Cherry Blossom · Day Trip · Japan · Osaka · Osaka Castle · Overseas · Photography · Teaching · Travelling

Weekend Cherry Blossoms.

It’s been another great week here in Osaka!

I have now completed my first full week of teaching. It’s strange to think that it has only been that long, as it feels as though I’ve been working at the school a lot longer than just a couple of weeks! I think it helps that I am only teaching between 8-10 students at any one time, and in one of my classes I even have a maximum of only two students! This means I feel as though I already know the children very well, and we have established a good relationship even only one week into the school year. I teach students from Grade 5 & 6 (UK Year 6 and 7), but I also do study hall duties across the Grade 1-6 Primary group, and I supervise the Grade 1s once a week at lunchtime. Next week I start teaching a yoga class after school, which I am really looking forward to!

Another thing that makes it seem as though I have worked here longer is that I feel I have developed good relationships with my colleagues across the school already. Basically each homeroom teacher is the Head of Year too, as they teach most of the subjects for that Grade. All the Primary classrooms are on one corridor, and most classes are made up of roughly 10 students. I really hope that my contract will be renewed at the end of this year, as I really enjoy working at this school, and if so I think I will ask if I can teach the Grade 1s or perhaps Grade 2s, as there is a kind of joy I get from interacting with students that age that I’ve never experienced before in my working life.

I was very happy that I was pretty much given free reign to decorate my classroom as I wanted to, as well as the content that I teach (providing it follows the appropriate UK National Curriculum levels). Here are some photos of my classroom and some of the work my students submitted that made me smile!

Last weekend was the height of cherry blossom season in Osaka, but Dillon and I were moving all weekend from our apartment in Nagahoribashi to our new home in Nipponbashi, near Namba and Kuromon Ichiba Market. We live literally around the corner from this tourist hotspot, but our street is quiet, peaceful, and full of stray cats wandering around. Despite being in the centre of the city, in an apartment big enough for two people with cooking, cleaning and decent storage facilities, we are paying around £425 a month for our new apartment. There are coin laundries everywhere, and lots of small parks where residents bring their dogs (it is very fashionable to dress up your dog and carry it around in a backpack or bicycle basket here!) We are a few minute’s walk away from a large supermarket, and we have been able to do our weekly food shop for the equivalent of around £30.

This week we have been busy getting some essentials for our new home. We visited IKEA again to get two lamps and an outdoor table and chairs (which was significantly less expensive than an indoor table and chairs), and we have also bought two folding sofa-type chairs for about £7 each. Sleeping on a futon is also going well, and I was very happy today to discover a Body Shop and Lush store in the Shinsaibashisuji shopping arcade, so my skin can now get some serious TLC.  In my next post I will share some photos of our new apartment and furniture, as I have now finally fulfilled a life goal and own a clothes rail! I would still like to get a flower vase and some candles, just to make things a bit more homely and peaceful, but otherwise we are both very happy with how our apartment is looking.

This morning we went back to Osaka Castle and Gardens to see the remaining cherry blossoms. Luckily it was less busy than it would have been last weekend, and there were still lots left to see. People were having picnics under the trees in the traditional hanami style, and Dillon and I tried cherry-blossom flavour icecream by the castle. The weather this week has been changeable to say the least: blue skies, then cloudy; blazing sunshine then pouring rain; from hot to cold as soon as the sunlight fades away – yesterday during park time at school it was close to 30 degrees, and today the temperature was in the mid-20s. I am very grateful for the consistently warm, sunny mornings when I walk to work without needing to be wrapped up and shivering against the cold!

Enjoy our photos from today!

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