May 2013

Message from the Editor

They closed my Mister Donut!

With no warning at all, the 1st of April found a sign on the door thanking everyone for 2 years of custom and saying that my coffee providing study zone was no more. I was informed of the closure by a friend who came over for dinner on the 2nd and had to go to the ex-misudo in person to confirm on the 3rd – I was that certain my friend was mistaken. I know people who had been there on the 29th, 30th March & heard nothing of the impending doom of the establishment. Reading that little piece of paper, a part of my Sasayama soul died. It’s sounds pathetic, especially as it’s only been around for 2 years, but I was skipping when it opened. Free coffee refills right by Japanese class? It was so perfect for pre-lesson study sessions. And I got to eat doughnuts. I wasn’t always a doughnut freak (and ice-cream: had a beetroot, apple and ginger one recently) but misudo opened my eyes (I don’t understand the queues outside Krispy Kremes, they’re too sweet as far as I’m concerned. And overpriced). Wondering which of my ex-students I would get to chat with… it’s all gone.

But now, after a month of mourning, marvellous May is finally here. I’ve put away the kotatsu, ready to contemplate evenings spent basking in the setting sun. The frogs are back croaking their little hearts out, but I have yet to see any squished in the road; my laundry dries in less than a week. Happy times after my sudden loss. If it wasn’t for the fact that I really like the food and colour scheme that Autumn brings, I would say we’re in the middle of the best time of the year. It’s not too hot, but the sun is shining. The rains haven’t really started yet and students are getting used to their new positions in the hierarchy of the school. The mountains and fields have lost their grey tinge and are gradually returning to vibrant green. I think about May and I smile. Definitely a good time of year.

Hopefully everyone is getting used to their new schedules and students right around now. I would like to say that I have, but that would be fibbing. Between first year orientation, 2nd years needing to finish the textbook from last year, and me disappearing off to Germany and the UK last week (my aunt’s 60th birthday celebration – I surprised her; it was fantastic. I didn’t even need to feel too guilty as orientation coincided with me being away – huzzah!) I haven’t had a ‘proper’ week yet. That day will come, but Golden Week isn’t exactly helping. I’m not really complaining about extra days off, it’s just frustrating when I thought that school starting up again would give me back some of the routine that I’ve been hankering after.

“But what” I hear you cry “pray tell is in this month’s HT?” Well, I’ll tell you. If you’ve a longing to see ladies dressed up as men and relating great works of literature through the medium of song, check out the Takarazuka Revue review (you see what I did there?). It might be a little late for GW, but get some ideas for a short city break to Taipei. Or why not head out and up some of the mountains we’re blessed with in Hyogo, perhaps following up with a celebratory Kobe beef dinner at Wakkoqu? All present and correct, plus other bits and pieces to boot.

Is it still hot beverage season, or have we moved on? Eitherway, have a read over a morning (or other) break and we’ll be back next month!


Message from the Prefectural Representative

It’s already May and, despite making a brief comeback in Mid April, winter is definitely over!! Thank you to everyone who came to the Hyogo AJET Hanami event at Sumarakoen despite the weather that weekend. I had a great time sitting in the sun under the cherry blossoms, having a bevvie, sharing some food and looking at the ocean. I’d especially like to thank Pete for doing a wonderful job organizing. Unfortunately, we don’t have any events organized for this month, but, the farewell party is coming up soon.


In the run up to the new school year, I went more than a month without regular classes. As I write this I’ve just taught my first two classes for the new school year. They didn’t go so well. It definitely was a struggle – remembering what comes next & trying not to look at my lesson plan every 3 seconds, working with new teachers, trying to remember students’ names, using classroom English and most importantly, trying not to speak too fast. I hope everyone is settling back into the teaching (with any luck more easily than I appear to be).


This is my third May in Japan and I’ve always felt it’s a funny time of year – the new school year has started but some of our friends are leaving in 3 short months. It’s a topsy-turvy time of year. As you’re reading this you’re probably either thinking about your plans for the second half of Golden Week or just getting back from your holiday. Last year I went to Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia during GW. Coming back was really difficult. I kept finding myself sitting at my desk, dreaming of Beng Mealea, mangoes, spicy food and late night Teh Tarik & tissue prata in Kuala Lumpur. This year I’m planning to go to Tottori for a weekend over Golden Week and really looking forward to venturing west.


For those of you who will be leaving us in the summer, there are some fantastic resources moderated by our P.A.s Ben & Liz. Please have a look at the Hyogo AJET Wiki for a handy checklist, visa advice, useful information on the pension refund and shipping stuff home. Finally, the Hyogo Times has a useful online classified section for getting rid of things you aren’t taking home. You could also try using gaijinpot or the Kansai flea market magazine.


Have a great month!


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