aide: (Default)
This is kind of a whole new meme now. )

I'm still slightly feverish but not wanting to die like yesterday.  I've got a cough now from all the chainsmokers last night but I guess that can't be helped?  Once Nikki leaves, I probably won't see any of those people anymore, or at least not as often which wasn't very regular anyway.  I don't know why she was all upset about people not coming.  I thought it was going to be a small gathering so that it would actually make a difference.  There was more people there than at any of the other parties they've had.  Sachiyo always orchestrates these things and puts together a photo album for people to write in as a leaving present.  The sad thing is, I don't think she would do that for me. :(

It's raining today so I can't do the rest of my laundry.  I could hang it up inside but it's going to take forever to dry without some sunshine and I don't want to cart it over to the laundromat to use the dryers.  I'm lazy, and I'm cheap.

I'm meeting Andrew at 3 for our furoshiki class and then we're going to dress up for classy Christmas dinner with Ariel.  I'm hoping my black dress still fits!  I haven't worn it since Canada.  I've lost a little weight since coming to Japan, I think.  Fingers and toes are crossed.
aide: (翔 → Finger!dance)
Amanda's party was fun.  I saw people I haven't seen in a while: Christian, Masa and Takayuki (who's English seems to have worsened since the Shin-Matsudo festival), Ty was there though we only talked as we were leaving, Kotoyo and a handful of people who I've never met.  Amanda and Nikki were properly wankered as per usual.  I'm sobering up now with my bottle of water and trying to fight off this headache.  Happy hour at the Hub is dangerous: jumbo cocktails for 260 yen.  I only hope that Amanda has as much fun next weekend on her surprise party.  I should get her a parting gift then.  Since I haven't done anything in the way of birthday or Christmas gifts.  Furoshiki?  That's a good idea.  Andrew's got me thinking.  They were supposed to come follow us for some karaoke but never showed up.  That makes me kind of sad.  I will definitely have to make a point of dragging Nikki and Christian out for karaoke before she leaves since I don't know if Amanda (or I, for that matter) have time before she flies out on the 18th. 

The boy came down with a fever so that might explain the lack of mail the last couple days.  The vibes are getting stronger.  Andrew says we'd better meet soon.  I agree.  Just let it grow organically, that's been working good so far.

Yukiko, a friend from middle school/high school is in town tomorrow so I'm going to meet her and another friend who I haven't seen in years.  I hope it isn't awkward.  It might be but I don't know.  We're going to meet for dinner in Shibuya.  I'm expecting my package to come in the early afternoon tomorrow and I need to wash my towels.

I started writing my [ profile] je_holiday fic finally.  ANGST ON.  I've gotten the thumbs up from [ profile] shourai and [ profile] everystarrfall so I'm feeling confident about it.  I just hope I can carry it through.  I have an idea in my head of where I want it to go -- some big confrontation and possible fall-out.  I just hope I don't lose steam or run out of time.  I'm feeling a little less pressure now that I've got a solid start.

aide: (大野 → The Artist)
I am so excited about this drama.  I just watched the first episode (an hour and a half! woo!) and Miura Haruma can totally have my babies.  That kid has a grin to die for.  What kills me is he's only 18.  He's born in Heisei and that's where I draw the line.  Sigh... I can at least admire is amazing acting.  I can't wait for more of this drama.  It's got that serious note that I was sort of expecting from Ryuusei no Kizuna.  I wish I could read that book; I wonder if Higashino is translated into English.  I don't think he's as popular as Murakami but I should try looking.  I finished A Short History yesterday (I definitely recommend it!) so I'm looking for a new read.  I've finished everything in my wee library.

Maybe I should go to bed and wake up earlier.  I went to sleep at 9:45 last night and got up at 6 and I feel refreshed and productive.  I could take a shower and actually eat breakfast (I love my new toaster oven!) and watch an hour of drama and mail myself some fics to read at work.  And still have time to kill by writing this entry! 

My fucking echeck finally cleared yesterday and my new Animal Crossing game is in the mail!  Hopefully I have it by the end of the week but I don't know how fast HK mail is.  I'm also waiting for mail from mom.  And Kevin is about two months overdue for a letter but I knew it was too good to last with that boy.  Maybe he'll get off his ass and write me after he gets my last "threatening" postcard.  I'm feeling kind of neglected these days.

