Sunday, August 23, 2009

A little bit about me...

Hello to my family and friends and anyone who finds their way to this blog! Japan Penguin will be the home of my various adventures while I am living in Japan. Let’s put some info down for starters.

A year ago I left my family and friends and fiancĂ© back in Texas and journeyed to Japan with the JET program (my fiancĂ© has recently joined me in Japan, also working for JET!). I was on a one year contract, but I renewed it, so I’m here for at least another year. I’m working as an Assistant English teacher in 2 Elementary and 2 Jr. High schools. When I say anything about “my kids” or the like, this is who I am talking about. Also, when I refer to “my teachers” I normally mean my co-workers who are teachers at my various schools, not people who are teaching me. Hopefully, if I ever talk about one of my teachers from the past I will make it clear in context.

I will try really hard to include if the kids I am talking about are Jr. High or elementary. The grade numbering starts over every time you enter a new school, so my Jr. High kids are 1st – 3rd graders again. This confused the life out of me when I first got here, so I’ll do my best to make it as clear as possible. However, after a year it’s more or less normal to me now, so I might slip up on occasion.

I’ll probably use a lot of Japanese words in this blog, but I’ll try my best to accommodate those who have little to no exposure to the language. My Japanese is nowhere near good enough to be writing actual entries in Japanese, but Japanese words will slip in time to time as I discuss things. And I want them to. I hope that anyone actually studying the language and culture could find my blog helpful in a supplemental kind of way. And that possibly some people I know might gain more of an interest in Japan from reading my blog.

This blog will probably serve as my outlet for strange things I’m learning about Japanese culture, as well as humorous (and maybe sometimes not to humorous) stories of things that happen to me. Some of these things will seem strange to you, and they are strange to me too. But remember my gentle audience that when dealing with other cultures things aren’t really right or wrong. They are merely different. So while I may seem annoyed by something or disturbed by it, I try to keep an open mind, and you should too.

Oh, and another quick thing. Because it has taken me a year to start this blog, many things that I write up as happening “the other day” may actually have happened months ago. Unless the time it happened was important to the context I probably won’t mention it. I hope this doesn’t confuse anyone.

There will also probably be entries that pop up here and there on books I’m reading or video games I’m playing or just random thoughts or stories I feel like sharing. If you are only interested in my stuff about Japan I don’t mind, feel free to skip over those. I’ll try to make good use of the tag system to accommodate everyone. I’m still getting used to this whole blog thing myself, so please bear with me as I figure out what all it can do. I have cheated and already have some entries pre-written for this blog, so I’m hoping to update a lot, at least at first.

I’m incredibly lucky to be able to live in another culture and learn about them first hand. Not everyone is able to have an opportunity like this. And while I learn about them, they are also learning about me and my culture. It’s a wonderful situation for all of us, even though there are difficulties from time to time.