Wednesday, 10 February 2010


That is the date that I have to arrive in Hamamatsu. Yes, the training will take place there, not Tokyo. On the negative side, this means it will cost me at least £40 to get from the airport to Hamamatsu station (depending on the airport that I fly to)... on the plus side, when my friend asked me a few weeks ago where in Japan I hoped to go, I said "Hamamatsu". I don't really know much about the place, but I had researched it once after hearing somebody else who lived there talk about it, and decided that it was a beautiful place! And out of all the places in Japan, there I will be!

Now, this is more for my own benefit rather than yours, but here are ALL the things I have to do in the next 6 weeks...

-Go to London and process my Visa. I am already going to London in 2 weeks to do a week of work experience (GREAT idea) so this will be OK
-Book my flights (I can do this very soon)
-Call my doctors to arrange vaccinations (nope, haven't done this yet. I can go to a travel clinic and get them done pretty quickly though, I think)
-Arrange teaching materials. Interac like to use original materials... this means menus, flyers, anything in English that I can get my grubby mitts on in the next few weeks, as well as pretty photos of where I'm from for self-introductions.
-Sort out clothes - this not only includes choosing which clothes to bring, but buying several new items. Teachers in Japan dress formally (I'm talking pressed suits) and do not readily sell clothes for girls with 32GG boobies. So everything has to come over with me in one HUGE suitcase
-Arrange gifts. There's an irritating traditional of gift exchange in Japan, and I've been told to bring gifts for staffroom sharing for my first day at (each) school... something from home. So individually wrapped sweets or teabags or something that will survive the flight and not draw too much suspicion from customs!
-Buy some pretty, shiny new stationary (although I'm SURE they will sell this in Japan)
-Sort out an International Driving License (a visit to the Post Office in Manchester should do the trick)
-Try to see everyone as much as possible... perhaps arrange a leaving party! There are people that I will miss more than I can say, and while I feel massively guilty about leaving them for a year, there are things a person has to do. Plus the internet will mean that we are more in touch than we could ever have been in previous decades.

Whew! Well, I suppose that for anyone else in the same boat as me, this will jog your memory as to what you need to do. So it's... about 40 days... aaaaaaaaargh!!!! I won't lie to you. I have considered giving it all up, staying here in the UK where I know the score; where it's safe and I'm surrounded by my loving friends and family, where I could eventually get a job, where our mild climate and environment means I'm mostly safe (apart from the gun-wielding neighbours in Manchester). I could do that. I could also spend the rest of my life kicking myself because I didn't take up an opportunity to live and work in a completely different culture, to learn a new language and to become a different person, while I was young and had near to no responsibilities. I could work forever in a job I hated, afraid of venturing outside in case the scary unknown comes to get me. I feel guilty for leaving my family... leaving them to worry about their little girl in an unknown country, far away... but how much can I stay behind out of guilt? I just know that I might wake up, suddenly old, with chilren and a house and other commitments, and wish I had gone to see the world while I had the chance.


  1. Don't bother with stationary, you'll definitely find better in Japan. They have a ridiculous amount of cute stationary and stickers and all kinds of fun stuff.

    Your list is very similar to mine - so much to do! Good luck!

  2. Hamamatsu, wow. You will be in the same BoE as me. I think you will be replacing one of my friends that are leaving to go home. Hamamatsu is a very nice city with loads of ALTs to hang around with and festivals to attend.

    Once you know your schools let me know. If it's Maisaka we will be neighbors.

    Also, dont worry about training. It's a lot of fun.

    If you have any questions drop me comment on my page.

  3. Hey Gwynnie!

    I got lucky with the flights... I did a year abroad at Uni in Japan, so I built up a lot of airmiles going backwards and forwards. I booked my flight with Virgin Atlantic using this airmiles plus money scheme, and got a return for £460. The earliest I could go it was the 18th, though, so I'll be spending a few nights in Tokyo!

    What I did find researching flights, though, is that the *cheap flights* that stop over in Europe are very rarely cheaper than direct ones. It's definitely worth flying over early and getting a hotel, I got 3 nights in a gorgeous central Tokyo hotel for £150!

    Where in Wales do you hail from originally? My boyfriend's Welsh, and as such takes a great interest in anything Welsh!

    Good luck with those travel plans xxx