I'm having Amanda and Nikki over for dinner tonight.  I'm trying this tara-pizza recipe and making burgers.  I hope they like it.  Amanda is flying out on the 18th but that weekend is going to be crazy.  I have to work that Saturday (only 1 period) and that night is her supposed "surprise" leaving party and then I'm gone away to Nagano for a night and probably most of the Monday on the staff trip.  I will go over to Shin-Matsudo and hang out that night, for sure because her last night.  I hope (and kind of doubt she will) she doesn't make plans to go out or something.  We kept saying we should go party in Abiko one last time but they both are whining about money and such so I don't think that's going to happen.  I don't know if Nikki would be up for it eventually down the road either.  They are both having so much grief with companies not paying finally month's salary, even though it's the law.  It makes me really hesitant to leave in November next year if I'm going to lose out on my last month's pay.  Even if I got half, it would be alright.  I'd like to stay until the end of the term but I don't know how welcome I would be imposing on Andrew for a month and commuting from Tokyo to Kashiwa (if that's even where I am) every day.  I wonder if the company would pay that.  They say they pay up to 20,000 a month for transport.  I will have to talk it out with Tatsuya if that's what I'm going to do.  I need to make sure I keep in touch with Jun because I want him to write a recommendation for me for UBC.  I wanted Steve Ng from Orientations to write my other because he loves me and I was with Orientations for 3 years but he's gone off to Toronto although, I'm sure he would still do it.  Maybe I could ask Alex, my old boss from Nova, to write one even though I only worked at Nova for 2 months but I got great reviews from them.  I really wonder what the results of my final evaluation were...

Ahh, I'm thinking too far ahead of myself again.  I just need to try and get through November.  It feels so busy even though there is only one full week (plus a day) for me.  I have to think about my 6th grade lessons this Friday as well.  It's another four lesson day today so I wonder how much I will get done.  At least I am finished my round of anitbiotics so I'm not feeling sleepy all day.

This short entry turned into a monster.  But I haven't written about life stuff in a while, I guess.
aide: (松潤 → STFU)
My head hurts.  Editing Andrew's papers is stressful.  But I feel like maybe I could shit out a research proposal on command if necessary. 

I told Jun I wanted to do a lesson about Remembrance Day because it's important (to me).  I was doing research and making a handout and started crying at work.  I've never cried at Remembrance Day services or anything but it just really hit me today.  I hope I can pull of a presentation without choking up.  But then the kids might understand how much that holiday means. 

There is just too much happening in the next month.  It's all crammed in to the same weekend too: Amanda's super secret leaving party on the 15th, staff trip to Nagano (excited!!) 16th-17th, Amanda leaves on the 18th!  I kind of feel like I'm a shitty friend if I go on the trip because I won't get to see her right before she goes... but then the bitchy side of me says that ever since I moved out she/they haven't really made the effort to stay tight with me anyway. Well, that was happening before I moved out.  Anyway.  When I get my bed on Sunday I'll invite her and Nikki (and Sachiyo by extension) over for dinner and hopefully they'll fucking accept this time.  

I'm still waiting for my package from fucking 24hr TV.  Dude, it's been 10 days.  What the shit?  The last time it came in 3.

Man, why am I in such a turbo-bitchy mood right now?  Damn.
aide: (Bitch slapped)
Going back to work is the most not fun thing ever.  I am going to be overworked and underpaid for the next four months and I am not looking forward to that thought.  I am seriously starting to think perhaps about going back to Nova.  No, G Communications.  But I wonder if it would be that easy.  I'll have to keep those emails they sent me.  I don't want to get shipped off to Aichi or anywhere but work less and get paid more.  Ideally.

I am starting to get a headache.  I met up with Amanda for eats and coffee after work and stuffed my face and now the no sleeping is starting to rage on me.  I did 4 lessons and marked 6 classes worth of tests and wrote a letter for the principal to thank this school in Australia for sending a painting back with some student who did a homestay there for the summer.  No breaks.  If I pass out now... will I wake up?  I think I'll nap for a bit and then get the dishes done.  I don't want to invite any unwanted guests although I think the season for roaches is finally over.  

Oh balls.  Teaching Keigo tomorrow.  Another late night...

Yes, definitely need nap.  Then maybe I can hash out another 200-300 words for this fic.  The pace is slow and therefore so is the writing. 

I sent Capitivation; Perfection to my friend Kevin in my latest letter.  He's kind of a nerd like me and has switched faculties three times and went on exchange to France and did the student government thing for two years so I think he'd like it.  I hope so.  I'm getting a lot less shy about sharing my writing with people I know in real life.  They don't understand the in-jokes and references but they can appreciate style and such nonetheless.

kasdfs napnow.

PS this layout is boring me now.  I'm going to change it later I think.

VS Rules

Apr. 19th, 2008 01:31 pm
aide: (Ohno Approved!)
Just watched VS Arashi on Keyhole (I'm surprised I woke up before it was on, actually!) and eventhough it was laggy and poor quality, the sound was fine.  I don't know if that is a show I'd need to feel compelled to collect.  It's just entertaining.  They did a plug for the new album at the end and played a track from it in the background.  Something upbeat and super catchy but of course you couldn't hear over the talking so I'll have to wait until Wednesday or when someone uploads it.  I know, I'm a terrible person for not buying it.  I really am trying to keep my accumulation of random crap to a minimum.  Which is why I might be scoring a free TV at the end of the month.  At least then I can watch my Arashi real-time without lag and without the tiny, shitty resolution!  If I get it, that is.  The guy said I'm second in line and if the other guy flakes out, it's mine.  It's a 32" which is pretty big... I don't know how I'll be able to take it home on the train alone.  I'm recruiting Andrew on the 29th, a holiday, to go get it and hopefully it won't be that busy.  A TV for the price of train fare?  Hell yes.  Then I can plug in my DVD player (also scored for free) and switch my computer back to Region 1.  I've been itching to watch Empire Records and episodes of House but I can't. 

