Kobe Days

34.6911° N, 135.1973° E


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Good morning, Mother Nature

At 5.33am Japan time, JETs all over Kobe, many sleeping off the effects of enkais, were given a not very gentle wake-up call by Mother Nature.

スクリーンショット(2013-04-13 16.03.51)

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Awaji Island just south of Kobe, and it could be felt in Kobe at magnitude 3~4. I opened my eyes a few seconds before the shaking started, so I had the privilege of experiencing the whole thing from beginning to end.

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a stranger to tremors, having experienced a few small ones when I was in Kyoto, but those were at magnitude 2 max. This one was longer and more powerful. Doors rattled and a couple of bottles toppled over in the kitchen while I laid in my futon, wondering why it was taking so long to stop.

Once it had, I crawled out of bed and grabbed my phone to see messages from my fellow Singaporeans staying upstairs. After assuring ourselves that there were no major damages, I opened up Facebook.

brace-yourself-earthquake-posts-are-coming

Needless to say, pretty much everyone else had been shaken awake and had started posting on Facebook. It was nice having a community compare notes and provide information links, but one of my fellow JETs summed it up nicely by posting the above on our Facebook page.

After ascertaining that there were no more aftershocks (there was a small one a few minutes after), I sent a quick message to my family letting them know I was safe before disappearing back into lalaland. (3 hours of drinking at an enkai would do that to you.)

I woke up hours later to find an email from the Singapore embassy checking about my status. So, guys, always remember to e-register when you go overseas. You never know when something like this might happen, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.


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Only in Japan…

Today was moving day! Basically, there’s a tradition in Japanese schools. Teachers sit according to the grade they teach, so every April, when the new teachers arrive at their new school, the whole school turns up to move their tables. For example, the 3年生 teachers generally become 1年生 teachers and their tables are moved accordingly.

Some schools make it easier for the teachers by having them move just their drawers. Mine did the whole caboodle and had everyone do the great move-around. Tip: bad idea to wear black when moving tables in Japanese schools. Sand gets everywhere. ><

On another note, congrats to all the new Singaporean JETs who got their results! You guys got lucky this year, being the first country(?) to get confirmation. Maybe they're making up for us being one of the last last year. (=.= at remembering the stress from waiting…) Wish I had applied to be TOA, but I'm doing orientation in Kobe instead. I'm still happy to answer questions and give advice, so leave comments if you need someone to talk to 😀

(Btw, 2 of the applicants I gave SOP advice to made it in. Looks like I really can think about opening that JET application prep class! X3)