Thank you. Merci beaucoup. ありがとう。


In English: I feel complete.
I know. I know! I haven’t posted something for a long time (I don’t count my Glee audition). Anyway, I’ve been traveling more, which goes right into my focus this year of travel. In February, I went to Hokkaido, the northern prefecture and one of the four major islands of Japan. It was for the Snow Festival (雪まつり – “yuki matsuri”). I’ll post some of the pictures here. I went in mid-March to a resort by the edge of the Atsumi peninsula, which is one of the two peninsulas in my prefecture. It was a weekend event in cooperation with the JET community of my prefecture. It was a great time full of eating, talking, getting to know more about each other and new faces, and seeing a part of my prefecture (Aichi) that I haven’t been to before the trip. At the end of March, I visited home. The main purpose was to bring as much stuff back with me so that I don’t have to ship anything home before I leave Japan in August. The last of my trips was just a few days ago. I went to Izu’s Shimoda. Izu (伊豆) is a peninsula known for really good hot springs (温泉 – “onsen”). Although I’m not fond of the whole getting naked in order to bond with fellow humans of the extra appendage, the hot spring was what I needed—a relaxing vacation. The city my friends and I went to (Shimoda) is also known for one of the ports open to trade with America as according to a part of the Convention of Kanagawa through Commodore Perry. Check out some pictures in this post!

Okay, so now with that out of the way, you might be wondering what any of it has to do with me feeling complete. In fact, everything I mentioned is not what has satisfied me with my time in Japan. Of course it’s great that I have been able to do things that I set out to do when I first came, but my feeling of completion comes from the fact that the grade that entered my school when I first came to Japan graduated on March 1st. I love all my students (more or less), but these students had a special place in my heart. They were always willing to communicate with me, and they usually tried their hardest. I’m sure a good number of them will be great examples and pioneers in whatever they decide to do. They thought outside of the box, and I was usually impressed with how they brought out different perspectives of any topic. One example showing how motivated they were is when some of them talked to me for three to four hours! They were so surprised they could do it. They didn’t inhibit themselves. Every time I talked with them or taught them, I was pleased. Okay, that’s a lie. Maybe it’s not every time, but I’d say most of the time.

I have some students now who are motivated, even some of the new students. It makes me sad to know that I can’t continue to teach them, but unfortunately there has to be a time to stop and this is that time. My heart is aching to return to the dramatic arts. As much as I love my students, I wish I didn’t have to continue teaching them for a third of their school year. It feels a little awkward to start the year only to leave in the middle.

Despite some of cons of the JET Program, I think it has been worth it. I will write more of an assessment and reflection in a few months, but I think it’s a no-brainer that the program is one of the best out there to experience Japan and give something to the community. Perhaps I am in one of the more special positions in which I have a decent amount of responsibilities in the school. I suppose I do have some impact on my students as an educator and not as the “special foreign guest.” Once in a while, I still question the necessity of my job in the school, but I try not to think too much about it.

Don’t get the wrong idea though. I don’t hate Japan nor do I dislike it. There are things I like and think work better here, and there are those things that I wonder about—sometimes even to the point of great dislike. It’s the same as with the states. So the JET Program actually allows people to apply again after some number of years, and I was telling some people the other day that I would apply again if the timing is right in my life. Hopefully I will have improved on my Japanese even more so that some things would be less stressful, if I ever live in Japan for an extended period of time again. As for now, this chapter in my life (I should shoot myself for using a cliché) is coming to an end soon. It’s time to prepare for leaving this land of the rising sun and subtleties.

En français: Je suis content avec mes amis du Japon.
Pendant mon temps en Japon, je faissais la connaissance des personnes. J’aime dire au nouveau ami que s’il devient mon ami, il ne pourrait pas échapper à moi. Mes amis, que j’avais fait la connaissance en Japon, devenaient très bons amis. Je sais que je continuerai les contacter après le Japon.

日本語で: 僕は俳優だよ!そういうことが知っている?
大学の時に専攻は演劇だった。日本へ来る前には「ROAD TO PECUMSECAH」という映画で演じた。演劇についての知っている。本当の仕事は俳優です。それから、8月にはアメリカに帰る。アナタは「ジャスティン!何で俳優になりたいの?」と聞きたいかも~。別の人になるコトが楽しみするんです。大好きだよ。じゃあ、8月からオーディションをやるつもり。頑張ります!僕の家は車でニューヨークから20分ごろです。俳優のために便利ねぇ~

今週の聖書の詩: “‘Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,’ Jesus told him, ‘you will never believe.’”
- John 4:48 (NIV)

How many times have I heard, “When I see it, I’ll believe it”? I feel that faith is something that cannot be fully explained. No matter how much explanation someone gives, the full meaning can’t be conveyed. It’s more than just a feeling or belief. I wish everyone can accept Jesus.

