Maia Does Japan
Happy one year in Japan to me… I finally pulled the trigger and did the thing.

Happy one year in Japan to me… I finally pulled the trigger and did the thing.

I know I complain a lot and I get really lonely sometimes but I really love my life here most days
I still reign supreme when it comes to UFO catchers… Picked up this little guy yesterday in three tries.

I still reign supreme when it comes to UFO catchers… Picked up this little guy yesterday in three tries.

I haven't been following you for two weeks so I can't comment but just wanted to say I loved your technology post. I think that so many newbies to teaching ESL overseas come armed with a plethora of new age technology tricks that they are excited to use in the classroom and get a rude awakening upon arrival. I am queen of creating lessons with no technology component after my stints in Indonesia and Turkey. It was always a cause for a celebration if the smart board actually worked. :)

Thank you- I honestly was a little surprised by the lack of technology. In Tokyo during orientation there were a few presenters who made it seem like we would all have access to smart boards or projectors to aid us with teaching. 

I didn’t find out until my prefecture’s mid year conference where they stuck all the first years in a room to hear a presentation on “how to turn a normal projector into a smart board” that it was very uncommon for us to even have access to projectors. — The presenter was a little shocked too. 

NEW JETS: Take your little victories where you can. I convinced one JTE to book the projector room for her classes. Even though only 2 of my 25 classes have access to this technology it’s better than nothing. 

Open School!

In Japan you must get accepted by a public high school before you are able to attend. Some schools have better reputations than others. For example, my school is known for being very academic as well as having excelled baseball and soccer teams. In order to get accepted to a high school you must take and pass entrance exams- 

My school hosted an open school today where students from different junior high  schools came and essentially toured the school, were given information about entrance exams and got to participate in club activities (98% of students do club activities at my high school- I found out today the 2% that do not must be given special permission- for example I teach the number one kendama “cup ball” player (?) in all of Japan and possibly the world.) 

All that aside, I wasn’t expecting much with ESS this year. When I did open school last year, not one single JHS student showed up. I guess even with me secretly handing out lollipops- nothing could convince them to say more than “hello” to me. 

I guess word got around that I have a super fun game called “Heads Up” - Yes the ELLEN one - and I had maybe 24 students stop by over the course of the two hour club activity time to play heads up or ask if I was planning to teach “the cup song” again. —  (New ALTs… take note; my kids LOVE Heads Up and The Cup Song)

I was blown away by the enthusiasm from all these JHS kids (a few were japannamay's students too) - and I'm crossing my fingers that maybe one or two of them end up joining ESS.  


Celebrated my neighbors 1 year Japanaversary (mine is on Sunday) with three courses of chef’s choice at Thomas Pizza… I was happy he picked “Maia pizza” for my pizza option.

But let’s be real, my year would have likely sucked if it wasn’t for the generosity and support the owner gives the local ALTs

Glimpses of Hiroshima

Glimpses of Hiroshima

Cats of Japan

Cats of Japan

ALTs know that technology at our schools are prehistoric relics.

I have some classrooms that don’t have air conditioners or even magnetized chalk boards. There are three projectors at my school and only two classrooms capable of setting up said projector. Today was the first time I had ever been in my school’s computer lab- and wasn’t surprised to find huge bulky monitors similar to those I had in Elementary school when I was a kid. Also Floppy Disks are still very much a thing in Japan.

Anyways- on Saturday, my school sent 15 students and two teachers to our sister school in New Zealand for two weeks. The plan today was to Skype with them. However multiple issues arose. First we had no sound, then we had no microphone. Once we had sound and a microphone that we had tested and found it worked; we still were unable to communicate because we couldn’t hear them- which led to 5 different JTEs trying to fix the speakers while I said “I wonder if it’s their microphone, since we can hear all the skype noises and our microphone works because they can hear us” Because I am the ALT my comment was ignored.

….. Only to find out after another twenty minutes of commotion we then discovered that on the New Zealand side the two JTEs did not have a microphone. 

Never a dull moment. 

Inherited a N64 from one of my neighbors who is leaving today.
So come visit me and let’s play Mario Party. 

Inherited a N64 from one of my neighbors who is leaving today.

So come visit me and let’s play Mario Party. 

Yesterday I was told over the phone that my dog, Wilfred, unexpectedly had to be put down after they found multiple tumors in his stomach. The news crushed me and I had to take the rest of the day off work.
Wilfred was an incredible dog- he was always there to steal my french fries and sneak into my bed to say goodnight. He was always around when I felt sad and always up for a game of fetch or ride in the car. He was smarter than any dog I’ve ever known and I’m so blessed to have had him in my life and be given close to ten wonderful years with him. It was the first time I’ve ever felt so removed from my life back home. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for not being there for him and getting to say goodbye in person even though my mother and siblings assured me that he knew I loved him and wished I could have been there.
When things like this unexpectedly happen it’s hard to be alone and not with family or close friends to help you get over it.
I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotion these past 48 hours. I’m so blessed to have wonderful family to check in on me and someone even created an email account to send me an email from “Wilfred” which brought me to tears by letting me know that he understood why I wasn’t there. Not every day on JET is a walk in the park. There are super hard moments where you question why you’re choosing to be thousands of miles away from family, friends, pets and loved ones. I know ultimately I made the correct decision to say another year, and I couldn’t imagine doing it without the love and support of everyone I have back home. The best thing you can do is hug everyone close when you’re home and cherish every moment you’re with them. 
RIP Wilfred- 

Yesterday I was told over the phone that my dog, Wilfred, unexpectedly had to be put down after they found multiple tumors in his stomach. The news crushed me and I had to take the rest of the day off work.

Wilfred was an incredible dog- he was always there to steal my french fries and sneak into my bed to say goodnight. He was always around when I felt sad and always up for a game of fetch or ride in the car. He was smarter than any dog I’ve ever known and I’m so blessed to have had him in my life and be given close to ten wonderful years with him. 

It was the first time I’ve ever felt so removed from my life back home. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for not being there for him and getting to say goodbye in person even though my mother and siblings assured me that he knew I loved him and wished I could have been there.

When things like this unexpectedly happen it’s hard to be alone and not with family or close friends to help you get over it.

I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotion these past 48 hours. I’m so blessed to have wonderful family to check in on me and someone even created an email account to send me an email from “Wilfred” which brought me to tears by letting me know that he understood why I wasn’t there. 

Not every day on JET is a walk in the park. There are super hard moments where you question why you’re choosing to be thousands of miles away from family, friends, pets and loved ones. 

I know ultimately I made the correct decision to say another year, and I couldn’t imagine doing it without the love and support of everyone I have back home. The best thing you can do is hug everyone close when you’re home and cherish every moment you’re with them. 

RIP Wilfred- 

datdumbartist:

I have never related so much to comic before

It’s officially summer here in Japan. I bought one of all the interesting looking ice creams at 7-11 to find a new favorite.

It’s officially summer here in Japan. I bought one of all the interesting looking ice creams at 7-11 to find a new favorite.

I thought the tights I was wearing today were opaque enough

But two first year girls saw the faint outline of my biggest tattoo and immediately cornered me after class and demanded that I show them next time I’m wearing pants.

Just a matter of time-

It’s a blessing and a curse that there is a kappa sushi walking distance from my base school.

It’s a blessing and a curse that there is a kappa sushi walking distance from my base school.