The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

就職 Job Search


Hello dear readers. Daniel and I have settled into our apartment pretty well at this point. Monday (3/22) marked one month since we moved in (yay, rent day!) and everything is starting to seem familiar. We have a handful of meals that we (rather, I... sorry dear) make in rotation. Our favorite is fried chicken and mashed potatoes. I am quite thankful that potatoes, chicken, flour, oil, and eggs can be found almost anywhere in the developed world. Once a week or so I make a big batch of it and we have leftovers for a few days, which yields us barbecue chicken sandwiches and chicken parmesean. However, the last time I made it, we somehow ended up with no leftovers at all, even though I fried 11 chicken tenders... hmm....

Most of our days are taken up by computer activity, which I would like you to think is chiefly comprised of job-hunting... but other things get thrown in there too (check my Word Challenge score to get an idea of what takes up much of our time). Slackers we are, we do a fair amount of work throughout the day. Honestly, the job hunt is in full swing now. We check for new job listings on a few different sites, and apply if something looks good. Daniel has been doing a lot of work for the English classes he's teaching at the Korean Baptist Church down the street. He's not getting paid (yet) but it's really good experience and he's taking it very seriously. He spends hours making worksheets and lesson plans. He's almost finished with a series of coloring pages for the kids, one for each letter of the alphabet. While he does that, I study Japanese or hunt for jobs... or write blogs.

For a while the job hunt was a bit discouraging because we felt like we were sending out a ton of applications and not hearing anything in response. We've been encouraged lately, though, by various things. Daniel has made some good contacts at the church, and I've had two interviews now. My first one was in Kobe a couple of weeks ago with a major chain English school. It was a very long, stressful, tiring day (lots of hoops and lots of jumping) for me, but at least Daniel got to go site-seeing in Kobe. They ended up offering me a job, but they wanted to place me in Kyushu, which is on a different island from where we live now, and we don't want to move out of Kansai right now. I wasn't sure at first if turning it down was the right decision, but I had another interview yesterday, so I'm feeling better about the opportunities still available.

My interview yesterday was at a preschool where they only speak English... most of the teachers are native English-speakers, and soon the kids are all speaking it too. I had at least five 4-6-year-olds come up to me and say “Hello, how are you? What's your name? My name is ____” without even being prompted. I was astonished not only at their speaking (which kids pick up easily at that age) but also at their writing. There was writing on display that looked like something a first for second grader would write in America, and these kids were not just pre-schoolers but also writing in a second language.

I think my interview went pretty well, but I won't hear an answer until next week. Something sort of funny happened, though. The woman interviewing me said that Daniel could wait in the school lobby (it was cold and rainy and no coffee shops close by), so he was sitting out there reading Japanese stuff the whole time while I played with the kids and such. A couple of times I looked through the window and saw some guy talking to him... I assumed it was one of the fathers or something. Much later, after my interview, the lady interviewing me introduced me to "her boss," who I guess is the owner... and it was the same guy. He talked to me and Daniel for a while and seemed very impressed with him. The boss started telling my interviewer about him, saying stuff like "This guy's been to 18 countries in Europe!" He suggested that we open our own school and such, which I guess is a good sign for me... if the owner thinks we're that cool, then I guess he'd probably like me to work at his school. Anyway, after we left, I said something to Daniel like "well, nice job impressing my possible future boss" and he was all, "huh?" He'd had NO IDEA, even the second time, when we were all talking together, that this guy was the owner of the school. So, blah blah blah everyone thinks Daniel is awesome etc.

Anyway, I won't know about that for a while but I have another interview on Saturday for a part-time position. I'm not sure how that could work out... if I get the preschool job, I might be able to fit the part-time gig into my schedule for extra money and experience, but if I *don't* get the preschool job, I'm not sure the part-time people will take me without a work visa. So we'll see.

Other than that... not much has been happening. It rains a lot here, which I suppose is a seasonal thing. We went out to eat with some people from the church last week, and had Japanese/Korean-style food, which was pretty good. The only thing that was a bit strange to me was the sauce. It was a fried pork chop, covered in a sweet sauce that had an oddly familiar taste. It was red and sort of looked like enchilada sauce, so I supposed it was tomato-based. At first it didn't bother me much, but after eating most of it I found that the sweetness was getting stranger and stranger to me until I just couldn't finish it. I finally figured out what the oddly familiar taste was... it was apple. The sauce was a tomato-apple purée. It was good a first, but just too sweet after a while. Daniel happily ate the rest of my portion, and I focused on the sprout salad and miso soup, which were delicious. Afterward, we went to the Vacuous Coffee Shop, which was enjoyable as ever. The waiter remembered us and we tried a new dessert... chocolate cake with fruit. It was good, but not as goo as the strawberry parfait we had the first time, so I think we'll stick with that in the future.

Things are still a little up in the air for now, but I have more faith that we'll eventually end up on solid ground. じゃ、また!

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