Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two month anniversary.

Today marks my two-month anniversary since coming to Japan on July 15. I might as well use this opportunity to give you a quick status update.

I've been job hunting for about 6 weeks now, and I received my first interview 1 week ago. It's for a part-time English teaching position in Akihabara, for a 28-hour week (Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday). The hours are a bit awkward, but it gives me a stable starting point to build from. I'll be signing the contract this week, and then I need to take a 3-day certification class. The job itself won't start until October. It's just a 3-month contract, to be renewed in February. So, I won't be locked into anything really long-term.

Been watching some anime (Kitaro, Bleach, Soul Eater, Seirei no Moribito, Conan, and Birdy Decode), but there's not a lot on worth watching on any given night (and I only really like Kitaro and Soul Eater; everything else I watch just for the Japanese practice). So, I spend the majority of my days job searching, reading manga for the practice, doing homework for my Japanese class, and writing my Japanese learning game in Flash. Occasionally, we go out for dinner at a nearby okonomiyaki or Chinese restaurant, which is fun but expensive (average $50 per meal for 2 people; $160 for two people at a sushi place in the Ginza two nights ago).

Regarding the game, I've got beta versions of an intro chapter and a hiragana/katakana practice game completed. And I'm working on a game for learning situational Japanese vocabulary (hiragana and kanji) that I hope to get working at a beta level pretty soon.

For the Japanese class, it's been a good experience for me. It's only 90 minutes each Thursday night, but for something that's offered as a free promotion it's been a great value (my last class from the promotion is this Thursday, then I have to decide if I want to go for the regular classes). I've been learning where my mistakes are in both writing kana and in speaking, and I'm slowing correcting them. And, I am making myself understood more at parties when talking to Japanese people that don't know much English. So, overall, it's been a good thing. Plus, working on the Flash games is also good practice for my learning new words and kanji. Unfortunately, I wanted to try the Japanese Language Proficiency Test this year but I missed the cut-off date. It's only offered once a year, in December, and the registration window is from July to September 12. I didn't get around to checking the official website until last night, and then discovered I was two days too late. Sigh. Well, there's always next year. Besides, I'm probably only good enough to pass level 4. I'd like to try level 3, but I'm still weak on the kind of grammar they'd be testing for.

On the job hunting front - I'll run a series of blog entries on my experiences starting tomorrow. Suffice it to say here that the market is tight all around, and anyone planning to come to Japan to find work should be laying down a strong framework well beforehand.

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