13 October 2012

Diary of an ALT: Half way there

I just realised I'm half way through my contract with Interac here in Hiroshima. Half frickin' way! Five and a half months down, five and a half to go. Looking back on the last five and a half months I think (at least I hope) that I spent them well. I travelled, I explored, I adventured, I saw the sights, visited the museums, revelled in the culture and ate my weight in Japanese food (not including Japanese pastries which would probably double that estimate). I also spent a fair amount of time in my tiny apartment watching 30 Rock and reading the Dresden Files. There are only so many sights to see and sometimes I'm tired after work. So sue me.
Here's the part where I reminisce, escape now if you're already bored: I had dreamed about coming here for a good five years before I actually got my act together and saved the money, blagged the job and booked the flights. My love of Japan began with anime and manga like a lot of other Japanophiles (is that a word...? It is now I guess). Before I jumped on that plane I worked in a ticket booth for a night club. Knowing I was coming here kept me sane on those nights when I was freezing my toes off being argued with or hit on by drunken, silly people. The (cheesy) motto I had that I would chant inside my head was: Every step is a step closer to Japan. Lame right? Now I'm here. Has it lived upto my expectations? In a lot of ways it absolutely has, in others... nope. I won't get into all the details on that point or this could be a very long, ranty and boring post. And I wouldn't want to bore anyone who has actually taken the time to read this far.
In fact as a reward for getting this far here is a picture of some pretty oragami flowers
Here's the part where I try to sum up five and a half months in a few paragraphs: this journey (Don't stop belieeeeevin'!! Geddit?!) has had it's ups and downs. Mostly ups thankfully. The downs that stick out in my mind as of this moment in time are living all on my lonesome in a tiny apartment (which I moaned about here), culture shock (see here for my rant on that), the language barrier and the difficulties this causes, the times when an English class has gone horribly, hideously wrong or I have been treated like a human tape recorder, the cost of living, the four times I've found gigantic, terrifying cockroaches in my bathroom and the nightmare involved in catching and disposing of them, believing I had locked myself out of my apartment and having to precure a new key not realising my key was in my bag all along and Black Friday; a sake induced night of debauchery and disaster of which I and the other ALTs do not like to speak. All in all though the ups have far out weighed the downs.
You're still here? Reward number two: the greatest photo of a cloud I've ever taken.
A man in a hat, blowing smoke and flexing his muscled hand. Ta da!
The ups floating around my noggin at present are these: getting to travel this beautiful country and experience a culture vastly different from my own, learning a new language (poorly), the English classes that have gone fantastically well and the amazing students who make me actually want to go to work in the morning, making some awesome, new friends from all over the world, nights out with said awesome, new friends visiting some wierd and wonderful Japanese bars, discovering Japanese pastries (although with the amount of weight I've put on from them maybe this should be a down...), gaining the courage to sing at karaoke in front of people, beginning to write for two websites one of which got me press passes to the Hiroshima Animation Festival (woop woop! brag brag!), beginning this blog which I've really enjoyed writing, slightly improving my apartment by buying a bean bag and a kindle, and Curry Sunday; a fabulous girly day out with my friend involving some of the best curry I've ever tasted, plenty of free red wine kindly provided by a slightly unhinged, older Japanese gentlemen and a daring escape from the chauvinistic yet polite clutches of some Afghany men who wanted to make us their mistresses.
So that is my summary of my time here so far. I'll keep it short and simple as if I tried to go into real detail the total overload of information and whining could break the internet and Bill Gates would come back to haunt me for my sins.
(Edit: I don't know why I wrote Bill Gates there he's not dead. I think I meant Steve Jobs. Who wasn't all that involved with the internet was he? Maybe he'd possess me iPod or something).
Your final reward for reading this far is... rat babies!! Ba ha ha ha.
Bet you thought it would be something nice. The moral of the story
here is: I am wierd and inconsistent. Thanks for reading my blog by the way

1 comment

  1. I've found a lot of experiences in life turn out that way - we imagine it being glorious and perfect and forget that despite living an awesome dream, reality still bites sometimes! But usually the ups will outweigh the downs.

    Was interesting to read some of your thoughts.

    AND that cloud picture is AMAZING! I think it would win a photography competition or two. If you're into that.


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Maira Gall