Week 3 – Come On Out Japan!

Week 3 flies in with a part of my teaching team taking the Shinkansen to Niigata, a whopping 2 hours away from Tokyo. From what I had heard about Niigata prior to arriving, I was only mildly excited. They are known for Sake, Rice, Miso, and skiing. Seeing as 3/4 are food or drink and the latter is impossible this type of year it did not surprise me that we did just about everything there is to do in Niigata in the first 3 days.


While that is a slight over-exaggeration, the staff of the Toshin building in Niigata were overly hospitable. The same day we arrived we were taken to a famous Sake vending machine area to sample 5 of over 95 different brands and brews of Sake and saw the local soccer team Albirex play JEF United at the biggest stadium in Japan.


There were 2 field trips during the week to the Albirex training grounds and the stadium for the beginning of the week. This made teaching really hard as we had little time to bond, open up, and build the confidence to use English. In addition, I was solo teaching. My first week was nice and easy from a teaching perspective since I had 3 co teachers and 3 students. But now I had 4 students, who were all really low level and I was by myself, trying to bring the energy as best I can.

It definitely proved to be a struggle. One of my students was only 13 years old and he had trouble with even the most basic English. Another student was 17 and she was even lower than the 13 year old. The whole point of English Camp is to practice English conversation, and use English more to become more comfortable with it, not to learn the basic tenets of grammar or to learn vocabulary. It was hard not to become frustrated with myself and with them, so it was a great learning exercise. And whenever we did talk, it was always fun! Especially when they learned I knew Japanese on the last day.


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