Life in Japan thus far

I haven`t posted anything in the past month. So much has happened though.
But since right now I`m within the confines of work (aka sitting down doing nothing at the Board of Education), I`ll try keep this short.

Life as a JET living in inaka
For those that don`t know, I`ve been placed in a tiny town called Emukae (江迎) in Nagasaki prefecture. I`m smack in the middle of the forest-filled mountains where the bugs sing all day and all night. I`ve seen spiders that are totally different than those I`ve seen in the States, both in size and color. Nobody in my town except for the JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) at my jr. high speaks English.

But you know what? I love it here.

The people are VERY nice and helpful. They warm up even more when you express interest in learning the language. Also, knowing about EXILE and knowing how to sing their songs is a plus, as it has interestingly been a nice bridge that allowed me to start getting to know my co-workers (haha!). I`ve been learning the town dialect little by little, so if I come back sounding like a country bumpkin, I`ll be extremely happy.

My arrival date, I was greeted with my supervisor and my predecessor. They were really cool people. After settling into my gigantic house (2 stories, 3 huge bedrooms!), we met with the rest of the Board of Education for a welcoming dinner. Afterwards, we went out for karaoke! It was super fun!

I`m placed in two elementary schools and one jr. high. My first few days after arrival, I made rounds and introduced myself to the the teachers, in addition the Board of Education and Town Hall (I even met the mayor). On the Nagasaki bomb memorial, Sunday August 9, I made rounds once again to greet all the students.

The neighboring ALTs are all great folks. They`ve been really helpful in me getting to know my area, getting a phone, car, etc. Also, every weekend we`ve been doing things nonstop. One of my favorite outings was visiting this epic waterfall, were the path to get there was filled with slippery rocks. Near the top, close to the actual waterfall, there was a small pond and creek were folks were hanging out, swimming, jumping into the water from 30-40 ft, etc. So fun!
One thing I definitely have to get used to is being the token Asian guy.

My small town is great. I don`t get much of the `superstar` status because I`m asian and some people just mistake me for another Japanese guy. People have to ask to make sure I`m not Japanese! Though I don`t feel like my speaking has improved much, my confidence and comprehension have definitely leveled up! I guess also my conversation skills have improved as well. I can say those factors have improved because of the childrens conversation (子供英会話) class I`ve been teaching 3 days a week since last week. I`ve had to communicate to the kids in Japanese in order to explain something in English. Oh man in the beginning, EVERYBODY was extremely shy. Nobody said anything and everything I said was met with blank stares. However, little by little, the kids warmed up to me. Now I`m met with smiles!

This past Sunday and Monday (yesterday) was Sentoro Matsuri, the town`s biggest festival. It`s so big that folks from the neighboring towns and cities come down to participate. The main attraction is the Sentoro Tower, or the tower of 1000 lanterns. However, my absolute favorite part of the festival happened in day two, when Yosakoi-ish dance troupes danced on the street! Imagine, traditional Japanese music on top of hip-hop, rock, and/or swing! The music was extremely crazy and I`ve NEVER seen anything like it before! The costumes/uniforms were very cool too! Though I`ve only lived in Emukae a month, I felt town pride when my town`s Ranburyuu troupe took the stage and kicked serious ass. A few days earlier, I was asked if I wanted to participate in the dance. After watching, I`m seriously thinking of taking up the offer!
Throughout the festival, all the town`s students, whether they have already met me personally or not, greeted me with smiles and hellos. They would either say `hello` or I would hear `is that Arcega-sensei?`. Then I would turn around and reply with a `YES` and a `Hello.` Guess my bald head makes me easy to spot.

This is my last week of summer. Next week school starts up again, and then it`ll be time for real work.
More detail on adventures later on.
I miss you guys. I hope everything is going well with your lives!

Last minute prep

I remember years ago, around the time I started studying Japanese at Sac State, just only hearing about the JET Program. The way it was made out to me made it seem to be something of legend. Something unreachable for me.

Now, in a few hours, I'm going to board a plane that will take me to Japan, as part of this program that I thought was once unreachable for me. I will be going as a JET!

A few hours ago, our Pre-Departure Orientation ended. Afterwards, I met up with Emil and he treated me out to some good mexican food, something I won't be able to eat for a long time. (Thanks Emil!)

But you know what? This "long time" hasn't sunk in yet. For some reason, I'm still in the mode that I'm going to wake up in the same bed after the weekend has ended. It still hasn't sunk in that I will not see my bed for a long time. I'm pretty sure it won't sink in until I'm situated in my new home, in Emukae-cho in Nagasaki-ken. For those who don't know where that is, it's located on Kyushu, the most South-West main island in Japan.

As far as how long I plan on staying...right now it's up in the air. I could stay for 1 and come home to my family who's dropping me off at the airport. However, after giving it some thought, it's a job. When I come back to the States, chances are there won't be a job for me. So I might as well ride this job for as long as I can. After all, I have loans and hospital bills to pay.

