Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Things just ain`t like what they are back home

So, I`m in another internet cafe. Next week I`ll get my Gaijin Card (meaning I`ll officially be registered as a foreigner/alien) and will be able to do all sorts of wonderful things like opening a bank account, getting a phone line and INTERNET ACCESS at home, getting a mobile, etc, but for now this is it.

This internet cafe I`m in right now: I`m in my own private booth with closed window, my own lamp and extremely comfy office chair. I`m drinking (complementary) Earl Grey tea in a nice china mug, though I could have as many free hot or drinks as I like from a very wide choice. There are very cheap snacks available too, should I get peckish. And if it all gets too much, or if I get too cold or uncomfortable, there are blankets and head supports I can use. Oh and there are toilets here too. If anything exists like this in London, I`ve not found it. But then I didn`t visit that many internet cafe`s in London.

After classes yesterday I needed some more fresh veg and wandered into another supermarket. I DO love supermarkets here. I have no idea what 80% of the things are, and that makes it so much fun. What does amaze me though, is the price of rice. I thought rice was meant to be really cheap in Japan. Noodles and pasta are, but rice? ouch. I saw a drink called Creap which made me giggle. Shame it wasn`t spelt `creep`, but still...... Also, they have these little plastic gizmos you can take and put around the handles of your carrier bag to make them easier and more comfy to carry. Gotta love it! Another, slightly more alarming, thing I`ve been seeing in quite a few shops is face whitener. Think Michael Jackson....

Another of the more `original` - okay, I`ll stick to `odd` fashions here is the liking for baggy leggings and baggy tights. Grannyrama or what? Sometimes worn as are, sometimes peaking out from skirts.

All of my lessons seem to be going pretty well now and I love most of my students. The four nine year olds I had a rough lesson with last week, were much easier to deal with yesterday when I actually had the right stuff planned and knew how to use the tape recorder. Problem is though that they are very different levels from each other, with one being particularly good and one being particularly bad. The others fall in the middle. The bad one spent yesterday unable to keep his eyes open, so I cruely kept making the others shout. He looked dazed. It was quite amusing. Anyway, I do think he`d benefit more from individual tuition, but having an even number in the class works well for team games. It`s pretty much up to me to influence what happens next and if I want him removed from the class. But I`d feel guilty, even though it`d be for the benefit of the others. Oh gah!

My students hate doing listening comprehensions, so I keep giving them them to do. OO the power! I do explain it`s for their own good and they seem to enjoy doing them.... but would rather just chat. Listening comps are the compromise! I`m loving learning new games and trying them on the students. They`re not `new` games, just new to me, and make it all a bit more fun and varied for them and me, even though the material we use in class isn`t tooooooo bad.

I had to give a trial lesson yesterday to assess someone`s level. Poor guy was exhausted afterwards but has signed up and I get first stab at him next week. (He won`t be doing regular lessons). A brand new student. hehehehe!!!!! But I`ll be gentle. Maybe.

Yet another of the better thought out things in Japan are toilet doors that open outwards. I can`t stand it when doors open inwards into tiny cubicles that you have to then manoeuvre yourself into. This is so much more sensible.

I`ve now started using buses as well as trains. Some you pay when you get on, and some you pay when you get off. It`s pretty easy to figure out though: just see which set of doors is open. The insides of the buses, like the trains, is very wide with lots of space down the middle. One things that cracks me up is that over the wheel arches are seats. To sit on these you practically have your knees under your chin. It`s very comical watching people in these seats.

If you look out of the window from the train, you see very few buildings that are under four storeys high, and they are all emblazened with huge banners advertising what they are in bright colours and huge letters.

Tokyo is such a mish mash, and I`ve still only seen about 1% of it!


Blogger Elspeth said...

wow i like the sound of those internet cafes, you could almost live in one!

12:01 pm

Blogger Jo said...

i forgot to mention they also have showers. seriously!

10:30 pm


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