A Travellerspoint blog


Part 2 - Free Time - My Junior High School Blog

So in September there was a lot of work to be done at the school - but the weather was beautiful too, so in my free time I travelled a lot too. At first I continued to visit quite local places like Katata...


but those 4 pictures are ALL of the interesting things to see in Katata I think, so I doubt I'll be going back there.

Soon it was Silver Week and I had more free thime and could travel further than away - so in one week I went to Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya!

That was great - First, I went to Kiyomizu Diera in Kyoto. I visited Kyoto for 3 days two tears ago and saw many of the famous temples then, but Kiyomizu I had not seen but knew it was very famous.


I walked up to the temple by the longer way through the graveyard, which is very different from English style Gothic graveyards.


I'm glad I went this way because I stopped at a small shrine and had a nice conversation with a monk who introduced me to his cats :-)


The views from the temple were wonderful and the huge wodden supports holding up the building really impressed me.




I also had an ineresting meeting with some high school students from Tokyo who were interviewing visitors to Kyoto for their English lesson project - they were very surprised when I told them I lived in Shiga Ken!


The next day I went to Osaka with one of my JET friends, Leila Sensei. This was my first time in Osaka, but Leila had heard about some good places to hear live music and also a Gothic music club - which we were both interested in visiting. So first we just explored the area around the club


and did a bit of shopping (New boots!!)

Then when it began to get dark we got changed into clubbing clothes


then went back out to explore the Osaka night life - Osaka is a really lively, exciting place with a very lot of alternative culture that makes it more interesting than Kyoto as a place to go out in - though Kyoto has much better places for sight seeing! I loved the feel of Osaka, it really feels like a place where anything can happen!


I hadn't been to a club for several years as I don't drink and don't like people smoking, so I have to love the music and dance a lot if I go to a club. I was very happy at Club Neo though - the people were really interesting, the Gothic clothes were better than I'd seen in Gothic clubs in England and I danced most of the night!


That night I stayed in saka in a hotel and the next morning off to the train station - and next stop Nagoya!


My big reason for going to Nagoya was to finaly meet my Japanese penfriend who I wrote to from Slovakia. Her name is Hanako and we had agreed to meet with some of her friends and that they would show me around Nagoya.


Hanako (On my left) and all her friends were really nice and I saw many interesting things in Nagoya thanks to them


I even saw the pop stars AKB48 meeting their fans - I had no idea who they were then though :-)


I had a great day thanks to Hanako and her friends careful and kind care :-) But soon it was getting dark and time to travel back home again!


And that was the end of Silver Week.

Well - more happened in September than I can easily write about here - but here are some more photos from things I did in September :-) Enjoy!


Posted by DKJM74 20:31 Comments (0)


Part 1 - School Life - My Junior High School Blog


September! The summer holiday finished, the students came back to school and I began to teach lessons in Imazu Junior High School. My first lessons were self introductions - but I made it into a game so the students wouldn't be bored. I think the students enjoyed the puzzle I made for them, and were very interested to see the new 'strange' English teacher.


Everything in the school was very new for me, and very different for me - Here are some examples of differences.

In England we have a dining room for school dinners and 'Dinner ladies' serve the food, in Japan the students eat in their home rooms and the students serve the food.

We also have a choice of food, but in Japan it is a fixed meal everyday.

Japanese students cannot take mobile phones, sweets or money to school - English children have all of these things, but I think it is better in Japan that they do NOT have them! Japanese children have MUCH better behaviour at school than English children.

Japanese students do have a lot of after school clubs though, which I never had in my school.

Cleaning time is also a big difference as students in England don't clean the school, there are cleaners to that!


School starting also means that there are more school events, so soon it was time to do the full 2 day kayak trip on Lake Biwa. Which was great fun, with a chance to stay in the hotel in Hagahama this time and see the students entertainment program, also the students got to swim and play in th lake which looked like a lot of fun (so I joined them!)


This trip was bigger than the last one with more people taking part. So there were more teachers there -


and parents helping out as well -


it was a great feeling that everybody was working together to make it a fun event.
Kayaking is great fun and I'd love to do it more in the future - I'm already looking forward to next year's Kayaking trip.

Another event I was involved in a lot was the Speech Contest in Otsu. From the time I arrived I began helping 4 students prepare for the Interschool English Language Speech Contest. The first round of the contest was on September 10th and I travelled with Hoki Sensei


to Otsu to support our students. All four students (Centre picture from left to right: Mae, Sayaka, Sayuri and Kurumi) worked very hard and really practiced very hard. We were very pleased with them all.


Thanks to all their hard work and team effort supporting each other one student, Sayaka, even won the third prize in the recital section - so the whole team was very happy. Well done!

Not just these students worked hard though - all the students work very hard nand try their best as I saw a few days later when there was a school sports day. I was very impressed to see the sytudents try really hard to improve their fastest times running or highest jumps.


So this month I learned a lot about Japanese school life and students - Japanese students seem a lot more innocent and childlike than English children the same age, but they are also very passionate about things and really try their hardest when they decide to participate in something. This is a good thing and it makes it easier to be a teacher here because I really respect that about them.

