The next stage
Well, my year is coming to a close here in Japan, and so I've been having to think about what to do. Actually, I had to decide back in February whether or not I'd renew this contract. Due to the problems I'd been having with the home life and the school, I decided rather emphatically not to renew. That meant having to decide what to do next.
I was tossing up between returning to NZ, or perhaps moving on to England and pursuing something in the legal field there, or perhaps even staying in Japan and trying something new somewhere else here. In the end, that's the decision I've made. I've heard too many stories from too many people who are having a great time in this country to leave with a sour taste in my mouth. So, I decided that if I could pin down a good job here post-August, I'd stay a while yet.
So, after a bit of hunting and a few interviews, it's sorted. I'm going to moving to Kyoto City and starting a new job there. I will be doing the same basic teaching thing, but it will be at two different High Schools, which will be a world of difference from what I've been doing so far. The pay will be considerably less, but the vast increase in quality of life I believe will more than make up for it. Also, considering the absurd costs I have to pay here, which will no longer exist, the financial situation could even end up balancing out.
In my personal life, I'm looking forward to having neighbours who will speak to me, nearby stores I can buy things at, the existence of people between the ages of 15 and 40, radio reception, and a main street that doesn't look like this at peak hour:
In my job, I'm looking forward to having coworkers who will speak to me, possibly some within something approaching my age bracket, and possibly some who might even be willing to socialise with me outside of the office. I'm looking forward to students who can appreciate the fact that I am not the only person on Earth who speaks English and can't speak fluent Japanese, and so understand why learning English can be important. I'm also looking forward to students who have some limited level of English already, so I can try some real teaching with them. Most of all, I'm looking forward to co-teachers who will actually allow me to attend the classes I'm there to teach, and who might appreciate the effort I'm willing to put into it.
It is going to be sad though, leaving my kids here. I have gotten to know quite a few of them pretty well in the Middle School, and while I haven't gotten to know many of the Primary Schoolers that well as individuals, I still do know most of them by face, and some by name, and they all know me, and they're all so damn cute. I'm really trying to avoid the situation where they interpret a move within Japan as one where I'm moving because I don't like them.
But anyway, now I have to start looking for a new place to live! I will have two schools – one has an advanced English program, and is located in a nice area just south of Kyoto Central station. The other is located near the centre of Kyoto City, and is an Art High School! That was the deal-cincher in the end. I love art, and the idea of teaching at a high school which specialises in Art really excites me. I look forward to seeing the work that they turn out, and meeting the people who will be producing it. Maybe I can even get back into my Art myself – something which I haven't really done for a few years.
In closing, perhaps this short clip can give you some idea of what I believe I can expect from a Japanese Art High School 🙂