Pace picking up

I’m starting to get pretty busy now, with increasing numbers of private students contacting me through www.findateacher.net and www.nativesensei.com. In addition to that, the Shibuya school is throwing a lot more work my way – I have another full day of 1-on-1 tomorrow (thanks to Shari I’ll be better prepared this time!)

Today I was reminded of another benefit of teaching abroad – you’re able to learn a lot about the culture your in from your students. I’ve been fortunate this weekend to be able to teach an advanced-level student for about four hours. In that time I’ve learnt quite a bit about Japanese financial institutes, which to my surprise I found completely fascinating.

Had a great jog around the Imperial Palace with Tom this morning (about 5K) – we plan to make this a regular Sunday morning thing, which I’m very happy about. My knees didn’t play up at all, although my left hip did go into granny mode towards the end.

Other exciting happenings today: received a big box of vegees from *Twinkle*s mum via Pelican Express – it’s quite a tradition in Japan for parents to send food parcels to their children in the cities, a tradition I’m very grateful of. Not quite sure what all the vegetables are mind you, there’s some kind of rooty things that I’ve never seen before. Will have to ask *Twinkle* when she gets home.

Feeling very grateful to already know my way around Tokyo, and not having to learn where everything is from scratch. I’ve been wondering, how did I managed to feel settled back in 2002 when there were so many unknowns?

I’m also enjoying living in an area I’ve not lived in before. I’ve never felt terribly comfortable with Shibuya in the past – it’s always been that place ‘down there’ full of people and blahhhhh. But now it’s becoming my hub: I work there, our office is there, I pass through it when going elsewhere. It’s not all that bad really. I’m starting to feel quite fond of it.

I set about preparing for December’s Japanese language proficiency test this afternoon. Bought a text book, went to the website to register …only to find that I’d missed the deadline for this year! Silly me. Oh well, I’ll still continue to study anyhow. I really want to improve my Japanese, I feel it’s very important for me personally that I do continue to develop those skills, it makes such a difference.

iPhone continues to be incredibly useful, starting to get to the stage of “what did I do without it?”. 3G is very fast. The keyboard with its automatic error correction is fantastic – you can get about half of the letters wrong and it still knows what you mean!

Right, best get on with lesson prep. TTFN

The hazards of being gadget boy

It's not easy being such a big fan of technology. Take this morning
for example: I got so absorbed in fiddling around on the Internet on
my phone that I completely forgot that I only needed to go two stops.
When I realised I'd gone too far I got off, crossed the platform and
absent-mindedly got on another train… Which them turned out to also
be heading in the wrong direction. In the end it took me half an hour
to do a 5 minute journey!

I'm now at school waiting for my student to arrive. There's a big
procession passing by in the street below – respect to them as they
refuse to let their spirits be dampened by the rain!

It’s all good

I’m a big believer in Synchronicity, experiencing its benefits on a daily basis. It’s taken me a while to reach this point, where it’s no longer just something to smile or say ‘wow’ at, but actually a tool to be used when deciding which path to take.

I’ve been using it quite a bit this week, as people come into my life in somewhat unexpected ways. The private school I’m now teaching at part time has been a bit like that. It’s an ideal environment for me to develop my confidence in. I’m being continuously thrown in at the deep end (that is, being put in situations that had I known in advance I would be put in I would have stressed about a great deal), it’s sink or swim, and so far I’ve managed to swim pretty well. The manager seems to trust me a great deal, although I’m not entirely sure why as they barely know me (OK, so I’m giving them good reason to trust me now by doing a good job and being very communicative). I feel it was no accident that I met them.

And again today. I attended a talk about detox diets – although it turned out it wasn’t really about dieting at all, it was more about healthy living – a timely reminder for *Twinkle* and I as meals are something else we’re thinking about as a part of our new life together. Anyway, the organisers of the event were keen to introduce me (the foreigner) to the speaker, a highly respected expert in his field, and I was happy to utilise my foreignness to make an impression. I mentioned that I was an English teacher, to which he responded by insisting that I teach him (I start with him on Thursday). That’s not all that significant in itself, but it has got us thinking about how we might use my (developing) teaching skills to establish a mini-English school of our own. We have use of an office in Shibuya, and we have a network of potential students as represented by Mr. Detox. This would not replace my full-time job, just supplement it.

In other news, I think I’ll be joining a photography group. They only meet once a month, but are nice and friendly 🙂 Thanks to Stu for the tip-off.

I’m keen to see as much of my friends as possible whilst I can, so tomorrow at 7.30am I’ll be meeting Tom in carriage one of the train to the Imperial Palace – which we’ll then jog around – start of the training program that will culminate with the 10K Tokyo marathon next spring (if we get in, it’s always oversubscribed).

Suppose I’d best get some shut-eye then. Nighty Night!

Do you recognise this man?

I can’t be the only one who is being stalked by this man – I’ve seen him several times since I got back, and I remember him from 2006/ 2007 too.

Does anyone know anything about him? Is he a local celebrity like Hello Kitty Scooter Gran in Niseko?

(Apologies for poor photo – iPhone will only take non-blurry pictures if it is embedded in a 23 tonne lump of concrete).