That`s right, dear reader(s?), it has been a long time. But I come bearing gifts. Gifts in the form of good news...for myself. Okay, not proper gifts, where they benefit you, but rather the gift of good news, and not like, Jehovah`s Witness Good News; actual good news.
That`s right. After finagling, panicking, and having a gaijin freak-out or two, the internet will be installed in my apartment soon. Please, hold your applause until the end of the blog. I am handing most of the credit to every ALT`s friend, one Mr. Jimmie Jenkins at YahooBB, the resident english speaker. He told me how unlikely it was that I`d ever get internet with YahooBB, but then filled out and submitted an application for their rival in the area. Above and beyond, Jimmie. Somebody buy that man a beer.
On another note, today I had to go to the Board of Education to sort out some paperwork. I couldn`t exactly understand, because there wasn`t anything resembling a translator yet, and my japanese vocabulary does not cover "insurance plan" and "beneficiary in case of death or incapacitation". Anyway, we muddled through it, I signed a few forms, designated a beneficiary (my mother, of course!), etc. Then I received the form dreaded by most ALTs; the statement of intent for the 2009-2010 year. Of course, I am now only planning on staying one year; Japan is pretty awesome, but I think I wanted to visit, pay some bills, learn a bit of a new language and have an adventure before I came home - I didn`t want to move here full-time.
So, of course I indicated that I only wanted to remain through the end of this contract...to which my boss typed into his electronic dictionary a word that translates as "horrifying, regrettable, unfortunate". When I told Nigel about my encounter, he told me that opting to stay only one year reflects extremely poorly on me, in the mind of the Japanese worker. It shows that I hate my job, don`t like my co-workers, etc. or something. But, it`s not just that. Nigel and I will both be leaving at the end of this year, I out of choice and Nigel out of necessity, as he has served a full-term with the JET program (five year max). The BOE does not have enough liquid cash for ALTs to buy two plane tickets home the same summer (so Nigel tells me), which is strike one. Also, they have been relying on old JETs to be the translators for the new JETs every year, because the level of English is so low at the Board of Education, so when the two fresh-faced ALTs get off the plane, they won`t have anyone to help them through the transition. I do feel bad about that, though I am determined to send them pages of email detailing my experience here, send them my blog addy, etc. If you`re reading this boys or girls, I`m sorry if my departure casts a horrible shadow on your experience; you shouldn`t let it. At least you two can laugh it off together. And, hell, you can always email me.
I think maybe two months ago, this would be the type of thing that would upset me and make me nervous, and question my decision in an attempt to cater to the needs of my employer, or successor. Now, more sure of myself, more intent on doing what I want and getting what I want, a gaijin just has to shrug his shoulders and think to himself "Geez, if these people wanted me for two years, they should`va had me sign a two-year contract."