Got mail from Chelsea today!  ILU. :D  Yes, everyone does need awkward Aiba pictures. 

Haven't heard a peep from the girls yet.  Not sure what's the deal with the gig tonight.  Starting at 7:30 as usual probably.  I wonder if I can beg out and not look like a total jerkoff. 

I want to write somethingggg but I have run out of ideas.  I hoped to garner some good karma by prompting [profile] everystarrfall yesterday, so hopefully someone will do the same for me~
aide: (Roadtrip)

I got my unpaid wages papers from Nova in the mail today!  Happy birthday to me, indeed.  I'm owed almost ¥350,000 but the Labour and Welfare Board is only paying 80%.  So I'm getting ¥278,000 which isn't anything sneeze at.  At today's rates, that's about $2600 CDN.  I just need to copy some documents and get that off in the mail tomorrow because who knows how long it will actually take to get the money into my account.  It might be another six weeks before that happens.  I know I should remit it directly back home and not touch the money, but I will take a chunk of it for traveling.  Andrew and I are going to Nagoya in April to visit Yvonne and she suggested that we all take a trip together somewhere.  I want to go to Kyoto and Osaka, and Nagoya is half way so what's a little bit further?  I don't know if Andy is down for it, since he's going to be paying out big money pretty soon to move into his own place.  But we're definitely going to Nagoya. 

aide: (Default)

Furniture was delivered yesterday, and I spent the bulk of the day building a shelving unit and reorganizing my stuff.  There are a few things that don't seem to have homes yet, but slowly but surely, things are coming together.  I think I've said that before, but I really am starting to get that feeling of peace and stability.  Justin came over last night as well since we haven't seen each other in months and caught up.  After having been through the disaster that was Nova, we both agreed that stability shouldn't be taken for granted.  It's one thing to be spontaneous and do stuff on a whim, but its not so pleasant when its forced upon you.  So, for all you people who have found a niche or a stable job and home, take a moment and reflect. 

Nikki was supposed to call me in the morning today, it's 11:54am, and come over to see the house.  I've got work at 6pm with IKOI conversation school and that'll bring me a couple thousand yen for my trip tomorrow.  I should send Yvonne over to the ticket counter to get our tickets when she comes back from Tokyo today, although I don't know when that is going to be.  I'm not sure if I am going to continue with IKOI when I start work next month... He doesn't pay transport and its 900Y round trip to go to work every time.  He doesn't even pay me that well.  He keeps telling me I'm "the best teacher", but if you want me to stay, you better pony up some more cash. 

I got a call from Tatsuya from IES yesterday and I'm going in for my contract signing next Wednesday and then going in to visit the school in the afternoon so I won't be able to go work at IKOI.  He also asked me if I would be interested in working on the 29th, facilitating a training session for Japanese English teachers.  I accepted of course, because I could use all the money I can get, but what the hell do I know about real teaching?!  But I guess Houden Higashi and Maruyama Elementary schools where I did my 2 week stint liked me enough to recommend me to do it?  Or because I worked at Nova?  I don't know.  Maybe I'll ask him, I'd be interested in hearing his reason for asking me.  Maybe its just because I'm desperately in need of money.  I won't be doing it alone, there will be other ALT's there, and it is only for 90 minutes.  If nothing else, it'll be a cute trip to Saitama prefecture, transport paid.

New ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew ApartmentNew Apartment

aide: (So Hardcore)

So, the maelstrom that was Nova is finally over and the dust is beginning to settle.  I've moved out of the Nova apartment in Abiko to a one-room (literally) place in Kashiwa.  It's small by Canadian (and even Japanese?) standards, at a whopping 16.36m^2.  It's probably smaller than those Marine Drive studios actually.  But I like it.  I'm getting some furniture delivered tomorrow so I'll be able to make this place feel more homey tout suite.  I've got a kitchen that consists of a mini-bar fridge, one electric burner and sink with a 2 shelf cupboard above.  I cooked dinner for the first time tonight and it took a lot of planning an maneuvering, deciding what to cook first.  Beside the kitchen, next to the door, is a closet that is meant to house a washing machine, which I will probably never buy.  Right now, it's where I chuck my dirty laundry and store my suitcase.  There is a geta hako (lit. geta box; geta are traditional Japanese slippers) or shoe cupboard on the other side of the door, next to the shower room.  It's a tightly packed bathroom, essentially.  Everything gets a bit wet when you take a shower because there is no curtain (I should probably get a tension rod and curtain for that purpose).  There's a bit closet that fits my clothes, extra futon (for guests) and assorted crap that I brought/accumulated over the last 3 months.  It's on the ground floor, but I still get a balcony to hang laundry and survey the street.  Even though I'm only a 10 minute walk from the station, it feels like small-town neighborhood Japan; what Japan should REALLY look like.  I guess?  That's what Andrew and Yvonne said.  There is a convenience store on the next street, and a laundromat up the road so I'm pretty set.  Anything else I could want is 10 minutes away.  I haven't explore the area too extensively yet - I've been up to my eyeballs in errands and meeting people and running around.  I went to one of the big malls in Kashiwa today and picked up some furniture (all I have to my name is a futon and plastic set of drawers) which is being delivered tomorrow.  Pictures to follow tomorrow.

