It dawned on me the other day when flicking through email archives, that 10 years had passed since I first stepped foot in Japan. Seriously???!10 years?!!. You see, I stumbled across a reply I had gotten from an English School named “Nova”, asking me to come down for an interview at their London office. Oh how time flies……
I had first come to discover Nova on a google search when I was looking for travel & working opportunities outside the U.K – This was back in 2002 after graduating university. Unlike most of my friends I didn’t want to start work right away and the idea of spending time abroad was enticing. Problem = No money…wait rephrase, huge debts. Nova was appealing as it offered me a free ticket to another country, to work full time on a half decent salary and all they required of me was that I would survive the flight there…ohh and had a degree (debatable quality however as I attended Derby University).
What the hell that I didn’t have teaching experience?! In fact for Nova and a lot of other schools, I think this is a prefered situation – no bias, no questioning.
As for my knowledge of Japan before coming, I’m pretty embarrassed to say that I had next to none. I was awful at geography. I could pick out China on a map (because of its size), liked Thai curry and could spell “Korea”. As for Japan, knew of Mt Fuji, Sushi, Tokyo and E.Honda from streetfighter (My misspent youth).
Looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I wouldn’t change a thing if I could. You see, every single day for the first year in Japan I learnt something new and it was amazing. I was essentially a working tourist for 12 months and although the job was crap at times, everything else was truly memorable. Karaoke, Izakayas, all you can drink, the bullet train, good service in Mcdonald’s, miso soup, mountains, rivers, bowing, beers from vending machines, new words, new friends…..everything was new and unforgettable. I was in love with Japan.
I was also different back then; brave, confident, foolish and adventurous. What changed?! Not sure but oh how I wish I was like that now. Maybe I’ll analyse why I’m not in a future post.