This blog is from Kirsty and Kesh's trip to Japan back in 2004/2005, hence the references to old technology.

WEEK 1

Our first week in Japan! We arrived at Kansai Airport on the 6th October just after 8am. Our apartment is about an hour and a half away by bus and train, and we live near a station called Awaji. It's surrounded by an old marketplace that sells fruit and vegetables, flowers and noodles. Our apartment is on the main road outside the marketplace in a six storey block of apartments. We actually have two bedrooms, which is more than we were expecting. Seeing as we only need one bedroom, we took the sliding doors off the second room and converted it to a living area. Our bedding is quite comfortable, contrary to what we were told. Futon beds here consist of two mattresses on top of each other, and a comforter.

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WEEK 2

Our second week in Japan was quite good. We finally figured out how the trains work (there are at least three different railways here) and can get around town quite easily. We discovered some cool fast food chains (Mos Burger and Mister Donut) and the interesting drinks you can get from the hundreds of vending machines around the city. My favourites are Dekavita C (like Red Bull) and Boss Coffee Au Lait (very sweet and creamy). I don't like Bikkle, which is a 375ml bottle of Yakult flavoured drink.

We finished our three days of training and did a few days teaching. It seems like a pretty easy job, especially because we're only working 5pm - 9pm Monday to Friday. The students are well behaved and very quiet. My first lesson was called Voice, which is a general discussion session. I had 10 silent students staring at me the whole time. Lucky I'm the queen of talking crap!

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WEEK 3

I've actually started dreaming in a Japanese context so my brain must finally understand that I'm going to be here for a while.

This week has really been about establishing a routine, although I must admit, it's a pretty strange one. We usually wake up at 12pm, have breakfast / lunch... go for a walk or read a book... then get ready for work and catch the train at 3.30, (Kesh doesn't have to leave until a bit later because his office is closer). I start at 5 but it takes about 45 minutes to commute and I like to have some time to plan classes. I then have four solid hours of teaching, which consists of 5 X 40 minute lessons plus a ten minute break in between each one. I have to use this time to make comments on each of the students I have taught and find my next students' files.

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WEEK 4

It's funny how doing something as mundane as going to the post office here feels like a major achievement.

This week we had to do a lot of usually mundane stuff. Like getting money from the ATM and picking up our Japanese bank cards... and signing up for wireless internet. The reason all of this was so exciting was because we didn't know where to go for any of these things, but we somehow managed to find them.

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WEEK 5

... And we have internet! It feels good to be connected to the rest of the world again!

This week has been good. I joined a rock climbing gym on Thursday with a friend from work. It's quite a bit different to Australia though... nowhere near as safe! There are no ropes or harnesses, just crashmats on the floor in case you fall. And even though most of the climbs are bouldering, (which means you climb horizontally rather than vertically) there are still some walls where if you fell, you'd probably break an arm or leg. I'm not used to climbing back down the wall either so it's a whole new experience for me!

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WEEK 6

We tried sake for the first time the other night. Kesh and I decided to share a 1.5 cup sake from the 7-Eleven. One of the guys at work said it's quite good if you heat it up, so we put it in a saucepan of boiling water before drinking it.

IT IS THE WORST THING I HAVE EVER TASTED!!!

It's just like how I imagine nail polish remover would taste (if it was heated to 30 degrees).

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WEEK 7

Aah... it's been a good week this week. I'm out of my grumpy phase. Apparently it's very common to experience huge mood swings while living here. All of the teachers I work with have said they've noticed same thing. One minute you're out partying and having the best time ever, and the next day you're on the train and an old man starts groping you and your mood turns bad. (Thankfully no old men have tried to touch me yet, but I've been told it's only a matter of time!)

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