Confessions of a Junior High School English Teacher Part II: The Storm
Posted On June 8, 2014
This post is the second part of a series of posts about my experience working in Japan. Previous posts can be found here.
My flight for Japan was scheduled for March 13th, 2011. Training was in early April, so my plan was to come early and enjoy Tokyo for two weeks before starting work. However, reality wasn’t in the mood to be kind. I was sitting at my computer late one night, when I saw all the Japanese people on my Twitter timeline commenting about the ground below them was shaking. They always do that when there’s an earthquake, so I paid it no mind. However, when I got up the next day, it seems what I thought was just a little quake was worth paying attention to.
I wasn’t around during the big March 11th earthquake, but I know people who were, and it seems like it fucked everyone who experienced it up in some way. I wanted to believe I could still go to Japan, and that the American news media was just playing the whole thing up. To be fair, they were, but the reality was still pretty bad. I mean, there was that big tsunami. Then the nuclear plants going haywire. Interac gave me a choice–come now, or wait until next semester. With family and friends concerned about my well-being in a foreign country that was in a state of real disarray having just witnessed one of its biggest natural disasters in history, I took a long and heavy walk around my block to think it over.
I decided to wait until September, the second semester of the Japanese school year.
My flight and hotel were canceled, and I spent another four months and change in my parents’ place NEETing it out (“I already have a job, why should I get a part-time gig?!” I said as I wasted away in front of my computer monitor). It was a time of depression that has kind of faded into a blur now, so we’ll just skip past that part. I probably should have used that time to study my Japanese, but I was too busy re-loading Twitter and basically wasting my time. Anyway, August came around, along with my new arrival date in Japan. Once again, I was eagerly anticipating my new life in Japan, while enjoying a family beach vacation.
Then I got an e-mail.
The gist of it was, the company didn’t have enough open spots at their schools, so they wanted me to wait another semester.
Fuck that.I’d waited long enough to get my life underway. After giving them a stern and serious phone call, they started to see things my way. The way it would work was, while my placement wasn’t confirmed, they’d still have me come to training, and wait it out at the main office doing office work/substitute classes until a permanent placement opened up. They’d also put me up in a hotel until something was worked out. Finally, I headed to Japan in August to start my new life.
Now, my initial thoughts upon returning to the land of the anime and otaku bullshit can be found here, but I never wrote about what happened afterwords, that is… TRAINING AT THE NARITA VIEW HOTEL.
Yes, after living out of Asakusabashi’s MyStays business hotel (highly recommended for anyone on holiday in Japan) and surviving Comiket (I haven’t been since; need to go again) I jumped on a train back to Narita airport, and then from there a bus to… THE NARITA VIEW HOTEL.
At Narita airport I got on the shuttle to the Narita View Hotel–the only way to get there as there is no train station to speak of. I found a little corner of the bus to myself, overhearing people who were obviously also going to the same teacher training I was. (Talk to them? Hell no, I was a socially awkward little fuck.) Upon arrival, guys from the company were there waiting for us. Since everyone was arriving at different times from their respective countries, the first day was just greetings, collecting documents, and the receipt of training materials. I met my roommate for the next week, and that night we found a group of other trainees and all headed out for Okinawan food.
By the way, the reason for all the textual histrionics upon mention of the NARITA VIEW HOTEL is that simply, it leaves an impression. It’s this great, ludicrously senescent relic from the bubble era, with lots of pomp and circumstance baked into every single detail, and as much rust and wear match. It’s a sad left-over clinging onto life. Card keys? The NARITA VIEW HOTEL has real keys. The Narita View Hotel also has this.
Upon pushing the “BGM” button, a close facsimile to the original 1963 Pink Panther soundtrack makes its way out of the room’s speakers, complete with the expected popping and scratches to match. With the sexy sounds of bubble era luxury making its way through my ears, I put on my suit and headed downstairs for the first real day of training.