I'm excited. My predecessor is hyping it up for me. Friends are hyping it up for me.

I'm stoked. I'm nervous. I'm scared. I'm anxious. I'm sad. I'm happy. I'm exhausted. I'm awake. I want to laugh. I want to cry. I want to jump. I want to sleep.
Now matter what I feel, I'll keep smiling.
Behind this smile is a storm of anxiety that is calmed by motivation that I will give these Japanese folks their money's worth.

And the other way to calm myself I hope to do my first day in Japan. And that's KARAOKE!

Wish me luck everyone.
I'll see everyone in a year...or 3.

"I got a call...a telephone call today.
Somebody's offering a job, a thousand miles away..."
  • Current Music
    "Come With Me" by Shai

This weekend thus far

Thursday night, (my youngest sister) Rochelle, Emil, and myself left to go to Long Beach to meet up with (my younger sister) Remilla. My sister wanted to hang out in SoCal before I leave to go to Japan.
So far it's been fun.
We arrived at Rem's apartment on Friday morning at around 5am-ish, so the three of us spent the morning resting. We met up with Rem for lunch and then spent a couple hours afterwards vegging out at Manhattan Beach. Afterwards, we cleaned up and hit up the O.C. Fair. It was alright and it was basically like the State Fair. After a few hours at the fair, we ventured to Sunset Beach to check out the Grunion Run. Basically what happens during this time, during the high tide (and at night), the grunions begin their mating rituals, but they do it on the sandy beaches. So what we see are the grunions on the beach whenever a wave washes on the shore. There were a bunch of people there too. Some were catching them for food. Some were kicking them around (or stepping on them like assholes). Some (like us) were catching them to torture others with (but we tossed them in the water after having our fun). It was fun and something new for me.

Today we hit up Disneyland. Fun times with the family.

Tomorrow (or rather, today), we're gonna meet up with our cousin Jeng and her husband James for their child's christening. Should be fun. I haven't seen Ate Jamie and Kuya Jerry in years!
  • Current Mood
    tired tired

Old Friends

Today I had the chance to hang out with my best friend Jen, who I haven't seen in at least a year. We hung out at her spot for a bit and had dinner at Wing Stop and just talked until late. We haven't talked in a long time largely because of a mix of things like changed phone numbers, miscommunication, different locations, and busy schedules.
She was actually supposed to attend my grad party in Vallejo, but because of her new phone number and her lack of checking facebook updates (and my fault for not realizing that), I couldn't get a proper hold of her and she didn't go. Because of that, I'll admit I was angry at her for a while (while meaning a couple of months).

But we cleared things up. She caught me on Yahoo mail while I was checking out why my website closed haha. We chatted for a while and decided to hang out earlier tonight. Good times! I missed that girl.
It's funny. Aparently she listens to Korean music now, which 6 years ago she made fun of me for listening to!
  • Current Music
    Still MJ


Hey guys. I need recommendations, since I don't read a lot.

If I like Neil Gaiman, what other authors would I might like?

Books + Authors plz. =)

  • Current Music

Forgive me if I'm late on this

oh man....

Kabuto (Mizushima Hiro) and Den-O (Satou Takeru), two of my favorite Kamen Riders...in the same movie?
But wait...it's not a tokusatsu film haha.

It's the live action of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, one of my favorite anime.

Too bad the movie's coming out next year.
Their roles are perfect too...Kabuto as Ryuusuke and Den-O as Koyuki.
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So I played through FFIV The After Years. However...I realize now that it's only the 1st 3 episodes! Seeing that, and how separate "stories" are available for purchase through the Wii Shop makes me sad at how much money I'm gonna spend to get the whole entire story.

F-U to Nintendo and Square!
(But it was a cool story haha)
  • Current Mood
    tired tired

Fun Weekend

Friday was full of Edokko ramen, madness at Aileen's, and FFIV The After Years on Wii.


Saturday started off pretty late. I wanted to go to Pista Sa Nayon at the Vallejo Waterfront before heading to my cousin Joel's birthday / high school grad party, but because every Filipino in Vallejo decided to come down it was impossible to find parking. Had to miss out in Rex Navarette too.
Ah well, Joel's party at Blue Rock Springs was cool. A lot of food and family. I can't believe Joel is graduating high school now. It seemed only yesterday that I was wrestling him and giving him wedgies.


Sunday I hung out with the siblings and watched movies the whole day. Around 3pm I drove to Vacaville to have lunch with a hot nursing student (hehe) at BJ's. Good stuff.
Afterwards, headed back to Vallejo to hang out with the family for a bit; drink tea with mom, watch more movies with the siblings and whatnot. Then, drove back to Sac for our usual Sunday movie night. We've been having these for the past few months at Aileen's, but tonight we held it at Earvin's and my house. Tonight's movie was "Le Grand Chef", a Korean movie based on a popular manhwa. Pretty entertaining.


Now it's time to sleep and get ready for the kids.
  • Current Music
    Daishi Dance