October is the season of the temperature and daylight change. It generally becomes a little cooler and darker, but it’s still warm. Like no coat warm but cooler than summer. The humidity drops and it feels comfortable. It’s also the time of year most busy for the ALT’s and school since all the school events are over and the students go back to studying and I go back to teaching. This year, every weekend I was off island, making up for not leaving during the summer. The first weekend we all went to Busan South Korea! I had never planning to see South Korea on my own but since such a large group of friends were going I figured it was a good opportunity to do something unexpected! 4 Iki JETs went by Jetfoil from Fukuoka to South Korea called Kobee. Two of us went on Friday and two went on Saturday because we had work. Then we got on a bus. We also met up with 3 Tsushima JETs and rented a room and it was a blast and cheap!
In Korea, we ate a lot of Korean food like ramen kimchi and street food, Korean spicy chicken and live octopus at the fish market! OMG I never thought I’d eat live octopus but I did and it was so weird but delicious with the suckers sticking to your lips. It was cut into pieces so they still moved when you ate it. They used a sauce to glaze it, I think it was sesame sauce or a vinegar.
We also went to a Korean style onsen spa and ate boiled eggs (because everyone else was…) and we got the Korean specialty – grandma scrub! This is a special thing they do in Korea where they rub you raw with an exfoliating scrub and cloth in black knickers! Haha, it was so strange but fun. I felt like a baby with new skin when I came out! My Korean friend back home asked if it hurt and I said no because it honestly didn’t! I had heard it would hurt a lot and I was a little scared, even she thought it would hurt. I don’t know if they went easy on us because we were foreigners or not, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be!
The following weekend was the weekend before our Monday Tuesday business trip for all ALTs in Nagasaki prefecture. So my friends and I went to Huis Ten Bosch on the Saturday and enjoyed the wonderful Dutch theme park (my third time going), bought some sausage and cheese, had German beer in a friggin huge glass and tried out some haunted houses and gotcha stations! It was really cool because we also went to an Italian style restaurant where they dress your pasta in a giant cheese wheel so it’s super cheesy! It was the best pasta ever!! EVER!! After the par,k,we headed to Nagasaki city and checked into our hostel. Turns out soo many ALT’s were checked in here this weekend it became a friends hot spot meetup! I believe all the Iki and Tsushima JET’s unknowingly all checked in at the same one. It was great.
I met a girl from Australia here too and we talked for hours about stories, philosophy, interesting movies and books!! It was really fun getting recommendations for some kinds of work I never thought of reading before but I thought would help my own writing in some way.
The next day we went to the onsen island. It was raining (all weekend and Monday and Tuesday…..). We were chilled to the bone so the onsen was the perfect place to be to prevent getting a cold! We had this crazy olive oil ice cream, sat in massage chairs and enjoyed the outside onsen baths in the rain! I’d love to go again if I get the chance. In the evening we met up with one of our ALT’s mom and had dinner at the amazing Indian curry place. The pumpkin curry was… Splenderful!! After this, my friend and I went to another onsen! Because we can lol, and we went to the mountaintop onsen. I go to enjoy the electrotherapy bath and the outdoor baths and salt scrub. We watched a game show similar to smarter than a 5th grader but all of elementary and junior high school in Japanese. It was really cool but difficult for me.
After, We spent 2 days going through workshops and discussing various ALTs situations in the annual Nagasaki ALT conference with our teachers and other JETs. It was really well organized and I loved the music lesson workshop. I really hope to include more music in my English classes.
Well, I’m not done yet with traveling! I went to Fukuoka the following weekend because I was heading to the Kyushu wide takeover of Kitakyushu’s Space World Theme Park, which is closing at the end of this year. There I met a Canadian ALT from Alberta! Cool! We hung out a lot and enjoyed the capybara cafe! Yes! They had capybaras and we could pet and feed them and drink unlimited coffee! We had delicious udon, enjoyed a few roller coasters, and the space museum. It rained too because there was a typhoon coming from the south. After Space world, a group of us went to an enkai in town and enjoyed an amazing feast and unlimited drinks! Then I took the bus back to Fukuoka (although I tried to sleep a very drunk Japanese man sat across from me and insisted on attempting a conversation in English with me. Although hilarious, when I’m tired I’m not usually game for trying to entertain the locals in some practice lol, he eventually left before my stop so I got a few winks).
The following morning I was supposed to catch the Jetfoil back to Iki, but Typhoon hit Fukuoka and all the boats were canceled. I waited and waited and had already checked out of my hostel so I had nowhere to sleep. That’s all I really wanted was sleep. So I asked the port to recommend a hotel, I couldn’t check in till 3 so I waited at the onsen a bit, left my bags, went shopping in Hakata station and ate a super early dinner. Then I checked in and just lazed in the bed getting much-needed rest. I think I went to bed at 7 and woke up at 8. I got over 12 hours of solid comfortable sleep. Heaven. I had ended up writing a parody version of Hello by Adelle, about the typhoon canceling my boats and how I just wanted to get to Iki. It is hilarious. Turns out many of my fellow teachers got stranded because of school trips off island and the other ALT’s also abroad that weekend were stuck so we all returned on the same ferry on Monday afternoon.
Well, we’re almost through October. The next weekend I had Bunkasai at Shogyou, my main school! They always put on the best concerts and now, thanks to the typhoon, I owned a camera!! So I recorded some videos and took awesome photos of the concerts! Unfortunately, because I was at the other school on Friday, I didn’t get any lunch tickets so I had no lunch. I eventually found a booth that would take cash and by then I was near starved. Not impressed with the school’s memory of my presence. But me being the lifeguard I am, eventually found food (were part seagull, I swear). I ended getting a cold this weekend because I was out so much and I had 2 enkais with lots of drinking these 2 days and so Sunday to Wednesday after this was awful! I did get to go to the onsen for discount and the Yunamoto matsuri for a bit but I left early because of my cold. The yakitori was amazing and melt in your mouth. I met a few teachers there too, it was cool.
The last thing I did was Halloween! I helped the Iki English club on Halloween by leading a group of 20 kids and their parents around the town of Gounoura to the shops for trick or treating! It was a blast and at the end, we got these great group photos! The kids were all dressed up in costumes and they looked great and cute! Even the babies! After trick or treating the ALT’s went to a Halloween party that a friend of ours hosted near to my house. It was so fun and we ate great food and played Halloween games!
With October over I’m am a bit closer to getting a weekend to myself at home. I want to be a turtle for a while lol. On other good news, my shodou lessons are improving! I’m not a 4-kyu level!! It starts at 10 kyu, goes up to 1 and then goes from 1-dan to 8 dan. After that, you can go to Tokyo to take a shodou test and become a master teacher of Shodou!! Sweet life goals lol!!
See you next month!
Remember, videos and pictures can be viewed on my facebook page! Please take a look when you have the chance!
Cheers until the end of November!