Sunday, 5 May 2013

Japan: Week 8, Part I

8 - Family in Nagoya and Kyoto

This week I realised that I had been somewhat blind to the delights and intrigues available almost on my doorstep. Going to Kyoto, planning trips to Osaka, getting excited about visiting Tokyo with my family, and I had somewhat neglected to explore Nagoya itself, the city in who's outskirts I currently reside. In my defence, it is quite a trek; the journey from my front door to Nagoya station takes an hour. However, it is a relatively cheap journey, and I'm glad that exploring the city earlier in the week has caused me to see that I should spend every available moment there until I have exhausted its finite but grand number of attractions.

Unfortunately we can't all take time off school whenever we feel like it (Don't worry Claire, I'm joking :D) so I had to go to lessons on Monday. But on Tuesday I finish quite early, so I went and had a terrific time in Nagoya with Claire and mum.

Claire, being protected from evil spirits by a lion

We visited the large and impressive Osu Kannon Temple, which has been moved three times since its being built in 1324, because first an emperor, then a feudal Lord, just decided they wanted to.

We then walked back through the city to the station area, where some impressive architecture is located. The asymmetric towers of the station itself, the spiral Gakuen Tower, and Midland Square, Japan's fifth largest skyscraper.

Gakuen Tower
We climbed it, of course (or rather, took the very fancy elevator on the outside of the building) and admired the night view of Nagoya from the 46th floor, including Nagoya Castle, tennis on roof-tops, and thousands of lights as far as the eye could see.

Before heading back to I-House, I was treated to pizza and plenty of catch-up news.

Wednesday was my first teaching to a real class, ever. I was nervous beforehand but it went well considering how terribly it could have gone. I was teaching a group of incredibly receptive first years a listening class about clothes, and the response I got from them at times left me buzzing for hours afterwards. The
teacher observing us confirmed what we'd experienced; once we got over the nerves we were flying, and he thought we'd all improve to a really high standard by the end of the term. From now on we'll be teaching once a week, with the next being tomorrow, teaching a reading class 'Dracula'!

Thursday was the resuming of Golden Week for the Japanese, and the weather obliged by being gorgeous so that my family and I could have enjoy a splendid day for admiring Nagoya Castle.

A replica of one of the mythical dolphins adorning the roof of the Castle
I was glad of my tour of a few weeks prior; I felt like quite the tour guide pointing out aspects of interest around the site. We had enough time to go back and see I-House and my room, and in the true style of students of I-House, went for dinner at the sushi restaurant directly opposite, Hamazushi. From what I could tell from the pile of plates at the end (incomparable though, to the amount Japanese people are able to ingest) Mum and Claire enjoyed their first experience of genuine Japanese conveyor belt sushi.

On Friday we caught the shinkansen to Kyoto, and details of the weekend will be posted in Part II! The reason being, this post's already fairly substantial, I've had an exhausting (though excellent) few days, and I have to teach in the morning! (An insight into the future...?)

Check back for the stories from Kyoto later in the week. Spoiler alert: We did everything and it was great.


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