(with insights on driving and weather, which is why it is being included here since time is at such a premium)
Assuming you’re still on to come to Japan in February, I thought I’d better let you know what my schedule is like.
Generally, I work Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. I’m off Saturdays and Sundays except for the 23rd, as there’s a school concert that day. And there’s a ski trip that goes into at least the 16th, which I may or may not be going on – sometimes they take the foreign teachers along on the trips, and sometimes they don’t. I think I might try to sell them on taking me, but we’ll see. =)
But there’s a real good stretch of time off in February: We have a four-day weekend from Saturday the 9th until Tuesday the 12th, because the school anniversary holiday happens to fall on the same day as a national holiday (they’re usually on Mondays due to the Happy Monday System), so they put in a substitute holiday on Tuesday. Very nice of them! So if you were here those days, we could do a lot of things. Let’s say you came to Tokushima mid-week, the 6th or 7th, you and [your sibling] could entertain yourselves in the daytimes (there’s *lots* to see and do, and it’s a touristy area by Japanese standards; I personally haven’t even scratched the surface yet), we could get together in the evenings, and perhaps on the weekend we could rent a car and go all over the place. I have an International Driving Permit for just such a contingency. =) But man, getting used to everything being on the left is HARD! Like it’s not just driving, it’s crossing streets, it’s turning, it’s knowing which way to look when you’re crossing those streets – man. I’m sure you know how it is having had to adjust to Canada.
Of course you have a lot of factors to consider when you’re booking your travel, but boy, if you happened to be here those days, it would be pretty darn cool.
Oh, and pack and dress warm! Gloves, scarf, everything! It’s only slightly warmer than Halifax here, and quite windy, which pretty much negates the slight temperature advantage. Unless you’re including Okinawa in your travel plans, where they’ve had temperatures in the mid-twenties, it’ll be an all-winterish excursion; if you go north of Tokyo or into the western interior, there’ll be snow on the ground.
Okay, I’d better get to studying now; as things are, I’m definitely not going to bowl you over with my Japanese skills when you get here. =) Think sub-rudimentary. Like somewhere not between “beginner” and “novice,” but between “neophyte” and “zero.” =) But it’ll be fine. There’ll be lots of pointing and “Haihaihaisososososo.” Also a few of the other foreign teachers would probably be happy to hang with us from time to time, and two of them are fluent in Japanese and one is conversational, and the rest have had enough time to get the survival elements of the language.
I hope I’m not drowning you in details. To summarize:
- Long weekend, February 9th to 12th, we could rent a car
- Dress warm, it’s cold
- Nihongo no something something sen.
We’ll definitely chat more when I get internet.
[Goodbyes, sentiments, etc…]
Monday: So how am I doing as a teacher? Stay tuned for that, and lots lots more…