Monday, June 28, 2010


I finally heard from my predecessor! He lives in a 3 room apartment (bedroom, kitchen, and sitting room) near the school, train station, and city hall. The location is good and he said the apartment is in good condition.

Now for the bad news. He's moving to Kyoto when his contract ends and he's taking just about EVERYTHING with him. Seriously, everything. He said he would leave me the gas stove, ac unit, and a couple futons. This means I will be without a fridge, microwave, washer, and many other things I consider necessary. He even suggested I buy my meals from the convenience store until I procure these furnishings.

I have emailed the Nara BoE asking for help, but I'm not holding my breath. The good news is that my pred is trying to negotiate with the apt's owner so I won't have to pay key money. If I can avoid key money, then I can put my funds towards buying stuff for the apartment, so I really hope that works out.

Some of the Nara JETs have been incredibly helpful in offering advice given my situation. One JET is even offering a ton of free stuff because she is moving to another place soon. It's good that I know all of this now, because I would have FREAKED OUT upon arrival in my town.

I told my pred to alert the school that I know no Japanese so no one is confused when I arrive. He is even going to tell the other English teachers about my accommodations so they are prepared to help out.

Well, this update has mostly consisted of my living situation, the next post should be about my working situation.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I should have real updates soon...

My pred emailed the wrong successor last week. He still hasn't contact ME. I am sure someone has alerted him to his mistake by now. grumble....

I asked the other ALT at the school to tell my pred to contact me. Hopefully he will. This is getting ridiculous. I also asked a teacher at my school to find out if the school is going to send me any more information on my work or living situation.

It is 9:20 AM in Japan now. Maybe later in the day I will finally get word on my situation. Like the title suggests, I SHOULD have real updates soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I am Pago-chan. I am the mascot of Ikaruga Town.

My appearance is a persimmon with hat modeled after the top of pagoda. It originated from the famous poetry: Kaki Kueba Kane ga Narunari Horyuji (It sounded a bell of Horyuji Temple just as I had a persimmon).

Pago-chan was named after the term "pagoda," a Buddhism tower in Oriental world.

Friday, June 18, 2010

About damn time.

I was soundly sleeping this morning when suddenly a demon from the abyss hysterically jerked me from my sleep screaming 'OPEN IT! OPEN IT! OPEN IT!" Startled and distraught I screamed back, "HUH?!" Then the demon and I came to an was my mother. The package from my Board of Education finally arrived.

It contained the welcome letter, terms and conditions, and the statement of agreement. Looks like I'm heading to Ikaruga-cho (town) in Nara! It's in the Northwest basin of Nara just outside of Osaka (6th largest city in the world!).

It's a small town with a population of about 30,000 people. It is famous for preservation of historical monuments including some very popular sites: "Horyuji Temple and Hokiji Temple which were registered as a World Heritage of UNESCO, Tatsutagawa River which ancient Japanese poets have admired the beauty of colored maple leaves, and so on."

I have been assigned to only one high school which is exactly what I wanted! I figure with just one base school, I can build a nice rapport with the school and community. It is an international school which seems to value English education and even plays hosts to foreign students!

I am very excited! I am now in waiting mode to hear about my specific living and work conditions which can only be described (really) by my predecessor. Hey Pred, if you're out there, find meeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stop teasing me!!!

The Board of Education sent me an email in the middle of the night (keeping forgetting about that 13 hour time difference). It was basically a welcome letter, but it also mentioned the importance of IRS Form 6166. In fact, the biggest paragraph was dedicated to that stupid form. They REALLY don't want me to pay Japanese income taxes....but I'm not complaining.

The email also mentioned that I should be receiving an official welcome letter from the prefecture, information on the details of the school where I will be working, my contract, and other documents.

This is all very exciting, but again, it's just a tease until that stuff actually comes in the mail.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Forms, Forms, Forms

I got a call from the FBI the other day. Apparently my plan to circumvent the system was a success! I contacted my congressman to help expedite my FBI background because apparently they can NOW take up to 15 weeks to process! Thanks to good 'ol Vern Buchanan, my FBI forms should be coming in sometime this week!

Form 6166 came in the mail yesterday from the IRS. They sent me 6 copies instead of the 3 I requested. What will I do with the other 3? Paper airplanes, plain and simple.

As a last note, I was contacted by the travel agency in charge of booking my flight to Tokyo. I filled out the correct forms, sent them back via email, and now I await the magical 17 hour sojourn to the land of Del Lago and Samurai.
-Fun Fact: The man from the travel agency is Japanese and he finished his email by saying "Thank you for your corporation." I haven't even gone public yet.

P.S. I still haven't heard from my CO or Pred.