20071119 - Dinner 20071119 - Tamagoyaki

This month was going to be a bit of a holiday for me.  My new job at IES wasn't scheduled to start until December so I got a few part-time stints teaching and a few private lessons and was going to sit tight.  However, IES called me and needed a substitute teacher immediately for some elementary schools, at Y12,000 a day, so I jumped on it.  Kept me busy, and got a feel for this ALT job (although, junior high will be different).  That finished on Friday, so now I get a 2 week break before starting for real.  It's going to be busy though: now that I've moved, I have to change my address everywhere, including city offices and get a new gaijin card and set up house.  I've got a bit of training for the new job also to do, but will only be 1 day next week.

Yvonne came out this weekend to celebrate her birthday with me and Andrew.  She's got a JET conference today, tomorrow and Wednesday, but came a bit early and we went to the Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba on Saturday night.  An onsen is a Japanese hot spring, or communal bath.  It was awesome!  This place was decked out to look like the Edo period and everyone wore yukata.  We didn't get to go to the outdoor baths, since it was too late, but we stripped off and tested out all the different baths.  Unfortunately, there wasn't any co-ed ones, so Yvonne and I had to ditch Andrew for a while.  We took ridiculous pictures, of course, making total asses of ourselves.  On Thursday, Yvonne and I are taking a trip to Nikko.  We're staying 1 night, and going to hit up all the sights there.  It'll be my first real trip in Japan, outside of Tokyo.  I'm so excited!  It's only going to be about 100$, and right before a national holiday so we got a pretty good deal.  I'll have loads to write about!

After getting back to Kashiwa yesterday afternoon, Yvonne helped me get a haircut since I was long overdue.  The guy asked me if I dye my hair because he said it looked damaged.  WTF!  This is the first time in years that I actually don't have ANY dye in my hair so it should be healthy as a baby's bottom.  But hairdressers in Singapore used to say that to me all the time too, "Your hair feels dry".  I think he was full of crap.  And besides, how many white customers does he work on?  Fool doesn't know what he's talking about. 
aide: (Who me?)
こんにちは~ Konnichiwa from Japan...

I hope you are all doing well. I hope you all have been following this bullshit with Nova. Long story short, Nova is in the big shit. The company has been making stupid business moves for years, but everything has blown up since July. The company ran into some trouble when they didn't honor student contracts and were forced to refund them. However, as far as I know, some people are STILL waiting for their money. To my understanding, when the contract scandal happened (the story goes that Nova claimed students could take lessons ANY time they wanted, but couldn't live up to that because there weren't enough teachers) the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) banned Nova from taking anymore long-contract students until December. Since then, things have become a downward spiral. In August, some of the Japanese staff's pay was delayed by a few days. In September, Branch Trainers' pay was almost 2 weeks delayed. Some of the Japanese staff still haven't been paid since the 27th of September. And now, the teacher's salaries have been delayed from the 15th of October to the 19th, and at that, it is only "scheduled". There is no promise in those words, and I would not be surprised if pay was pushed back further until the end of the month. Why? Because there is NO money. Nova has been closing schools left, right and centre. They decided to close 200 of 900 schools, and I think for good reason. 3 schools in my area have closed, but they were so small they couldn't even support themselves. Abiko school closed and many students moved to Kashiwa (my home branch) and Toride school. Kita Kogane and Moraju Kashiwa (both satellites of Kashiwa) are closing at the end of this month and students can move to Jusco Kashiwa or Matsudo if they wish. Many are not happen because Nova's claim to fame was that students could take lessons anywhere, as close as a 5 minutes walk from their homes.

