When I first arrived on JET I luckily had a western bed in my apartment but the mattress was unbearably hard. I somehow managed to suffer through it for a year.
Last night my neighbor gave me the bright idea of putting a futon on top of the mattress and sleeping on it. She even lent me an extra futon to try it out. I feel like I’m sleeping on a fluffy cloud and I will never go back. I happily shelled out $150 for a memory foam futon… Happy early birthday to me.
This is exactly the same for me. I have an old spring mattress where you can feel the metal through the thin lining. I had trouble sleeping all through the spring and summer and finally decided to splurge on a good futon and it’s made all the difference. I don’t even know why I waited. I’ve always been a light sleeper so I just chalked it up to that and the heat. Futons can be as cheap at 2000 yen but the really good futons go upwards of 8000 yen. but It’s worth it to spend extra and sleep on something soft rather than a mattress that’s been used for years by other people…
My first year on JET was spent figuring out how to plan lessons and teach on my own. Now that I have experience hopefully this year will be slightly less stressful. Planning lessons and making materials for all grades at 4 different schools was overwhelming at first. it still kind of is but it doesn’t seem as impossible.
My 2nd year will be spent trying to take everything I learned and apply it to my teaching, make things go smoother in the classroom. I’ve also decided to apply to online grad school to get an MSc so I have a year to get the paperwork in order and to save up. Being on JET, you sometimes feel like you’re spinning your wheels and when things have felt kind of stagnant or discouraging at work, I’ve felt stuck and frustrated. Having a goal in mind keeps things in perspective and it’s given me something to work towards that’ll go beyond my time as an ALT.