So, I’m finally back online after a fairly lengthy period of inactivity! You don’t need to leave me loads of comments at the bottom of the page telling me how much you’ve missed me (translation: please do).
As I wrote a good few months ago now, my plan was to leave Japan after two years in Tokyo and travel Italy a bit before starting a new job in the small town of Durango in the Basque Country. At the time of writing I’ve been in Durango for about two months or so, and here’s a quick round-up of that time so far!
There’s nowhere in the world quite like Tokyo, for better or for worse! That said, I don’t think I could have picked anywhere that provides more of a contrast if I tried.
Durango is a small town of less than 30,000 people. Told you it was different. Instead of seeing building after building and masses of crowds on the way to the shop, I see this.
As I said, quite the contrast.
There’s also the small matter of transport. In Tokyo I used to just rock up to the station without checking the train times, fairly confident that there’d be a train within 10 minutes at the most. That’s if I even needed to get the train anywhere – pretty much everything I needed was readily available on my doorstep.
Luckily Durango is pretty convenient. I can get most things I need without travelling, but if I want to pop into the city for a better choice, the buses to Bilbao come a few times an hour and the train only once! That does take some getting used to.
There’s also the small aspect of bumping into my students on a daily basis in the street, which calls for best behaviour at the weekends!
Throughout my time in Tokyo I spent a fair bit of time ground-hopping with my fellow football fans Neil and Glen. Being spoilt for choice when it came to which team and ground to visit meant that there was often a lot of variety in my weekend activities and destinations.
However here the local team – SCD Durango – play just a short walk from my apartment, which provides me with less motivation to get up and go elsewhere for my footy fix. Looking at the views from Tabira Stadium, you could say it’s not a bad thing.
The only downside is that despite Durango having a good start to the season, I’m yet to see them win! My three games so far have ended in two losses and a draw. It seems my J-League curse has followed me here.
Unlike in Tokyo, I now find myself teaching a lot more children than adults. It takes a little more work in terms of preparation and constantly being switched on (no checking the book two minutes before a lesson and winging it!), but so far, so good.
I see my students twice a week usually, so there’s much more opportunity to actually see progress unlike with the 40 minutes a week some of my old students used to study for! It’s a bit of a culture shock actually having to mark essays and tests instead of spending my time between lessons on Facebook, but it’s swings and roundabouts I guess!
The best of the rest
Umm…I best get doing some stuff worth writing about!