I have completed my first full week of solo teaching here in Okinawa! There are still a few areas of my job where I am unsure of what is expected of me, but I think that can be said for any new job. Overall, I feel pretty comfortable in the classroom and most of the students are already warming up to me....they are all really cute! I teach Tuesday-Friday from 2-9:30, Saturday from 9-7 :\ , and then two preschool/kindergartens a week from 10a.m.-11a.m. The kindergartens are a lot of fun! On my first day, the really small kids kind of just stared at me in awe. They were so funny and I couldn't help but laugh at the looks on their faces when I walked in. After my lesson we sang the 'Good-Bye' song and I wasn't prepared for what happened after. Apparently it is common for Japanese kids to curiously poke at adults in various places of their bodies (this was really awkward), so after we finished the song, all 35 of my Japanese preschoolers ran to me as fast as they could and were literally climbing over each other just to get a chance to touch me. They all wanted high fives and would start crying if I missed them, and while I was giving high fives, other kids were clinging to my legs, poking at me, 1 kid was trying to hand me my bag while another kid was trying to pull it down and look into it.....and this happened in every preschool/kindergarten class I taught! It was a very interesting experience, but at least I am prepared for it when it happens next time! It felt like an ambush!
I am finally all moved into my apartment and I love it! It is the perfect size for me, and I will post pictures of it later on when I get everything organized the way I want it. There is a kitchen area with a small table, a living room area with a couch and a T.V. which is basically just an extension of the kitchen, my bedroom, a bathroom/shower, and then two small balconies. I have a washing machine on one of the balconies but no dryer. Instead, I have clotheslines on my balcony to hang all of my clothes...this is going to be an adjustment, but a pretty easy one. It makes sense that most people hang-dry their clothes here because it is so hot.
I am slowly getting used to the food here, there is definitely a lot of sushi and noodles, and I am trying to ease myself into the raw fish. Luckily, Ben was able to bring me on the Marine base so I could go grocery shopping and buy tons of American food. We went to the beach last weekend with 1 of my teacher friends (Sarah) and a bunch of his Marine friends and it was a lot of fun. We wanted to go jet-skiing but all of the jet-skiis (sp?) were at the shop on that particular day, which was unfortunate. But it was a beautiful day and they did have kayaks available, so we kayaked to a few different coves and saw a ton of crabs! The crabs were huuugggee and plentiful and Ben was really tempted to try and catch some so he could cook them for dinner! We swam for a bit in the ocean and played catch on the beach, I played with the new baseball mit that Ben bought for me as a surprise!
This weekend we wanted to experience the nightlife in Naha (city where I live) so Ben and a few of his Marine friends came down to Naha and two other teachers took us out for a night on the town. The first bar we went to was called 'American Idol' and is a karaoke bar owned by a Californian! It was a really fun night and we even tried the Okinawan McDonald's, which everyone swears is better than American McDonald's...I thought it tasted the same.
Ben had a cookout at his place yesterday and then we lit off some fireworks at the beach to celebrate the 4th of July. The fireworks were very G-rated (mostly sparklers and fountains) but it was still nice to be able to enjoy them, even in Japan.
I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July back in the States! Don't forget to e-mail me about everyone's updates!