December 2014

Message from the Editor

First off, let me congratulate any JET who arrived this past July and August on almost completing their first term of teaching here in Japan. For all your initial classroom confusion, cultural faux pas, and any other mishaps, you’ve nearly made it to your first closing ceremony. Let winter vacation be your reward. Though the three-day weekends this past term have been wonderful, I often feel that they were more of a tease than an actual break. Sure you find yourself with Monday off, but then you’re left to make up the classes that were missed and the marking that goes with it. November is also a month many JETs are busy helping students prepare for entrance exams and speech contests and we find ourselves working hours typical of our Japanese coworkers. This isn’t a huge deal, but an increased workload and the change in weather, as you may have already experienced, can take a toll on your health. So if you’re like me, you’re telling yourself that all you have to do is get past the grading of term end exams and you’ll be on your way to a nice relaxing, and if I may add well-earned, winter vacation.

This article is one of our smaller issues, so take your time with it. However, if you’ll be busy traveling this month, you may find it more convenient for your schedule. Inside you’ll find our always willing advisor, RackleBeaman offering tips on overcoming the holidays away from home, take a peek inside the brain and philosophy of Scott Patterson as he shares his thoughts on Motoko Town and catch up on the latest news in Japan. As always Brittany shares her travels this time discussing Hong Kong prior to the protests, you’re also given five things to watch while you try to stay warm, and if you missed out on catching the spectacular koyo, our readers have you covered. Lastly, get all the inside info on Tochigi Prefecture, from Tochigi’s very own Ryan Suzuki in this month’s Prefecture Spotlight.

During this holiday travel season, besides the usual advice of have fun and stay safe, start thinking about what you want that New Year’s resolution to be. A long break is a wonderful time to rest, recuperate, and remind ourselves why we are here in the first place. What are the things you want to change in your classroom? What are the things you had been meaning to implement this past year, but never got around to doing? A new year and a new term is a good place time for new ideas. For those who won’t be returning for another year (have you turned in your recontracting forms yet?) the hardest thing to avoid is simply coasting to the end. Keep pushing and challenging yourself to create fun and engaging lessons and to finish this last school year strong. As a friend once said, “In Act 1, I was struggling to survive, nobody wanted my action dead or alive. Act 2, I hit the big time… and I can’t help myself because I was born to shine.”




Similar Posts