Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Maebashi, baby! What I know so far:

I know where I am living. I am living on one of the four main islands, Honshu. I will be in the Kanto Region of Japan, in the Gunma prefecture (a prefecture is similar to a state in the US), in Maebashi City, which is the capital. Whew - just check out the maps above which go from largest overview to more specific. You'll see that it's pretty central on the largest of over 3,900 islands that make up the Japanese archipelago. It's also about a 2 1/2 hour drive north of Tokyo, or 1 hour by bullet train.
Check out this website if you're super curious about my city:

I know my address. Care packages are not only accepted, but highly encouraged and appreciated. Ask me if you'd like to know it.

I know where I'll be working:
Monday-Wednesday I'll be working with a Junior High School.
Thursday - Friday I'll be working with two elementary schools.
All are apparently bike-able, but a car was highly encouraged by both my predecessors. Can you imagine me driving in Japan? I'm scurrrred!

I am definitely psyched about my placements for living and teaching. It's definitely a benefit for a non Japanese speaker like myself to be placed in more 'urban' location, which many participants are not. It's still the country, but it's not as rural as it could be. I was also very fortunate to be placed with the younger kiddos, as the majority of JET participants work with high school students. I'm pumped, to say the least. Now all I need to hear is that they're looking for someone to help out with the after school basketball team and I've officially got the best placement ever! Maybe I'll learn karate.

I know that I am going to miss everyone heaps and would VERY much appreciate you keeping in touch while I'm "away". I've still got two weeks, but the excitement is pretty hard to hold back, as well as the anxiousness and nervousness. It's crazy now, but in a totally exhilarating way.
Much Love until next time.

Time's a tickin', summer's a slippin... away

Well here it is: the much anticipated blog from yours truly. I'm hoping this is a better alternative then the reeeediculously long e-mails I sent from Australia. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to write a TON, but this way you can check up on anecdotes and pictures at your pleasure through this here web-page blog.

Time is seriously tickin' and the summer's flying by! After officially graduating, I finished student teaching June 15th and have been enjoying my summer thoroughly! I've gotten some time to read up on Japan (but have been seriously struggling to learn Japanese) and elax in the sun, as well as spend time with friends, of course go the Fest, and had the privilege of going on a family vacation to Maui, Hawaii. It's getting to be crunch time now as I attempt to get in all the final documents, organize paperwork, move out of our place in Madison, tie up all the loose ends, spend time with friends and family, and pack (seriously, two 50 lb bags... HOW am I gonna do it?). Luckily, I've got Kristin coming up to visit so I can squeeze in some more friend time as well as Brewers, beer, and Butts (Eddie, of course!) action.

Check out what I've been up to:

Pool/Graduation Party with the Moersfelder's

Celebrating with family and friends in G-town.
Best cake, ever!

Awww, love you buddies. Congrats to Mel and Matt on the birth of their beautiful baby girl, Kylie!

Even my cousin's family is excited for my trip! They're turning Japanese, too.

Onto Maui, Hawaii trip: Sunrise over the volcanic crater, Mt. Haleakala (10,000ft elevation), after which, we rode down the 36 mile road dodging vehicles, but looking fly in full body suits and massive helmets.

The view of the gorgeous mountains, but dry fields due to the drought.

Snorkeling with sea turtles... doesn't get much better.

All the food was amazing - but this was easily the best meal I had: a tempura style sushi roll with both ahi and mahi mahi sashimi with an absolutely amazing raw seaweed "salad" in ginger marinade. If this is a teaser for what I'm to expect in Japan, I'm ready!

At least I can count on my brother to jump off cliffs next to waterfalls with me

All five of us together on one trip? Let's just say it wasn't quite like the "old" road trips!
Great to have everyone together again in Maui:)