I've been working a lot since my last post. I've been commuting to Matsumoto on Tuesdays and Fridays (well, just two Tuesdays and last Friday) to help out at with the preschool class and see if I like it/if they want to hire me. I have pretty much made up my mind though--I think I'm going with School 1 for a job. I'm already starting the work visa application process. I've gotten more and more used to how the company runs and how the classes work. When I thought of not taking the job, I realized that I'd miss some of the students I've been teaching, etc. And I don't know about you, but waking up at 5:00 a.m. to catch a train and then work with 2 year olds for hours and then riding a train for hours to get back home is not my idea of an easy job.
I'm going to just try and do my best with School 1 (maybe I'll post their name when the job is finalized). In March, there will be a whole new hiring period for Assistant Language Teachers and by that time, I'll have some experience. So I should be able to get a better job if I can't stand working at night any more.
I came home at about 9:30 from working (and exhausted--I had been running around since 5:00 a.m.) on Friday night to find a barbecue in the parking lot of our little apartment complex. This was the first time I had seen any of our neighbors since I got here over a month ago. The Japanese work ethic makes American "workaholics" look like total slackers. They go into work a couple hours early and don't leave until 9 or 10 at night usually. Thus why I never see our mysterious neighbors. There were also a few other people from neighboring cities hanging out. I didn't realize how much I missed hanging out with people my own age until I was surrounded by "adults" in their early 20s. We've been hanging with people in their 30s and 40s. They are all good people, but sometimes you want to relate to someone your own age. I had a blast talking about how Japan and the U.S. are different. We let them taste a Reese's cup and tried to explain what peanut butter is. They didn't really get it.
On Saturday, Zack and I joined School 2 at the Matsumoto Bon Bon Festival, an event started 30 years to boost sales in Matsumoto once a year. Even if it isn't an ancient tradition, Bon Bon is AWESOME. Groups from different companies, schools, and even just groups of friends dance their way through the streets of the city as the official Bon Bon song plays over and over. It was pretty exhausting but so much fun! We sported England gear because the owner of School 2 is from England. Sorry, America. Didn't mean to disrespect. After the dancing, and drinking a beer every 20 minutes during the dancing breaks, we met up with Jerid and Yuki, our Matsumoto pals, and went bar hopping. We ended up at the same underground club that we went to the last time we were in the city, except instead of techno/house music, there were live Japanese rappers performing. It was fun for a while but it was soon apparent that Zack and I had had too much to drink and so we headed to bed.
Next week is my vacation from both schools that I've been training/semi-working at. We booked a hostel for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Tokyo. I can't wait! We're planning out which parts of the city we absolutely have to visit. We want to see robots, weird vending machines, and insane fashion.
I've accidentally eaten meat more times than I want to admit in the last couple weeks but I've learned to just move on and not beat myself up about it. The Japanese don't consider some things "meat" like we do in the States.
So that's my life update lately. I don't really miss the States so much as I miss people and familiarity. I'm making new friends all the time but I don't want to lose touch with my pals back home. If we do stay for another year, I promise I will be home to visit at some point! I could never be away for that long.