Getting back to the blog

Sorry its been almost two weeks since my last post. What have I been doing? Working late at school and catching up on rest. The 3rd term of the school year is the shortest and I was told by the other ATE that I would be teaching less due to all the special events, but the intensity of the school week seems to have increased.

For the first time I have had to eat a コンビに便と (a convenient store boxed meal) for dinner because I left the faculty room at 8:30 pm. And it isn't like I'm working at a relaxed pace for longer hours or dilly-dallying. If I'm not teaching, I'm planning the next lesson and creating materials to teach with. This term has given me the opportunity to apply what I've learned from last term regarding my students and the activities that work well with them. As a result I have been putting more time into the design and order of my lessons to make them more linguistically sound.

Well, I'm trying to make my blog more about my cultural encounters here rather than a teaching journal, so I'll end the teaching analysis there. Instead I'll just showcase a few photos that tell a story about my life in the past two weeks.

It snowed in Nishinomiya on the 5th. This is the view from my apartment door. It melted by noon, so it didn't disrupt activity in town. It does get quite cold at night with the thin insulation, but I sleep soundly with plenty of blankets!

This picture is actually from November when I went to Toyama on a WWOOF assignment. I almost went WWOOFing again this weekend but backed out from going to a farm in Nagano because it would have been too long of travel for too short of a stay. Maybe when I have 5 days during spring or summer break. Anywho, its a beautiful silhouette of a sunrise over the Japanese Alps that sets me thinking about the "other" Japan or self-sufficient organic farmers that seems so far away from the urban conglomerate of Osaka-Kobe.

Care for a $50 melon? That's the price of this "gift musk melon" at the local supermarket. For something that most Americans take for granted in their fruit salad, musk melon and other fruits (like grapes and pineapples) are a special gift for expressing appreciation. Given this, you could imagine the feelings of the Japanese campers at the English Village of Concordia this past summer when fruit salad was a daily item at lunch. Overall, fruit is more expensive here. I paid 300 yen ($2.50) for 5 bananas the other day. In the US, its 50¢ a pound, not a banana!

The Christian Science Monitor featured a list of the 10 most expensive cities in the world to live in (according to the cost in USD of goods and services). Osaka ranked 4th; Tokyo was 2nd (after being #1 for 14 years); Oslo, Norway was 1st. No US cities were in the top ten. According to this ranking, you would think that I'm losing money left and right. Not so. I don't consume a lot of goods, so I'm able to save money. But my grocery bill is substantially higher than what it was in Monterey (adjusted for the pauper's diet I was eating on grad student budget). So it goes to show: expensive is relative to the type of consumer you are.

See you next time in the blogosphere!

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Countries I have visited

Where I've been in the USA