This is so late! I meant to post this a few days after my last post, but I completely forgot! Better late than never (with like, little over a week until Japan).
About a month or so ago, I had my first contact with my CO, the Hamamatsu Board of Education. A package in the mail (I heard word of mouth from K that she received one so kept my eyes open for mine) which contained my Terms and Conditions, Terms of Agreement, an Official Welcome Letter and a brochure on Hamamatsu-shi. I think I’ve read through that like, 80 times. It’s pretty vague, but I’m keen for information so I took what I could. It cleared up some things for me I wasn’t sure of, like how many paid holidays I got, my hours, my workdays, and general information like that. The Terms of Agreement and Welcome letter had a little more specific information on things like Tokyo Orientation and various aspects of my life in Japan, such as what type of clothing to bring, what my apartment would have, how much I might pay for rent etc. It was nice to have something to teeth on.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from our contact at the BoE regarding some information on our placement. There’s 9 incoming JETs: 1 CIR and 8 ALTs. According to the email, our bank accounts will be set up for us (for the most part) and finalized the day we arrive in Hamamatsu-shi; they’ll handle making our hankos (even though I already have one); our rent is subsidized (SCORE), and we’ll be provided some major appliances (washer, fridge, TV, AC) in our apartment. Also! We’re all going to meet the Mayor of Hamamatsu-shi and the Superintendent (Board of Education) our first day! Talk about pressure!
Shortly after getting that email, I received another email informing me of my schools and who my predecessor is. I’ve been assigned four schools: one Junior High School and three Elementary Schools. After talking with my pred, R, I found out my base school (the one I spend the most time at) is the JHS. I’ll spend Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday there. Monday’s I’ll be at ES1; ES2 will be three or so Thursdays a month and ES3 will probably only be once a month. R also said that there is a convenient bus that goes to three of the schools while another I can reach via walking and a short train ride. Apparently the bus stop I need is right outside my apartment! Score again! He said he would send pictures soon and I can’t wait to see what the apartment looks like!
I’ve slowly been accumulating more work clothing appropriate for the weather in my new home and thinking up ideas for omiyage for my supervisors and students. So far my best idea has been to bring individually packaged vacuum sealed smoked salmon strips. Originally, I was going to bring some Alaskan fudge over, but I feel like it might melt before I can pop it in the fridge. I hope I can get them through customs; I never had an issue when my parents sent me jarred or sealed salmon in the past when I lived in Japan, but I’ve never tried actually bringing a bag of it over in my suitcase. If anything, I’ll just have them send me a box of it shortly before I leave.
Other things I’ve gotten so far include gift sets of berry teas and a ton ( I mean A TON) of post cards. I also grabbed a few books of the Northern Lights. I’ve collected quite a few Alaska pins (with like 7 different designs) from various House Reps and Senators, so I was thinking of doing a reward system with them too, at least for my JHS. I don’t think I should give pins to the ES student’s >< One of my tribal organizations, the Sealaska Corporation, donated a book on Celebration (large cultural and heritage festival for Tlingit and Haida Indians in SE Alaska that’s held every two years), two DVD’s and a CD of the language to me! I was so thrilled and grateful! The last Celebration was in 2014 and I was already in Japan at the time teaching at a private school, so I missed it. The next on is in 2016, but I’ll be in Japan again! Now to see if I have room for my region free DVD player…
This past week, I received a confirmation email from the travel agency handling our reservations and stuff and it’s kinda hitting me now that I’m going back. But it would be my luck that the Alaska Departures would have the only 5am flight AND have to be at the airport three hours before that; guess who isn’t getting any sleep on the 31st? We have to leave early though because we’re catching our flight to Tokyo from Seattle. I’m glad I have an aisle seat for that flight at least! Small favors indeed.
Hoping to have another update in a few days; currently in Seattle getting last minute things and spending time with my best friend. I’ll be back in Juneau next week and will have to pack two suitcases, a carry on and a back pack in one day. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
On another note: only 8 days until Japan.
When did that happen?