The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Back in Japan #2

In an earlier post, I mentioned that we have returned to Tokyo, so perhaps it is appropriate to show some photos of the Presidential Lounge at Newark Airport and the food on the business class flight. How does it compare to our first experience? The lounge in Narita Airport had more variety of food available, but we were served by Japanese flight attendants on the flight to Narita so we enjoyed great service. Food was the same - great presentation, lovely ingredients, but had "plane food" taste. Rob went for a non-seafood main course (steak) which was actually pretty nicely done. Me, always a sucker for seafood, I chose a lobster and fish dish - both the fish and lobster were overdone, but still tasty. Unfortunately, seafood is not a good ingredient for plane food as the heating appliances onboard is not so forgiving towards seafood. We also had the usual dessert, fruits and cheese after the meal. A full passenger is a quiet passenger...

Rob enjoying a bagel in the 'presidential' lounge at Newark airport:

Appetiser and salad: half lobster with Du Barry sauce and an assortment of sushi

Main dish of tilapia and lobster on rice:

Now for a bit of update for friends and family. We are staying in Chuo-ku, the centre of Tokyo. We are about 25minutes' walk east of Tokyo Station, the 30 minutes walk north east of Ginza, and fresh sushi in Tsukiji is only about a 20 minutes' walk south (yeah, we did a lot of walking yesterday). Certainly a nice change from inaka (rural) Japan where everything and everyone else is a 20 minutes drive away! The area we're staying in is a pretty nice area with river paths, and it is more quiet and less hustle-bustle than the more touristy spots like Shibuya, Akihabara and Ginza. Unfortunately, a central location in a big city doesn't come cheaply - if all goes well, soon we will be signing a long term lease to a nice albeit tiny 1-bedroom apartment which will cost a very dear 193,000yen (~AU$2000) per month.

As mentioned before, I secured a teaching job in Japan sometime during our stint in New York. I'll be teaching mainly kindy- and elementary-aged kids, and class sizes are pretty small (largest class is 4 kids) - it'll be great not having to deal with large classes of unmotivated teenagers! Pay is pretty good for what it is and work conditions are probably one of the best I've come across (although not as good as the JET Program, of course). The teacher I'm replacing leaves this position tomorrow, so I had to head to work on Saturday for my first day at work. She's a fellow Aussie and taught at this school for 5 years, so I have pretty big shoes to fill. The kids and parents all adore her, and my first day at work was pretty full-on with information overload, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate at the same time, and jetlag certainly didn't help at all. Let's hope I'll eventually get the hang of it.

Both Rob and I are working in Chiba but living in Tokyo, which is funny if you think about it. Is it worth paying high rent in Tokyo and commuting out for work? A lot of people do it the other way around - live outside of Tokyo and commute long hours into Tokyo for work. We have managed to convince ourselves that we are doing the smart thing here because Rob's office will eventually move to Tokyo, and it's a pretty straightforward no-train-transfer commute for the both of us to our respective workplaces, and the nearest train station is only 5mins walk away. And have I already mentioned that it is a really nice area?

This is the first time the both of us will be working full time away from home - I wonder how it will work out? I guess only time will tell.

Still playing catch-up with my photos, so more posts on New York to follow...

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