Throwback Thursday: Settling In

I thought today I’d talk about my first few days at my placement~

I started work, or had to go to work, the very first day I got to my placement, but it took a few days to actually get started with actual work. Each placement is probably different, but I figured this might give prospective CIRs an idea of what they might end up doing in their first few days.I arrived in my placement at around 9am (after leaving Tokyo at 7am after Orientation…). I was met by two ladies from my department, as well as some of my senpai-ALTs (i.e. ALTs that started before me) who’d made some really cute signs to welcome both me and the two new ALTs. The ladies from my department took me to buy a futon and curtains for my apartment, then took me for lunch at a really nice tempura restaurant, where we had what felt like a small banquet (but was probably just a fancy set menu) before we set off again to buy all my electrical appliances – I had no predecessor, unlike the average CIR, so I had to buy everything new rather than inheriting stuff from someone. Now that I had all the urgent stuff I needed, it was time to go to city hall to meet my coworkers and receive my official contract from the head of my department (who also gave me the first business card in my collection). I also got shown my desk, and given my very own fancy business cards to give to people.

On my second day in my placement (but first full day of actual day of work), I got taken to meet the deputy mayor, along with the two new ALTs. It was all very official, we were shown into a fancy reception room and given tea, and there were even people from a local newspaper there videoing, taking photos and later on even interviewing us – in Japanese, so I had to interpret for the ALTs, which was a little nervewracking to do on camera. I also got interviewed separately in Japanese afterwards for a newspaper article.

My second full day at work involved being thrown into the task of interpreting for our section chief at a rugby friendly match between a local school and a school from Bath, Beppu’s sister city in the UK (because Beppu has onsen for bathing and Bath used to have public baths, get it?). Fortunately, I was given the script for the speeches etc. the day before, so that I could translate it ahead of time and just read it out on the day. The event itself went fine, but as Beppu is in the south-west of Japan it was super hot and humid, and multiple coworkers of mine had come down with heatstroke by the end of the day. I felt kinda bad for not being able to help more over the course of the day.

In the evening was my welcome party with my coworkers from my department. This took place at a fancy restaurant, where there was a set menu again, but most of the food was really nice. I got to chat to almost everyone, which helped get rid of the awkwardness a little (and reassure them that I could speak Japanese). My coworkers had even arranged for the restaurant to make one of my favourite Japanese dishes (‘tori soboro’), which was really sweet of them.

With the welcome party over, my first (half-) week at my placement was over! It was a little hectic, but I was already looking forward to getting to know both my town and my coworkers better~

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