Saturday, August 05, 2006
Returners and Newcomers
It's been a busy busy few weeks here -- when isn't it?
The last little bit has been mostly taken up by the production of the Annual Newcomers Manual -- a (hopefully) helpful guide to life in Hokkaido that HAJET distributes to all new JETs. As the HAJET Publisher, I got to edit and solicit contributions (and ended up making a few myself) to the guide. Last year they were handed out to new JETs as they arrived. Literally -- off the plane, pick up your stuff, go to meet your new supervisor and get assaulted by HAJET members looking to give you more crap to add to the pile. And hopefully make you feel like joining HAJET... It's very Jehovah's Witness. Last year's manual wasn't very good so I decided to do a real overhaul. I think it turned out pretty well, although a lot of articles could still use an update. I did what I could (and learned that getting other people to help you can be a real pain in the ass).
Sunday I was *supposed* to be finishing the Manual so I could print it on Monday, but my computer was hijacked by Ms. Jeshi and her translator so they could finish writing the new Elementary teaching Manual that HAJET will be publishing. A worthy cause.
Monday night I pulled an all-nighter to finish the Newcomers Manual, put the finishing touches on it Tuesday morning; then printed, collated, folded and stapled 150 copies to hand out to the newcomers on Wednesday. Now my office REALLY thinks I'm nuts.
This week I've only been the the airport twice (the international airport is near Sapporo, roughly a three hour drive by expressway), and next week I will make another two visits. Last week was only one visit (picking up Canadian exchange students -- more on that next post). I think I will be sick of the airport for a while.
It's been both exciting and sad -- saying goodbye to good friends here has been tough, but I think it was harder at the summer meeting. There I said goodbye to a lot of people I will probably loose touch with. Everyone knows it, but nobody admits it. Saying goodbye to my close friends here is sad, but I know I will see them again, maybe just not as regularly as before. But when you consider that most of my non-Japanese friends here I see on maybe a monthly basis, it isn't that bad.
Seeing the newest crop of Hokkaido JETs get picked up by their offices was surprisingly fun -- and not just because I got a day off of "work" at the Board of Education office. Most of them looked like they were feeling a combination of JET overload (they throw a lot of information at you during orientations), jetlag, hangover and terror. But there were some people who were really genki from the get-go. It brought back a lot of memories for me and the other people who were there as HAJET greeters.
A few weeks from now we'll see what the new JETs are really made of. Because I am on the HAJET PC, I have conviced my office (with the help of a fabulous letter from our VP, and the fact that my office knows I do actual work for HAJET) that I need to go to Sapporo to help with Orientation. Yay! Three days in Sapporo!
I'll have another few days in Sapporo this week as well. I'm seeing a friend off on Tuesday, and Wednesday I'll be greeting new JETs, so I decided to take Monday off as well. Yay for summer vacation. and I think my office is under the impression that it is ALL for HAJET business, so I don't have to take real vacation days.
Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on the blog in the next few weeks, as things should be a bit less hectic. No big deadlines looming...
Until then, enjoy the summer weather. I hear it's already autumn in Wakkanai...