The “rumor” is true.
I really am moving to Kuji, Japan this summer to teach English to elementary and middle school students for a year, maybe even two! I’ll also be working a desk job at the Board of Education office.
Do I know Japanese? That’s usually the first question people ask me when I tell them my big news. No, I sure don’t. Well, I take that back. I know about six words. That includes “sayonara” (meaning “goodbye”), which just about everyone seems to know.
Do I have a love for the Japanese culture? Not particularly. I’ve never intensely studied Japan for the last 10 years or anything like that. I’ve just known that I want to live in another country for a while after I graduate from college. When I learned that Franklin College has a sister city in Japan and sends two graduates there every other year to teach, I thought, “Wow, that would be a great opportunity for someone.” And then I thought, “Wait. I’m a senior. This is something I could do!” I feel like this is the time in my life – before I start a career of family – to do something like this.
So I contacted Melissa, the Franklin alumna who is in Kuji now. She’s been filling me in on details of the job. Melissa has been extremely informative and helpful, and I joke that she’s writing me a book about Kuji. I’ll write more in depth about what she’s told me in future blog posts. But for now, here is some of the basic information I know:
- Kuji is a town on the northeast side of the main island, Honshu, and is along the coast. About 40,000 people live there.
- It is a paid position, and I’ll get 20 paid vacation days. I hope to use these to travel to other countries in Asia.
- I’ll have a furnished apartment when I arrive in Kuji! (I’m just not sure how I’m going to pack a year’s worth of things in two suitcases!)
- They’re providing a car so I can travel to different schools.
- I’ll pay for living expenses and gas. Rent is 50,000 yen a month, which is about $450.
- I’ll be teaching at 15 different elementary schools (!!) and three or four junior high schools.
- I’ll technically be considered an ALT (assistant language teacher), so I won’t be in the classrooms by myself.
- Each afternoon of the work week (Monday - Friday) will be spent at Kuji City Hall in an office.
Overall, I’m excited about this opportunity to learn about the Japanese culture and teach others about the American culture and English. It’s good to know that I won’t be the only American in Kuji. Liz Bassler from Franklin will live next door to me in the apartment building, and other English-speakers live in the town. I’ve heard that just by being American, we’ll have instant celebrity status! This will be an adventure, that’s for sure.
I'll be keeping anyone who wants to read about my adventure in Japan (and who knows where else I might travel to!) informed though this blog. Until I'm in Japan, I'll be doing weekly posts that contain updates of how the "getting-ready-for-the-big-move process" is going, more information about the job, general information I've learned about Japan/Kuji, as well as my excitements and anxieties regarding this grand adventure!
Well, sayonara for now.