I've just recovered from being Internetless for the last three days. Normally, that kind of thing would be pretty much fatal for someone like me, but I managed to survive because I was at Yufuin.
What is Yufuin? Well, it's a very pretty tourist town in the Oita mountains.
|Yes, that's my finger in the picture. I'm a brilliant camerawoman.|
But I mean something a little different. As it turns out, being a prefectural ALT (hired by the prefecture rather than a city or school) has its perks. One of these is getting to skip the sitting at your desk / doing nothing for three days while you go to work at the Yufuin English Summer Seminar for High School Students. This is pretty much what it sounds like: a three-day intensive English summer camp for high schoolers, mainly first- and second-year students.
|Faces may have been changed to protect the innocent.|
Working there is hard work, but a hell of a lot more fun than anything I'd be doing at school at the same time.
There are two kinds of ALTs working at the seminar: group leaders and instructors. Because it's my first year, I was a group leader, which was basically being a counselor/den mother to ten girls and one boy.
|They gave me this at the end. "Love Samurai" was the team name I gave them. Heartfelt sob!|
Older ALTs are more typically instructors—they run “classes” (which included a Jeopardy-style quiz show and a lesson on how to dance to Poker Face), but also are in charge of the camp theme. This year, it was Casino Murder Mystery, so all the instructors got to put on a show, and then interact with the students as their characters to help them SOLVE THE CASE DUN DUN DUN.
Now if you know me, you know this already, and if you don't, you will soon: I love cheesy stuff like this. My big goal for Beppu right now is going to Hit Parade, the 50's style bar where everyone dresses like greasers. If I could afford to live my life in costume, I probably would. Needless to say, I now have an extra incentive to stay on JET next year. Getting paid to dress up and talk to people as a hilarious character? If I liked kids more, I'd probably be working at Disney right now. So yes, please.
The schedule is pretty much packed right from 6:30 AM to midnight, but I still had a blast. And I say that as someone who values her sleep. Yes, there were some frustrating moments—having eleven teenagers stare blankly at me while I spent five minutes trying to explain the word “purse” stands out in my mind—but I genuinely feel like it was worth it in the end.
Seriously. Look at that board they gave me. How freaking cute is that?
Plus, it's a great way to get to know your fellow ALTs!
Anyway, now that that's over, I'm back at school, and I have another mystery to solve: there are like sixty desks in the teacher's room and I only bought a 24-pack of omiyage*! DUN DUN DUN. What will our intrepid heroine do? Tune in next time to find out!
*(For the non-initiate or non-Japanophile: omiyage means, essentially, souvenir, and is a treat you bring back for your colleagues after going on a trip somewhere, usually some regional specialty cookie or something like that. For the future JET: technically, this is the correct definition of omiyage, not “bring stuff from home to get in good with your teachers.” But you can do that too, if you want. I still haven't given mine out and now I feel like an idiot, so if you do bring stuff, pick your time better than I did.)