今週の写真: First batch – Pictures from Hokkaido; Second batch – Pictures from Shimoda (Shizuoka’s Izu peninsula)



In English: Laziness has hit me. burrrr… Also, it’s final!
The cold (though not as bad as New Jersey, USA) and the lack of insulation is making me lazy. Let me explain. I’m usually just sitting under my kotatsu, a table with a heating unit covered by a blanket to trap in the heat. Of course with the heat, I get tired more easily and I am incredibly lazy. There are even times I fall asleep while I’m under my kotatsu. After a few hours, I find myself waking up to sweaty hot legs.

When I’m not in my living room where the kotatsu is, I am mostly in my bed with my four blankets. Yes, four! It keeps me comfortably warm through the night, which doesn’t help me in the morning when I need to get out of bed to a wonderful indoor temperature of 3ºC (about 37ºF). You read correctly… it's the temperature inside! The other day it was so cold that when I was taking a shower, the steam built up so much that I couldn’t even see my shampoo. I was reaching around and I ended up knocking it down. Luckily, I hadn’t uncapped it yet. Generally, it’s not so bad getting out of the shower at first, but I find that if I don’t dress in a maximum of 5 minutes, the fast hands of the cold start to hug me. I assure you that this is not a hug anyone would want unless it was in a blazing summer.

In other news, it’s done. Today was the monthly JET Program AET (Assistant English Teacher) meeting in my prefecture of love and knowledge (愛知県 – characters are “love,” “knowledge,” and “prefecture”). As usual, the February meeting is when each Aichi AET submits his or her decision to re-contract. It was certainly not tough to decide this year as there hasn’t been anything too severe happening in the states nor has there been anything that compels me to stay in Japan. So yes, I will be going back to the US for good in late July or some time in August. As of now, I’m thinking about leaving Japan in the middle of August after the summer Comic Market convention in Tokyo.

Looking at my blog posting trend this year, I will probably only post a few more times before I’m back in the US. I’m amazed how fast the years in Japan have gone by, but overall, the pacing has been good. There are a lot of things that have entered my life since I graduated from university. I’m ready to go back fully charged to deal with the frightening unknown of the acting and drama world. I hope the states are ready for my return!

En français: Je suis allé à un concert de Green Day.
Il était super! Green Day est ma bande favorite. J’étais très content que je pouvais aller au concert. Est-ce que vous sachez que j’ai acheté un ticket d’un élève? C’est vrai! Il est un élève dans un autre lycée. J’ai fait la connaissance de lui une année dernière à un BBQ. Il aime Green Day aussi, et dans septembre, il a contacté moi au sujet du concert. Il a acheté deux paires.

Il est allé avec son frère et je suis allé avec une amie. C’était le mieux quand Green Day a chanté «Basket Case». Après le concert, j’ai acheté un t-shirt, une serviette, et un porte-clés. Je veux aller à un autre concert dans le futur.

日本語で: 英語を教えていることは一番大切と思う。
だから、最近日本語を勉強してない。日本に来て始めたときは日本語を勉強するべきと思った。この国で住んでいるから、日本語はきっと大切です。実は日本語を少しわかる。日本語を喋るときにとても遅く話す。世界の中で英語をしゃべることは要る。そして、生徒は英語をもっと喋ってみているの方がいいねぇ~ 生徒と日本語ではダメです。僕は生徒達のチャンスだねぇ。外国人と英語を喋れる。

今週の聖書の詩: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
- 2 Peter 1:3-7 (NIV)

My sister asked me recently how I can be so calm when I think about my future. Of course I am trying to be proactive and I am not just lazily sitting around in terms of handling the future, but ultimately, I am going with what God opens for me. I understand there will be times of difficulty, and there will even be some difficulties to the point that I would think it impossible to get out of them. However, I put my faith in the Lord. I believe He will lead me in a manner that is best for me.

今週の写真: I went to Hong Kong with my family in the end of December for about ten days. I met them at the HK airport. It was great! Instead of typing at great length, I’ll let the pictures speak for our time there, but you can check the file names for more information on the pictures.