Final Celebration and Catching Up

Last Thursday, through the magic of Skype, Mrs. McBride’s morning class and I had our final celebration for this Reporting Live from Tokyo blog. I told the class about some of the things that I had been up to since last updating the blog, and you guys gave me your questions.

Snow on the ground in Tokyo.

Snow on the ground in Tokyo.

Since the last blog post, Tokyo had its first snowfall. When we spoke on Skype at our final celebration, many of you asked about Christmas in Tokyo, and I explained that because Japan isn’t a Christian nation, New Year’s is actually the biggest holiday of the year in Japan.

I celebrated New Year’s Day with my host family, eating good food, relaxing and singing karaoke.

Kareoke with my host family on New Year's Day.

Kareoke with my host family on New Year’s Day.

The final celebration was also an opportunity for me to tell you all about my new part-time job as an English teacher at a Japanese kindergarten.

Some of my students at the kindergarten.

Some of my students at the kindergarten.

Recess at the kindergarten.

Recess at the kindergarten.

There were so many fantastic questions during our final celebration Skype session, it’s clear to me that all of you all developed a strong sense of curiosity about Japan. It also gave me the opportunity to tell you guys more about what Japanese education is like, and I was glad that you were all so interested.

This is a "teacher-sized" school lunch in Japan. It was tasty!

This is a “teacher-sized” school lunch in Japan. It was tasty!

This is where kindergarten students stack their empty bento boxes after they finish eating lunch.

This is where kindergarten students stack their empty bento boxes after they finish eating lunch.

It was also a nice reminder for me of just how far I have come toward integrating into Japanese society. For instance, in addition to being a student, I now have a job and like most people in Tokyo, that means I have a workday commute.

It was clear to me that you guys have paid close attention to the blog, and also that you’ve been learning on your own in the classroom and at home. The kinds of questions that I got from you guys during our final celebration also convinced me that you guys have a better understanding of Japan.

On my way to work.

On my way to work.

One of my favorite questions from our Skype session was “what is the strangest thing you’ve eaten in Japan?” Do you remember my answer? I told you about a restaurant where my host father and I were served squid that had just been pulled out of the water, and while part of it had been cut up for us to eat, some of it was still moving!

The tentacles on this squid were still moving when I took my first bite – the weirdest thing I have eaten in Japan!

The tentacles on this squid were still moving when I took my first bite – the weirdest thing I have eaten in Japan!

And do you remember when I told you a little about Japanese politics? Well, just the other day I went to the final sumo match of the season, and I saw the Prime Minister of Japan! Here’s a picture of his car parked outside of the sumo arena.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's car parked outside the national sumo arena in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s car parked outside the national sumo arena in Tokyo.

Our virtual final celebration by Skype was a lot of fun, but really it just made me wish that I could be there in person to share my stories, answer your questions and pass around interesting things that I’ve found in Japan. Still, I’m glad that I could at least answer your questions, tell you some stories and see all of your smiling faces. Luckily, there were no Skype malfunctions.

I hope that you bring the same sense of curiosity and the same intelligence that you’ve shown to all of your future studies of the many different and wonderful cultures around the world. Japan is a country with a lot of stereotypes, and now you guys know more about this culture and what is wrong with the stereotypes than most adults that you know. Isn’t that interesting?

Now, I will leave you with a few more pictures that I’ve taken since the last time we spoke.

For now, so long from Tokyo, Japan – It has been a pleasure and an honor to be your reporter. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be your reporter once again when I’m working for a newspaper and you’re reading stories about Japan!

I hope that you guys continue to learn about Japan, and I really hope that you pass along what you’ve learned to people that you know.

Your friend,

Josh

A cheeseburger with a slice of apple on it? Only in Japan – by the way, it was delicious.

A cheeseburger with a slice of apple on it? Only in Japan – by the way, it was delicious. (Oh, and “Ringo” is the Japanese word for apple.

A temple near the school that I teach at.

A temple near the school that I teach at.

Advertising for a new Tom Cruise movie – do you think anyone will ask me for my autograph?

Advertising for a new Tom Cruise movie – do you think anyone will ask me for my autograph?

Some famous sumo wrestlers sign autographs outside of the arena.

Some famous sumo wrestlers sign autographs outside of the arena.

Just another day on the streets of Tokyo – a city where tradition and modernity meet.

Just another day on the streets of Tokyo – a city where tradition and modernity meet.

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About Josh

Part-time journalist & student of communication studies.
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2 Responses to Final Celebration and Catching Up

  1. Molly says:

    Wow! I wish I could have been part of the skype!
    Thank you so much for giving us this inside scoop on modern-day Tokyo. I found it really interesting, and I learned quite a lot.

  2. Rebecca says:

    That’s so sweet that you get to teach English to little kids in another country. That would probably one of my favorite possible jobs, though I probably have to learn another language first. Well, good luck!

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