So what does this mean? Nova is dying. Teachers are quitting daily, leaving the J-staff floundering to find teachers that don't exist. They rearrange the schedule about four times a day, switching lessons and canceling classes. There just isn't anyone to teach them. Some teachers aren't coming in until they get paid, as the trainers did back in September. Fair enough. If there isn't any money to pay us for our work last month, we won't be getting paid for anything this month. There is a tiny glimmer of hope, people think. I'm not sure how much of this I understand, since I am no Commerce student, but apparently Nova has been selling warrants to companies in the British Virgin Islands for next to nothing, and on the 24th of October they turn into a bunch of money, which (in theory) is supposed to pay teachers. That's great! But that doesn't do anything for the rest of the things unpaid:
- the office rent (read: schools have closed due to eviction)
- the (stolen) teachers' rent (read: teachers have been moved due to eviction)
- the (stolen) health insurance
- the late staff wages
- the missing bonuses
- the teachers who quit and were not paid
- the suppliers
- the bank loan
- the advertisers
- the student refunds

How can this situation get better? I don't know. I think the moron CEO of this company who surely has a bounty on his head is waiting for the bans to be lifted in December and is just trying to keep the company afloat until then. Will students come back then? Will there be an income? I don't know. I seriously doubt things can last this way much longer. At one time, we had up to 8 teachers at Kashiwa; I'm surprised if we have 4 now. Have I painted a grim enough picture yet? For more info (and a bit more cynicism) check out Some Nova teacher writing candidly (and rather accurately) about everything. I don't know where he gets his info, but its damn scary how much he knows.

I'm sure you're all scared for me now. And if you aren't, you bastard. :P Just kidding. So, this begs the question, "Heather, what are you going to do?"

Well, since early October I've been hunting for a new job. I can't possibly stay in Japan without having an income, and I'm not ready to come home yet. After all I've spent to get here, I'm not leaving without a fight. It's been really stressful because out of 4000 teachers on the employ of Nova, a good half of them are looking to stay in Japan as well. Needless to say, there is some fierce competition for jobs right now. But I had an interview last Tuesday for an Assistant Language Teacher position for a junior high school in Kashiwa starting in November. I got a reply yesterday, and he said he thought I was the most suitable person for the job! However, the school requested to keep the current ALT but he has a couple of positions open in Funabashi. It's not as convenient as Kashiwa, but its better than nothing and more secure than Nova. I could always ask for a position in Kashiwa when the new school year starts in April, if I stay on there. I haven't heard back with any details on this new job yet, but it's looking really good. :) I've also got a couple part-time things lined up and about 3 more interviews. Now that I've nearly got a new job secured, I wonder if I should continue on with Nova knowing I probably won't get paid for my work. I could sit on my as and surely not make any money, or go to work and keep busy (and avoid spending) until the end of the month. It's only another 2 weeks so what's the harm? I might get some karmic redemption with a final paycheck next month.

The next problem to tackle is housing: Nikki and Amanda (my super star roommates) said I can stay as long as I need to here when/if I leave Nova. I want to stay in Abiko/Kashiwa and have been looking at the real estate listings around this area. I can get a 1 room place (albeit incredibly tiny) for less than half of what I'm paying now. Although I definitely plan to get as much free stuff out of Nova as I can at the moment. The Sydney and Boston offices have stopped sending recruits, and I'm sure Canada has done the same given the situation so I don't think I'll have to worry about a new person forcing me to move before I'm financially ready to do so. This hiccup in the plan is going to delay the "making money" part, but now I can say I survived a corporate meltdown. Although, that's probably not something to list on the resume. Conversation piece? Perhaps. As for them, Nikki is hunting for jobs as well; we went to an info session at Gaba, another conversation school, this morning. She is worse of than me, having gone through the bulk of her savings here since she started mid-month and hasn't received a full paycheck yet. Amanda is going to apply for some jobs tonight, which sucks because she's only been here for 2 weeks. We all are probably going to keep working, not only because we feel bad for the J-staff and students, but Nova probably will write us off the payroll if we leave now and won't be paid for the work we've done. At least I am assured a pay this month when money arrives, since I have my pay stub.

I emailed the consulate and there isn't anything they can do. They just sent me some links to labour rights and unions and stuff as well as a list of English-speaking lawyers in the Kanto region. Like I can afford a lawyer. But at least they were prompt in their reply. Nikki got the same sort of answer from the New Zealand consulate.

Anyway... It's been a really rough week. I was so stressed out I couldn't sleep, and actually had to leave work early on Sunday because I was just sick to my stomach. I came home and bawled my eyes out, finally falling into a half-decent sleep. This definitely eases my stress a little bit, but there are still so many people out there getting fucked by Nozomu Sahashi who ran his company into the ground. Keep your fingers crossed for all of us.

That's about as detailed an update as I can get without going into the nitty-gritty, mundane things. As shitty as things have become, and with the realization that if I had scheduled to leave a mere month later, I could have got on with JET, I don't regret coming to Japan at all. For all the shit I've had to put up with, I've had a great time and met some really awesome people. When I get a steady pay coming in again, and a new apartment, I'll get around to seeing more sights and enjoying myself again. At least I'm not going through this alone.

Send me your well-wishes. :) It's always nice to hear from you. How are things in your neck of the woods?
Take care, dress warm.

