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The First Post

March 12, 2012


There’s always a lot of pressure to come up with a witty and engaging first post in a blog in order to keep the readers interested in reading said blog. This most likely won’t be one of those posts, since I’m the kind of person who tends to ramble on about nothing.

If you know me personally, you don’t really need this introduction, but for those of you who happen to stumble across this blog, you just might. My name is Carolyn, and I am from Menomonie, Wisconsin, a city with around 15,000 people. I graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Asian Studies (with a disciplinary base in Sociology/Anthropology) and I am moving to Japan in six days to begin an English teaching position through Interac Co., Ltd, which is the leading private provider of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in Japan. The title of this blog, “Godzilla Hotdish” comes from the fact that I’m from the Midwest (and I love tater tot hotdish — if you don’t know what that is, click here) and I’m going to be living in Japan for a good long while (birthplace of the famed Godzilla). It was created to try and indicate the type of meshing of cultures I will be doing as I live in Japan. So, if you look at the banner at the top of the page, the Japanese characters in front of Godzilla say “Gojira,” which is his original name, and the characters in front of the picture of tater tot hot dish literally mean, “hot baking pan.” I’d like to take this moment to give a special shout out to my friend John Fischer, who designed the banner for this blog.

Continuing on, I will be living and working at 2-4 junior high schools in Joso City, Ibaraki Prefecture, which is north and east of Tokyo.

The map I posted above should be interactive, so you can get an idea of where I’ll be in Japan. Anyway, I’ve tried doing a bit of research on the city I’ll be living in, and I’ve discovered the city’s website here . Of course, you need to be able to read Japanese to understand it. Though I’m at the intermediate level, I still need a dictionary to get through a good portion of this site. However, I did learn that the current population is 64,384 people (so, a similar size to Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s population), is native habitat for the Japanese nightingale, and there’s a cherry blossom festival happening in April.

Now that you know a bit about me and my situation, we can focus on an important detail of this post: I fly to Japan in six days. I fly from Chicago to Japan on Sunday (the 18th) and will be arriving at Narita Airport at 4:30 PM on the 19th. SIX DAYS, people. I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off the past few days in order to get my various appointments and affairs in order before I take off. What’s taking up the most space on my mind right now is the fact that I haven’t done any test packing yet! I can’t completely pack until I have all of my work pants hemmed — not because I’m short or anything like that, but because in Japanese schools everyone, from the students to teachers, has to wear non-marking indoor shoes. This means footwear such as high heels are out of the question. Thank goodness! I don’t like wearing them anyway. However, now I have to get my work pants hemmed so they’re at a good length for wearing flats.

Anyway, getting off topic. Packing. Earlier this week I stuck everything I wanted to pack in piles next to my suitcase and then stood back to survey my work. The result? Yes, I am hoping to bring way too much stuff and there is no way that will all fit into my suitcase. The notorious over-packer in me strikes again. Now it’s time to weed things out. However, there are some things that absolutely must come with me, the absolute first being this:

That’s right. A three-pound jar of peanut butter. In Japan, peanut butter is fairly expensive and comes in pretty small jars. When I studied abroad in Kyoto my junior year of college, I ended up bringing my own (regular sized) jar of peanut butter. Once that finished up, my family sent me another. Then around Christmastime one of my classmates brought me another jar of peanut butter back from his visit to the States and another classmate had her mom bring a jar in her luggage when she came to visit Kyoto. In the eight months I studied abroad, I went through four jars of peanut butter. Who knows how much peanut butter I’ll go through this time around? I’m not taking any chances. Nope.

Thanks for sticking through that rant about packing! I predict at least one more post before I take off for the Land of the Rising Sun. So, until then!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jane Humphrey permalink
    March 28, 2012 11:54 PM

    Is this the same Carolyn Cole who celebrated her 4th birthday at my house in Rhode Island with a Sesame Street cake? Do you remember?

    Good for you for the good you are doing.


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