September 1st

For geeks like me, September 1st will always be the day you spend wishing you were on the Hogwarts Express, riding off to a school year full of witchcraft, wizardry, and butterbeer. But this year, I was a little too distracted to spend the day wishing….

…because yesterday was my first day of school as a TEACHER! August was just a warm up–a time to settle in, google some lesson plans, and practice introducing myself in Japanese to every single person I met. Now that the students are back,  though, this whole teaching thing just became real.

My only real task yesterday was to introduce myself… in Japanese… in front of the entire school at the opening ceremonies. No big deal, right? I’d been practicing–seriously–on every single person that I’ve met for the last month. Yeah, well, I STILL managed to totally screwed up my yoroshiku onegaishimasu in both assemblies. (Since my base school’s schedule is rather unique by Japanese standards, we had TWO opening ceremonies yesterday–one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Lucky me, being put center stage twice!)

Forgetting all the stress of self introductions, my first day as a teacher was pretty great. The students at both opening ceremonies seemed really excited to meet me despite my pronunciation flaws, and a few of the more outgoing students made sure to escort me back to the teacher’s room so they could shower me with questions. And to top it off, every teacher received a bag of beautiful, ripe nashi (Asian pears) at the end of the day. Perhaps a bizarre nod to the forgotten tradition of giving teachers apples? Whatever the reason, it was a lovely way to end my first day. Ibaraki is a far cry from Hogwarts, but it’s a new story for me.

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