18 Jul

Almost two weeks before departure, my fellow NYC JETs and I finally received our placements. At least three of us are very close together, and all about 1 or 1.5 hours south of Fukuoka City, the capital of our prefecture.

My high school’s town is called Kurogi. It’s a small town in Yame district. I will actually be living 10 miles away in Chikugo, a “bigger” town of about 47,000 people. It is a mountainous area with many green tea plantations, so while I haven’t found any pictures yet I expect the area will be beautiful!

My school has only 600 students, which is the same size as the high school I attended here in the States. It’s a very intimate size, and should give me lots of opportunities to get to  know the 13 to 18 year old students. I will definitely have to work on remembering names, because I have found Japanese names very difficult to retain so far. They are just different from what I am used to.

There’s pretty limited info online about my two towns, so I’ll update as I find out more. Especially if I can get pics. 🙂

The biggest relief for me was to learn that there is already an apartment set up for me. I was terrified at the thought of house-hunting in a language I don’t speak while living out of a love hotel in the middle of the inaka. So this is good news indeed.
Mentally speaking, where am I right now? Completely genki. That’s an important word in Japanese for students and foreigners. It means enthusiastic, almost manically so, and really eager to learn. At least, I think that’s what it means. Anyway, I’m feeling very genki. Of course I have plenty of concerns. Will I be a complete disaster communicating with the kids? Will I get along with my co-teachers? Will my apartment be decent and livable? How will I get by with almost no Japanese? And so on and so forth ad nauseum.

But while those are all valid concerns, I won’t let them dominate my thoughts. There is no reason to assume I’ll have those problems. The real challenges will probably be things I haven’t thought of, anyway. And no matter what, there will be wonderful, incredible, rewarding aspects of the experience. So that’s what I’m focusing on. Because I know that something positive and broadening and unforgettable awaits me on the other side of this world, and I’m going to go find it. 😀


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