Love, Heather


Oct. 13th, 2007 12:06 pm
aide: (Emo)

Teachers won't be paid on schedule.  They say "scheduled for the 19th" but that's probably not going to happen.  This supposed "cash injection" is supposed to happen on the 24th, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a miracle.  The time to move is now.  Figuratively and metaphorically.  I walk past a real estate agent everyday on my way to the station so I actually stopped to check and what the listings looked like.  They had one that was only 30,000Y and needed 1 month deposit, no key money, and only a 2000Y cleaning fee.  If I'm reading things right.  It's only a 1 bedroom place, which suits me fine, but I don't know about appliances or any of that.  I asked Sachiyo to play translator for me.  I wonder when I should do that?  Probably as soon as possible.  I'm thinking that if we haven't been paid, that means our rent for November also hasn't been paid.  So the landlord will come in short order to kick us out.  I haven't heard about this ALT position in Kashiwa yet, nor from GEOS who fucked up their dates with my interview.  I have an interview with Gaba on Tuesday, which albeit isn't the most fantastic company to work for, but if i get it - work is work.  Money is money.  It will keep me afloat until something better comes along.  Or maybe I'll rock at it and make tons of money.  They operate on popularity - if you suck, you don't get picked, therefore you don't make money.  I also have another interview for an ALT position in Funabashi on the 24th, but that job doesn't start until January. 

So it comes down to this: do I just keep working until something better comes along, even though I am 99% sure I won't get paid for it, or do I call Cerie and call it quits (or toppatsu [emergency leave] until I see some money) which she fully expects.  Better now than later, and give the J-staff time to organize and reorganize the schedule.  I wouldn't mind going to work, but its not a happy environment.  Teachers are depressed and the students know.  And its getting harder and harder not to talk about the Nova situation.  Some of them are ignorant as fuck and have no idea about the severity of the situation.  Others, its all they can talk about, and we aren't supposed to talk shop with students.  But how can you not when your entire livelihood is at stake?  What do they expect us to do?
aide: (Default)
As things are becoming clearer.. the prospect of leaving Nova is becoming more and more certain.  Alex found me on Facebook and I thought, "Oh shit, we're going to be policed now" but he's actually a really awesome, chill dude and basically told me to go for it so I don't get screwed.  I'm sure he's looking too.  As D-Day looms, everyone is getting antsy.  A Nova Walkout is the works, but I don't know if I have enough balls to go through with it.  The thing is, this probably will only happen if we don't get paid, but it should happen anyway.  Not that it really matters, it seems the company is doomed anyway.  Heard back about 3 more interviews, so that's a positive sign.  One of them, the morons, gave me 2 different dates.  One of them was the very next day, after sending the email at 7pm with an attachment saying the date was the following Tuesday.  I haven't yet heard from them on this mistake.  I was hoping to maybe do some touring on Tuesday (since I'm working Weds for Christian) but I have lined up interviews so that won't be happening.  It's going to suck and basically be like a day at work since (if my plan goes accordingly) I'll have the first one at 10am and then second from 1-5:30pm so I don't have to make 2 trips to Tokyo and spend 1500Y.  No word on that ALT position I "interviewed" for yet, but there's still a few more days.  I'm doing OT today, or at least working a long day instead of short.  They'll dock me some lessons somewhere else, I'm sure since they don't have money to pay OT.
aide: (Emo)

Well, as you may have guessed, no news from the CEO of Nova (who apparently has gone AWOL).  There was a fax however to the J-staff today about delayed pay again...  Alex told me about this website Of Rice and Zen which apparently has been pretty accurate about the whole situation.  Things just don't look positive and I really don't know what to do.

On a brighter note (I guess), I had a job interview today with this International Education Systems who supplies Assistant Language Teachers to elementary and junior high schools in Saitama, Chiba and Tokyo.  They have contracts with Funabashi and Kashiwa and they are looking for 2 ALTs to fill positions in Kashiwa.  It wasn't really an interview though.  I made my way down to Akabanebashi (an hour and fifteen minutes from Kashiwa) after my 2 lesson help shift today, and got there 30 mins early and ran into this other Nova teacher applying for the same job.  So we schmoozed and went it and filled out the application form.  When the 3rd guy came, Mr Oishi told us about the job, what it entailed, a bit of history of the company and then asked the randomest questions that were seemingly about nothing.  Like, "You live in Abiko?  What's your nearest station, Abiko station? Hmm hmm.  You work in Kashiwa now?"  Random stuff.  NOTHING to do with the actually job itself.  I have a feeling he already knows who he wants to hire and this is just a formality to see if people are creepers or not.  I was the only person he asked, "When's the soonest you can start?" to which I answered, "Beginning of November".  It was very strange.  But I'll know by Sunday what the decision is.  The pay is a bit less, but I actually like my job.  I like the students, I like the atmosphere, the lessons are a bit shit at times, but I enjoy the teaching.   And I really like my coworkers and the staff.  I think I should see if I can get a meeting with Cerie and  talk to her about this situation.  She won't be able to tell me anything, because there is no information, but am I being a total skank just leaving Nova high and dry? 

