Well, to be perfectly fair, it started looking Christmassy in Nagoya from the beginning of November. At first it was exciting; looking at all the pretty lights and hearing Christmas music, but now… well for me at least, it’s still SUPER EXCITING!! I love Christmas, and I don’t understand the people that don’t. Every time I see a decorated tree, or hear one of my favourite Christmas carols, I get a happy little feeling inside; tis the season to be jolly, after all. I started Christmas shopping a few weeks back, and I’m almost done. The problem isn’t with the shopping itself, because I am a girl, and we all know how girls feel about shopping! The issue I have is with wrapping and sending. In order to wrap, I have to tidy; and in order to send, I have to have wrapped, then figure out the whole sending packages from Japan to Australia thing. In my head I know I need to get on with it, or the prezzies won’t make it home in time for Christmas; but my body refuses to cooperate. Apparently I am less of a go-getter, and more of a sitdownandwatchtvanddonothinger.
Last night, while I was sitting at my computer watching tv and doing nothing, I got a message from a friend telling me it was snowing, and had been for a while. I didn’t believe her!! As if it would be snowing in December, I thought to myself. Nevertheless, I left my computer and looked out the window. Sure enough, little white flakes were softly falling outside my window! BEST DAY EVER!! If I had left my apartment at all that day I may have noticed sooner. But still, I was entranced. This was the first time I had ever seen snow actually falling! I put on some warm clothes and my ridiculous blue beanie with ears, and I walked down to the supermarket; snow falling all around me. It was beautiful. I managed to get a few snaps of the snow, and did manage to look like a crazy person, all rugged-up, staring at the sky.
The seasons have shifted so suddenly here. Only last week I was in Kyoto, looking at all the beautiful autumn leaves, along with about a million other people. Kyoto was amazing and I am definitely going to go back. I would love to see it when there is snow, but I would have to be fairly lucky I think. My favourite place that we went was a temple called, I think, Tenryu-ji. It was peaceful even amongst the crowds; and although I wished I had been wearing warmer socks – walking around the temple on the tatami mat floors just in socks was enough to keep my feet frozen for a good hour or so afterwards – looking out at the trees on the water was the most relaxed I have felt since coming to Japan. One day really isn’t enough to experience Kyoto to even a small degree, but I am glad I went, and regardless of the expense, I WILL be going back.
The main part of my life at the moment, bigger than travel, bigger even than sitting in my apartment doing nothing, is of course work. I feel like teaching is finally beginning to click; I am improving with each class that I teach, and I am really enjoying getting to know my kids, crazy personalities and all. What every teacher that I spoke to during training said would happen, is finally happening; I am developing the skills to deal with sudden change; I am increasing my internal memory drive of games and activities to distract the kids with when shit hits the fan; I am becoming what I thought I never could be: a calm person who doesn’t panic when the slightest little thing goes wrong. I am starting to really love my job. The kids’ classes are rewarding because firstly, they are so damn cute, and secondly, it is amazing how quickly they learn and respond to what I am teaching them! The adult classes are equally rewarding, if not even more so, because I get something out of it too: I am learning about Japan through my adult students. I can’t believe I am getting paid to sit and have fascinating conversations with interesting people from a variety of backgrounds, while having them answer all the questions that have been burning in the back of my mind since coming to this amazing country. I can ask them anything I want! It’s great! My favourite topic currently is where to travel in Japan, and especially, where to take my parents when they come over in Golden Week next year. The knowledge I am gradually gaining is definitely a lot more in depth and interesting than what you would find on the tourist brochures, that’s for sure! With any bit of luck, by the time April rolls around, I will have, with the help of countless students, put together an itinerary that will excite, amaze, and most importantly, show me parts of Japan that I have never seen before. Because really, when it all comes down to it, it is all about me; if my parents think any differently, they’re kidding themselves 😉