Posted by DKJM74 01:04 Comments (0)


My Junior High School Blog

My birthday is on the second of August, this year I was sitting on an airplane flying to Japan on my birthday!


I was flying from London to Tokyo with many other new JET ALTs going to schools all across Japan. It was a long flight, almost 12 hours, but everybody was very excited.

The view from the airplane was very beautiful too, we went over the frozen parts of Russia and could see snow and ice and huge rivers - but no towns or cities!


I couldn`t sleep on the plane, so I watched movies and studied Japanese.


When we arrived at Narita airport we had to take a bus into Tokyo to a hotel. There was a special welcome event and training for the new teachers in Tokyo, so we stayed there for two days. I met many new people and heard a lot of information about Japan and my new job; but it wasn`t easy for me to sleep there and I was very tired.








We had no time to explore Tokyo as both days were very busy, and there were so many people everywhere. I was happy when it was time to leave Tokyo and go to Shiga - I wanted to have my flat and my bed and some time alone.

We travelled from Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen and then from Kyoto to Otsu on a local train.


It was SO hot and humid in Otsu, I was sweating terribly!


In Otsu we had an official welcome to Shiga - and then Aiba Sensei and Okimoto Sensei took me to Imazu and my flat!! I was very happy to have my own place again :-)

I was also very lucky because my first day of work was a kayaking trip on Lake Biwa - it was a great way to meet some of the students and teachers. I love adventure sports, and kayaking was great fun for me.




The kayaking trip was for two days, but I had to go back to Otsu on the second day for more job training. Luckily that was the day (August 7th) of the fireworks on Otsu, so I saw many beautiful fireworks that evening over Lake Biwa. There were also many women with beautiful Kimonos, which was interesting for me!



The next day (August 8th) there was another smaller firework display in Imazu - I met three other local ALTs there too. Kitty, Jessica and Leila.


We watched the fireworks together and then they asked me to go to Karaoke too! I am a very bad singer, but I went and had fun in Mr. Karaoke.


In August I had a lot of free time as the students were on holiday and there were many public holidays when I didn't need to work. So I did a lot of exploring and took a lot of photos around Takashima and Lake Biwa.


I really like nature and animals of all kinds - so I love living so close to the lake.


There are many interesting small insects and animals to see here.


but you must be careful or some of the insects will BITE YOU!!!


There are also many beautiful places to see around Takashima.


I like Imazu and the area very much and was soon very happy living here! Shiga is very 田舎 but there are many things to do here.


I also used my free time to make some trips to other places in Shiga - so in August I visited...


Nagahama, using the ferry to cross the lake and visit the island as well,


Mt. Hiei to see the temple and the Garden museum,


and Hikone castle!

I also had time for smaller tips and events like - a barbeque party, swimming at Omi Maiko and seeing the Windmill village! So I was busy, busy, busy! Enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring exciting new places! I didn't feel like I had come to Japan to work yet, now it still felt like a holiday with lots so new experiences and exciting trips.




And that was August - I began to teach at the very end of the month, but really September was when I started to work in Japan!!

Posted by DKJM74 01:02 Comments (0)


My Junior High School Blog


Hello! My name is Damon Mitchell - and this is a picture of me from June 2008.

At this time I was living and working in Slovakia (in Europe) in a town called Kosice.

This is Kosice.

2009-06-23 Halavna, Kosice

2009-06-23 Halavna, Kosice

I worked as an English teacher there for Berlitz language school.

I have been interested in Japan for a long time. So I studied Japanese with my Japanese and Slovak friends. (Katka, Hiroko and Daniel)



It was in 2008 I decided to move to Japan and work here. I applied for a job with the JET program as an ALT teacher.

In January 2009 I flew to London to for a job interview, I was very nervous and didn't think I did a good interview - BUT after 3 months I got a letter offering me a job :-) I was very happy!

I had many things to do to leave Slovakia - I had to leave my old job and my old flat, I had to sell all of my furniture and electronics as I had nowhere to put them. It was very scary, but most difficult was leaving my cat and dog.




My cat, Mitten, is still living in Slovakia with my friend Nada, and my dog, Dobby, travelled to England and lives with my sister now. This is me with Dobby by the airport in Vienna - I was very sad that day.


Then, on July 1st 2009, I left Slovakia and flew back to England to start training for my new job.


After the training I had almost a month free before it was time to go to Japan, so I decided to travel in England a bit and have a nice time with some of my good friends.

This is my best friend, Nik.


We travelled to Wales together for a two week holiday. We tried many activities like kayaking, whitewater rafting, riding and surfing.









It was a great holiday!

I also visited Oxford to see my friend Julian.


Oxford is a very old and beautiful city,




and Julian has a nice family.


It was a very nice trip, but it was also my last trip in England. It was almost the end of July now and on August 1st I had to fly to Tokyo to start my new life!!

Posted by DKJM74 03:52 Comments (0)

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