If I DO get the job, I might be in the same position come spring since this guy doesn't know if Kashiwa will re-contract for another school year.  And they are looking for teachers mid-contract, so its only until March.  Am I better off sticking it out with Nova for another month, hoping for the best (MERGER! MERGER!! MERGER!!!) or do I jump ship now, and get something a bit more stable for the time being?  If I don't get it, then I won't have any choice but to stick it out.  In any case, maybe its a good idea to search for some new living situation just in case.  Maybe Justin will move in with me.  I'd like to be closer to Tokyo, maybe Kita-Senju or Minami-Senju.  I like living in Chiba though... I like Abiko, as sleepy as it is.  I don't think I'd be able to convince him to move out this way. 

Sick Day

Sep. 21st, 2007 11:59 am
aide: (Not the Boss)
aide: (Emo)

The title kind of says it all.  I've been in Japan for 6 weeks and have finally started to feel settled.  Hannah is gone for good, I've moved rooms and cleaned some more of the house (I scrubbed kitchen cupboards today).  I got a few odds and ends for the house today (a bathmat, frying pan, wall-pocket organizer, a knife sharpener) and got a new top from Uniqlo that was on sale.  Uniqlo is like Japanese Old Navy, cheap but actually decent quality.  It's actually chilly today, and I was tempted to buy a hoody because they are soo nice and soft but I will wait until fall starts in earnest since I probably won't actually get to wear it for a few weeks.  Andrew says in -1 in Edmonton which blows my mind.  It's still September!  WTF? 

Mom hasn't received anything from Cara yet which worries me.  Chris was supposed to get my last check and deposit it for me but they said they sent it to Ontario.  I hope that money hasn't gone missing because that was a whole pay period and vacation pay.  I wonder who he talked to.  Hopefully it will be sorted out and I'll get that money.  It'll be hard for me to do something about it from Japan if it got lost or something. 

I feel like I had something more to say.  Not something more interesting because its been rather mundane this past week, but at least I thought I had more to say.  I had my 3 week observation 2 weeks late, on Monday.  It was fine, Simon said I'm doing great and the students really like me.  :D  That's good to hear.  I've made it half way through probation without being late or absent and if my obs are that good, there shouldn't be any reason for them to extend it.  Right on track!  We have our Welcome Party this Sunday at an izakaya in Kashiwa: 2500Y for nomihodai (all you can drink).  I don't know who all is going, besides us new folks, but it should be fun.  It doesn't start til 8pm, so I should have a chance to go home and change I finish at 6.  I'll have to remember to get Nikki to bring her camera so we can remember our drunken escapades.

18 Hours

Jul. 31st, 2007 12:27 pm
aide: (Default)

The day has finally arrived!  I'm waiting for DHL to come and pick up my boxes to ship home (and I keep finding stuff that I should have packed, mostly in the kitchen, but oh well).  The girl on the line said today, anytime before 4pm.  Wow, thanks for the awesome scheduling there.  She said it might be in the morning since I'm residential, but no luck on that one since it's already noon.  I wanted to go back to sleep (it was 8am when I called) but I was afraid they would come and I would miss it.  I can't go get my eyebrows done until they come so... I might be stuck at home until late afternoon!  Gah!  And I am afraid to even take a shower, since Chris isn't awake yet. 

I've paid 100$ to my phone, so I'll have to get him to tell me what the balance is.  Oh DHL is here!

Well, now that that is taken care of, I can move on with my day.  I should get Ashley's car moved around and bring it up closer to the gate and unload the trunk.  The sooner I get everything packed up and sealed away, the more relaxed I'll feel.

36 Hours

Jul. 30th, 2007 12:26 pm
aide: (Default)

After rearranging and rearranging my luggage, I think I've purged as much as I can and wedged in as much as I can.  I'm tempted to comb through 1 last time and toss a few more things, clothes I won't wear, stuff I won't need, but I am tired of it.  My room needs a serious tidy up - there's a pile of garbage in the corner of paper and random crap.  Can't really do too much about it though since the city is on strike still.  I talked to dad on the phone for a while and said goodbyes, and I should call mom as well, but I'm so tired.  I might be meeting up with Alison, Kate and Alexi later if they can nail down some plans.  I'm just so tired of planning...  I could use some food in my poor stomach, but don't really feel like eating.  I think I'll just kill time by finishing Harry Potter since I have to return the book anyway.  It feels like I still have so much stuff to do before I leave on Tuesday:

-- Arrange DHL pick-up (hopefully Monday afternoon)
-- Send cheque to Kilian Chiropractic
-- Pay phone off
-- Record new phone message
-- Unpack Ashley's car

I think I want to grab some odds and ends at Shoppers before finally packing also so I can do that when I'm out and about tomorrow.  Having a bit of an "open house" tomorrow night; anyone who wants to come say bye can stop in whenever.  Chris and Derek are coming to the airport to send me off (whether they know it or not) in Ashley's car.  Hopefully we can move the car closer to infront of the house so we can easily unload it and load it up with all my shit.  If I get that done in the afternoon, the better.  All I'll need to do is pack up my backpack and throw in my clean laundry.   That's the plan anyway...

