Once again the rainy season is in full swing and as I practically swim through the heavy, humid air I remember my first couple of months in Tsuyama. The first few days went by like the blink of an eye. Everything was so new to me. I can’t imagine how I looked walking around Tsuyama staring at every small corner store and barber shop.
Now, as I look back, I can see how much I have grown. As a new teacher I was overwhelmed with everything, as an adult just entering society I was surprised with all of the responsibility, and as a foreigner I was overtaken with culture shock. The rainy season was a very hard time for me and I struggled with all of the adjustments I had to make. This rainy season, however, is a different story. I feel like a whole new person. My teaching has improved thanks to all of my students’ patience and of course Ms. Takayama and Nick’s excellent advice and mentoring. I could have not asked for a better place to grow as a teacher. However, I am far from the level I want to be so I will continue to learn alongside my students.
I am also over the culture shock. As many of you know I try to be very active outside of the classroom. This has helped me overcome the culture shock and make a lot of new friends. I have done so many things here so it would be impossible to say everything but here are some of my favorite activities that I have done: finding my inner strength in the Omikoshi Festival at Osumi Shrine, conquering the mountains of Okutsu while snowmobiling, sipping ice-cold Sake at a Sake Festival in Shurakuen Garden and of course drinking in the beauty of Kakuzan Park during the Sakura Festival. It seems like the Omikoshi Festival was just yesterday!
My one year here has gone by fast and it has been incredible. Time truly does fly when you are having fun. Many thanks to all of you who have made my first year in Tsuyama so memorable. I look forward to another year here and to making many more memories with everyone.