Meeting the Rabble

I was back in the office the day after the move (Saturday), leaving my apartment in the barely-moved-in shambles you might expect (or just expect anyway if you know me).

All the Seto ALTs had been called in for a refresher training day, as we were mid-way through term, which gave me the perfect chance to get to know a few people in my area right off the bat.

The training was focused on getting an experience of each other’s teaching styles and bouncing around ideas for activities. The main focus was geared towards helping us experience how it feels to be the student in an immersive language context, and to learn to put aside awkwardness in front of the students: learning to ‘stay in character’.

Seeing the others in character was excellent – especially the way Macky (Jamaica) switched between her very blunt (and wonderful) natural delivery, to the hyper-enthusiastic fun-generator needed for class. It was magical, not to mention funny, to watch.

A lot of the others were pretty annoyed at having to go into the office on a weekend, especially as many of them live way out in the Seto ward, so it’s a bit of a trek (it takes me 2 trains and just over 30 mins and I live mid-way!). Once we were finished, spirits were much improved by the decision to go for sushi afterwards.

There are some really good kaitenzushi (conveyor-belt sushi) places here, good quality and much more reasonably priced than the sushi-ya (sushi restaurants).

This one was unfortunately not one of the better ones.

The staff, no doubt mightily alarmed by the huge group of gaijins that traipsed in, decided it was for the best that we were seated in two groups on opposite sides of the restaurant…can’t blame them all that much to be honest.

Despite the so-so sushi and the division of the group, it was nice to get to know the others, and to be surrounded by such a variety of people: American, Egyptian-Canadian, Australian, Jamaican, Filipino, Irish – quite the mix!

After sushi we split up, and I headed into Sakae accompanied by Nelson (America) and Mai (Canada/Egypt). Phone was once more spectacularly not sorted. But we did do some wandering in Osu and found a fantastic okonomiyaki place!

IMG_0812The road we generally take into Osu from Sakae.

IMG_0821Okonomiyaki arrives!

IMG_0826After six years of okonomiyaki deprivation, this was the perfect reunion!

IMG_0828The staff here were incredibly nice and gave us little booklets about the area (weirdly narrated by the local idol group). 

I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but I will find out and update here when I do!


Moving to Purin Heaven

After two nights in the hostel, I was on the move again. Interac had booked me and another trainee into a hotel for the training period and I’d be damned if I missed out on free accommodation! This did, however, mean another journey with the 10000000000kg suitcase plus extras. Luckily the hotel was only one stop from Nagoya station, in an area called Kanayama – and I didn’t get lost!!! (shocku!)

I got to the hotel, into my room, and promptly proceeded to throw most of the contents of my suitcase everywhere.

The area around Kanayama station – a ‘mall’ called Kanayama Asunal – is super nice, with loads of great places to eat and a few quirky shops that I will eventually go back to for bits and pieces for my flat. I wandered there for dinner the first night and after a kindly staff member took pity on me, managed to place my order. A lot of the Japanese sort of fast-food restaurants have a system where you choose your meal and then order it by paying at a vending machine style thing. Everything is in Japanese, can you imagine!
When you find the right button – or are shown it – you get a ticket and your order goes through to the kitchen. You wait until your number is called, then collect and have at it! It was super hot out, the moving having not helped, so I got zaru soba (cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce) with fried shrimp, and it was exactly what I needed!


Dutiful slurping of noodles complete, my purin-hound nose hunted down the best purin I’ve ever had, at a place called Pastel which is a small chain here. They sell little pots of creamy, caramel-y goodness, and I had one every day I stayed in Kanayama.

That’s right.



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It was glorious.




I managed to keep myself awake long enough to grab some food at the hostel, bungle a lot of Japanese trying to ask if I could borrow an adaptor (remember, mine lost itself…), and apologise ashamedly as the manager nearly killed himself trying to get my suitcase up to the fourth floor (“Old building” he explained “No lift”). I hope he recovers.

Not very much got done that day. Apart from a lot of staring around, confused, thinking…wait, how did I get here again? Hang on. I’m in Japan. How did that happen? I’m in Japan? Like, I’ve moved here. Ok. Lets process that. Lots of blank staring.

Then I opted to just eat loads of Pocky and purin and arrange my tickets in an artistic way. Worked a charm.

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Then I tried to get out of bed, misjudged the distance, and now have a stunner of a bruise on my left butt cheek. Excuse me if I don’t include a photo of that.

My day (early evening) began with a much needed shower – the first in 40 odd hours + sweat-blob-person weather + 1000000kg suitcase and duffel bag. Yum. (I was just too tired to attempt to rent a towel the night before).

Sweating again the instant I left the hostel’s air-conditioned bliss, I struck out to source my own adapter and stumbled into a sort of discount electronics store, where an overeager (but very nice) salesman struggled to understand my toddler-at-best Japanese. After leading me around most of the five floors of the shop and involving a lot of other staff members, I finally got the idea across and the adaptor was found. Huzzah!

I then had a similar task trying to find a moisturiser, ending up resorting to: *points at bottle then at face*
“For face?”
[Japanese salesman, seriously]
“Only for face.”
(Turns out it was a terrible moisturiser after all that).