T-7 Days

Jul. 24th, 2007 12:25 pm
aide: (Default)

Worked my last Swiss shift last night and it must have been the longest, most painful one ever.  Time would just not go fast enough!  But I got through without major complications, had drinks and boggle'd with friends from work afterwards.  It was good.  I really got to know some people that I didn't really get to know while I worked there which was awesome.  Wrote a big sappy goodbye note and pinned it to the board; hopefully people remember me fondly and don't think I'm being overly dramatic.  LOL. 

I've started packing in earnest now...  I'm doing a test run with my suitcases to make sure I can fit all my clothes and stuff I want to bring without being overweight.  If ever, this is the time to be honest with my own body weight otherwise things won't be measured accurately.  :(  What a slap in the face that is.  So far, I've got the bulk of my clothes, books and DVD's packed in my big green monster, and if I am estimating properly it weights 50-55lbs.  United's maximum weight is 50lbs so I might need to do some rearranging and put more soft things in that one since the case itself weighs about 10lbs!  Kind of a rip off since 1/5 of your weight allowance is taken up by the fucking case itself, but it's hardshell so things are protected.  It's a trade off I guess.

I'm debating about winter clothes and if I should even bother packing my winter coat.  I am just taking my pea coat with me since it'll be more professional but after reading about Tokyo winters, which are only 0-10C, I'm wondering if I should even bother with that.  I have a couple other lighter "fall" jackets I want to bring and can always layer.  If worse comes to worst, I could always go hunt and buy a coat if it really is that cold.  I could save myself on lots of room and weight if I didn't bring a coat with me... I've polled Yvonne and Andrew to see what they suggest.  I'm feeling pretty positive about this packing experience since I've got most of my stuff put away and have a whole empty suitcase to fill.  But I won't make the mistake I did after first year when I packed all my stuff and sent it off to Auntie Linda's house and ended up with too much to fit into my bags to take back to Brampton for the summer.  I want to make sure everything will fit (maybe with room to spare) and then pack everything else to send back. 

Back to packing then.  Best get this done and sorted out before going out to dinner.  Shabusen with my boys!

Edit: Andrew tells me its exactly the same as Vancouver winters so I will do without any winter jackets if I don't have the room.  At least I don't have to worry about that! 
aide: (Sho Stalks)

I finally got some boxes and tape and started packing stuff away to send home.  I don't think I'll have more than 3 or 4 boxes to send back to Ontario, actually.  I haven't even started trying to pack all of my stuff into my suitcase yet...  I was thinking of just getting a box and taking that with my suitcase on the plane (azn style) but I have 2 large suitcases... the flowery one I've had for 10 years or more and is definitely ready to hit the bin, so maybe I should just take it and then throw it out when I get to Japan?  Or just keep it; it fits inside the other one.  UGH what a pain.  And stupid people upstairs haven't brought me down a scale, or told me they don't have one, so I can't weigh things.  I'm starting to worry I won't have enough room for everything!!  Andrew told me to go buy some Space Bags and compress everything down.  And they are like 10$ at Zellers?  The only problem with that is the closest Zellers I can think of is in Oakridge Mall.  Which isn't that close, really.

There are still so many things I need to go through and toss... I haven't even started looking through my toiletries and cosmetics.  I am going to pick out the jewelry that I wear the most and take that with me and leave the rest.  Do I take some stationary?  I guess I can buy pens, etc when I get there.  I'll only need 1-2 to get me there.  Can't I just pick up and leave with nothing but a carry on?  Leave everything where it is for when I come back.

Sigh.  Now I'm feeling all depressed and blah.  STILL no word from Nova on my housing... I will be leaving in 2 weeks as of tomorrow.  My ticket also got charged today, and I have my e-ticket, so I'm really really going.  I guess it's too late to back out now... 

More Prep

Jul. 14th, 2007 12:21 pm
aide: (Default)

I got my visa from the Japanese Consulate today!  It's pretty... lame.  It's not even shiny or anything.  Only single entry, which might cause me grief if I want to travel.  And my picture looks fucking heinous.  But, oh well.  I should just accept the fact that I'm not as thin as I used to be.  I've definitely put 20lbs on since high school and it makes me sad.  I don't suppose that not going to work and lazing around at home will help with that problem...

I emailed Amy as well asking about housing and she said that they should be receiving the assignments early next week and will be forwarding them out ASAP.  That's good to hear I guess... only 3 more days until I (possibly) know where in Japan I'll be staying? 

Time to get dressed and do more purging from my closet.  I'm going to drive this bag-o-clothes over to Alison's place so I can get it out of my hallway.  Chris said he would bring me some boxes home tonight so I can start packing.  Ahh scary!

Also, just because I can:
I actually was wanting to create my own layout for this blog today, with Arashi as the theme, of course, but I thought that might be too fangirly and people who would be reading this wouldn't get it.  But who gives a hoot what they think anyway? :D

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