The Long Flight and my Weekend in Osaka

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For those of you not on Facebook, sorry for keeping you in the dark and I hope I didn’t have you worried, but as the title indicates, I made it safely to Osaka, Japan!

My excitement — and my experiment to combat jet lag — meant that I stayed awake the entire 12-hour flight to Seoul, watching 3.5 movies, 8 tv shows, enjoying 2 meals and one complimentary mini-bottle of red wine. The stop-over in Seoul was pretty routine, but it did serve its purpose in reminding me that I am now the visible minority again. Luckily, with two years experience of feeling that way, it didn’t take very long for me to not really notice. Especially when I got to the waiting area for my flight to Japan and the foreign, yet familiar Japanese language (ie, more familiar than Korean) surrounded me.

As soon as I touched down, I had my first chance at Immigration & Customs to see how rusty my own Japanese had truly become. At Immigration, I understood all of his questions, but bumbled a bit with my replies. By customs, however, I had a full conversation with the officer! Very basic stuff, but still, I was pumped! Even more exciting was that I was able to make it to my friend’s apartment without using my iPhone! This may sound ridiculous to some, but for those of you like me, who have lived in a foreign country with an iPhone, sometimes you fear the thought of how you would do anything in that country without it! After taking the bus, train and short walk to get to my friend’s place, all without the power of 3G, I am no longer afraid (and you shouldn’t be either)!

As for the actual weekend I have spent in Osaka… it was incredible.

For such a short time, I was so happy to have fit in as much as I did. These awesome Osaka highlights included:

  • Okonomiyaki & Purikura with Nanase & her brother, JunkiImageImage
  • Izakaya & Karaoke with Neil, Yuzu & HiroumiImage
  • Spending time with Seigo, his family, and his friends (including another awesome round of karaoke!!)Image
  • Finally, a lovely little MASSIE reunion!Image

And then today I was able to repack all of my stuff, enjoy a bit of the sunshine and am about to go out for one final meal in Osaka before catching an overnight bus to Kanto!

Thanks for an awesome time, Osaka. And see you tomorrow, Gunma!!

See ya in 5 months, Canada!

This is it! I’ve left Victoria and am just waiting to board at YVR. It still hasn’t fully hit me that I’m leaving for 5 months and am about to begin my crazy adventure (yet again). But I am. Maybe it will hit me when I reach my stopover of Seoul and things start looking and sounding a little less Canadian.

Ok, time to actually board now. One last swig of Tim Horton’s (yes, the ex-pat tacky tradition) and here I go!

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What’s a “Peace Boat”?!

So, yes, what is this “Peace Boat” that I keep referring to? 

Well, for my fellow mid-20s Canadian friends out there, I have been describing Peace Boat as Japan’s version of Breaker High. However, instead of dealing with dating drama, tanning and schoolwork, Peace Boat focuses on promoting peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment through a variety of lectures (think TED talks) and workshops. And instead of a boat filled with only high school students, Peace Boat’s age bracket ranges from 18 to 80. What Peace Boat does have in common with Breaker High is that Peace Boat is a cruise ship that circumferences the world over 103 days, stopping in 21 different countries!

So what am I doing on there?

As mentioned, Peace Boat is a Japanese organization (departing from and returning to Yokohama, Japan), therefore, most of its participants are Japanese. While on board Peace Boat, they have the opportunity to learn either English or Spanish as a second language, and that is where I come in! I will be joining a team of 10 other language teachers and we will be teaching two classes almost everyday that we are on-board, while also running extra English events, cultural workshops and giving some “TED” talks, too!

How did you snag that sweet position??

With a lot of work and determination!

I have actually been eyeing the goal of becoming a GET (Global English Teacher) ever since 2009, in my last year of university, when a roommate of mine had told me about the organization. When I learned what it was all about, I knew that I this was my dream job* (well, volunteer position, with the perk of traveling around the world for gratuit!)! During the past four years, I have traveled to over 20 different countries, been a part of international events, such as the Vancouver Olympics, volunteered at an incredible immigration centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, got a TEFL certificate in Italy and taught English in Japan for two years. These are all things that I would have done anyway (because anything to do with learning about this great big world is where my passion truly lies), these experiences obviously helped out when applying for this position, because it requires parts of all of those things!

So, I hope that gives you a bit of a better idea of what Peace Boat is all about. However, if you would like to learn more, feel free to explore its website (in English):  peaceboat.org/english/

I think it’s a pretty great organization, so I am SUPER excited to be a part of its 79th Voyage!! The only downfall, where it really differs from Breaker High… Ryan Gosling won’t be there!!

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Let’s start this thing!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my first post!!

Although I have yet to begin my world exploring with Peace Boat, I have already given out a few of my “business” cards (more like a self-introduction card) and therefore, have already received 18 views! Hopefully, those of you who have visited have read the “About” section, but I’d like to give you a bit more, so today, you will get that little bit more.

To begin, I would like to give everyone a head’s up that I am a bit of a “newb” at all of this. If you do not know what a “newb” is, I will tell you, because I, too, have just learned that I am a “newb” and not a “n00b”. Please read this definition by Urban Dictionary to understand why:

Newbs are those who are new to some task and are very beginner at it, possibly a little overconfident about it, but they are willing to learn and fix their errors to move out of that stage. n00bs, on the other hand, know little and have no will to learn any more. They expect people to do the work for them and then expect to get praised about it, and make up a unique species of their own.

So I am a newb when it comes to blogging (for a blogging pro, visit my sister’s blog: thecompostcook.com it’s pretty incredible.) and evidently, something else… which can be seen on my intro card. Let’s see if you can spot the “newb” mistake.

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Pretty awesome card, right?! Yeah, that’s what I thought, too… until I saw my mistake.

Can you spot the error? If not, let me point it out to you:

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For those of you who saw it in the first photo, I give you “pro” Twitter status. For those who didn’t see it until I pointed it out, you fall into the “newb” category like me. And to those who do not even know what’s wrong, what should have been on my card was @claireekelly, not #claireekelly. This is because on Twitter, people are indicated by an @ mark, whereas hashtags (#) are used to indicate events, topics, experiences, THINGS.  So, for the record, I am not a thing, and I did not intend to be so boastful as to think myself an event or experience, despite what my newbie intro card indicates. 

Lesson learned. And hopefully this prevents any of you fellow inexperienced Twitter users make this same mistake.

Well, I hope that gave you a little tidbit of Claire & the World reading for today. I’ve just finished a delicious Americano at 2% Jazz and am now in search of dinner before diving into an evening of curriculum planning for Peace Boat. Woo! More about what Peace Boat is all about and how I found out about it in my next post.

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