, a much increased distance compared to that of Japan which still remains at 30 kilometers.
And then, not only that, the weather is still strange, and it has been snowing creating a very cold and sad feeling especially for those that have lost everything and are currently living in school sports gyms.

Australia is advising any Australian residents to get out of Tokyo. I’m living in Osaka, but the news is constant and friends and family are worrying. I thought I wouldn’t leave unless there was going to be some type of damage or disaster to my area, but I’m thinking I might just leave to have a break from it all. Spring Vacation is coming up, and even though my Board of Education tells me “well, if you’re going to take more time off work than your annual leave, your salary will go down for the month”. It’s so stupid that teachers here don’t get the school holidays off like in Australia.

My mind is just so confused about what to do. It’s so sad to watch the news everyday. I want to help, but I’m not sure what I can do. I’m donating money to Japan to try and help out. I’m just not sure what i’m going to do…