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Time for: Estelle QUIZ!

How well do you know me? Think again! Below are some examples of the presentation I’ve made for my first day of class o(^▽^)o

*The example below is for my highest grades. The winners -poor souls- will have to tell me about themselves IN ENGLISH ( ⚆ _ ⚆ )

First off, you’ll need the sheet of questions that goes along with the answers!

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Then you’ll be given the questions and answers! Here are a few examples:

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Fellow JETs, if you want to use this as a template, be my guest:

SELF INTRO

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First week in Japan

I.Made.It!

That’s right, I’ve survived my first week in Japan (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

I’m going to skip over my 2 days in Tokyo… what can I say, lots of jetlag and although the 2nd day was full of interesting workshops, it was a bit of a repetitive, irrelevant snore fest. Moving on.

WHERE in Japan am I? Well, if you read my first post attentively, as I know you did O(≧▽≦)O you’ll know I’m on the island of Shikoku. More specifically in Kuroshio-cho 黒潮町, located in Hata District, Kōchi Prefecture.

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As you can see, I’m really in the middle of nowhere #inaka

I was picked up at the airport by my supervisor and the other JET working here. When I arrived I excitedly looked for them, there was a crowd facing me with colorful banners and names buuuuuut I couldn’t find them! Turns out they had been given the wrong arrival time haha. I wasn’t the only one in that situation though and when they did arrive I got my very own banner unrolled.

welcome_kuroshiowelcome_kuroshio 2The ride to my new home was very beautiful, bright green and yellow fields surrounded by mountains and then the BRIGHT. BLUE. OCEAN. (。♥‿♥。) I was too excited and jetlagged to snap pics of the latter, but don’t worry, they will be bountiful! We had lunch together, soba for me and I tasted the katsu kare from the other JET because… well, me.

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We arrived at my new house which is great: kitchen, living room and bedroom. Best of all, my predecessor was here for 5 years so INTERNET right off the bat! It’s all furnished and set up which is really nice because I would have been way too jet lagged to figure out what to buy on day 1. I’ll be uploading a video tour soon, when the lighting is better (very rainy now), so in the meantime, here’s a picture of Alphonse:

Alphonse

The first night, after a few purchases in the next city (Shimanto-shi), the other JET and I had dinner at Joyful, a chain here, which was very welcome as I was both HANGRY and bursting with questions. Day 2 was a whirlwind of paperwork, bank accounts and getting a cellphone. The highlight of my day was eating the famous katsuo from here! In fact I had katsuo tataki 2 days in a row because it’s just SO.GOOD.

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Nabura restaurant katsuo tataki at 佐賀駅 (Saga train station)

Every morning until September, I go to the Board of Education since it’s natsumi no hi –summer break- right now. It’s quite rural, nestled between the ocean and mountains, the peaks of which are very misty right now.

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BOE_view3saga_boatsIn my first week here, I’ve managed to “break” the kitchen screen door (OOPS) and accidentally let in a gokiburi –cockroach- (yay for not promptly closing the door) BUT I did figure out how to use the fish grill in my stove top SO, point for me!

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Testing out the grill with delicious 鰞 (squid)

I’ve also been very confused by all the announcements (which I can’t understand) from the town coming in through the speaker in my living room. I figure, no siren, no problem! It’s been very rainy and windy due to it being typhoon season so I haven’t been out as much as I wanted to; However, Friday I did get to wander around a little and hit up both a bakery and farmer’s market:

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ONIONS ftw
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The bakery or literally, bread store.
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Chicken anyone?

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Farmer’s market

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That about sums up my first week here. I’m looking forward to good weather so I can check out the beach and explore more of the town. I should be able to use a car very soon… that’ll be interesting since they drive on the other side of the road. I’ve used my first weekend in to unpack and cook a bunch of bentos for work next week. Current goal, not wake up at 5:30 am anymore! Matta ne ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

 

 

 

A little about me

Yokoso: That means welcome in Japanese😊

So yes, what’s going on here, what is this blog all about? Well, you’ll be following me (Estelle) on my JET programme experience in Japan! You might be a potential, new or experienced JET yourself, a lover of Japanese culture… or maybe a friend or family (I certainly HOPE you’ll be following me!) sticking around for any tips, tricks and Japanese adventure.

I’m very excited for this 2017-2018 experience since I’ll be teaching English in Japan. That’s right: ONE. WHOLE. YEAR. Am I excited? You bet! Am I crazy? Maybe! Why am I doing this? Here’s a little bit of my story…

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The yukata is real but the background is Photoshop magic 😛

I was originally studying Business and Fashion in Toronto  when I was suddenly overcome by a passion for Japan! Up until then my knowledge was pretty limited -sushi, geisha and the (amazing!) Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga book by Chris Uhlenbeck– but it was most wonderfully broadened to language, history, takoyaki and JRock!

It took me less than 6 months to make a life changing decision: move to Montreal to do Japanese studies. My goal was to be able to work both in Canada and Japan in order to be a bridge between both cultures, and I knew that I needed to learn the language as well as everything I could about the country to make this happen. I survived 6 hours of Japanese class every week (and countless hours of homework!) which has given me a lifelong appreciation for learning a language so radically different from my own (I’m fully bilingual in both French and English, also my kanji skills are still abysmal).

I participated in as many cultural activities as I could, from being a volunteer contributor to Coco Montreal, making mochi at the JCCCM, and devouring the delicious bento at the Botanical Garden’s yearly O-hanami.

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Credit: Espace pour la vie

Nearing the end of my studies, I accidentally came upon CLC Montreal, a language school* in Monkland. Life is full of happy accidents and this is one for which I’ll be forever grateful. Not only was I lucky enough to work doing marketing, I was also able to teach English to Japanese students! This was more than just a cultural exchange, I made close friendships and became familiar with how the Japanese learn English.

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Credit: CLC Montreal

Now you’re probably thinking “Estelle… edit, get to how you became a JET!”

Ok, ok. Life went on as it does after my time with CLC Montreal and I hadn’t applied to the JET programme because the timing didn’t feel right. Although I love Japan and had traveled there many times, I never saw myself living there on the long term. What would I do when I returned to Montreal, 5 years later, with no CV and network? It was really important to me to get proper work experience first.

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My last trip to Japan: Sanno hie jinja in Tokyo

Looking back on it now, as I get ready to leave, I’m very happy that I made that decision. Had I done the JET programme at that time of my life I may have been too rigid in my expectations and desires for its outcome, whereas now I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity! Fast forward to last fall (2016) and I was finally ready to apply.

And here I am now, about to leave to Japan for a fully 365 days. Let’s do this! Gambarimashou 🙂

*If you’re looking to learn Japanese there are some GREAT language schools here in Montreal:

Nihongo Montreal run by Patrick Chaury, former colleague, friend, and a go-to teacher for the Japanese Consulate and JET programme.

ALI Montreal where you’ll be taught by Daigo Shima, former student and an English teacher himself when he was in Japan.