[Where are they now?] Mitch writes from Japan

Former SE teacher Mitchell Burbick moved to Japan after teaching with Super English, like Amy.  Here’s his perspective, one year later:

After Thailand I moved to the middle of Japan. I’ve been living at altitude, in this little valley between the two huge, country-splitting mountain chains all year. It’s been wild. Living in Japan after Thailand made me feel like the King of France. After a year and a half of trash bucket showers, cockroach invasions, mold growing on absolutely everything, living in a new apartment in a modern and developed country was like moving back to America, only the Asian version. It’s been great, but lacks some of the wild west adventure feeling you get in Thailand. I drive a car here, not a piece of shit about to kick it Hello Kitty motorbike. The trains are quick and on time, no pulling into Bangkok 7 hours late after a night train failed to show up at Phun Phin until 3AM in the morning.

But with the development and comfort of living comes a pretty expensive price tag. There are no night markets to peruse, no rice kitchens with nice ladies who smile really big around the corner. There are no filthy street dogs to love, no stray cats to take babies from, no island adventures on the weekend. The price of living here is extravagant, and I live in the country. Alcohol by far is my single largest expense apart from actual rent, and that’s not cheap either. The money made here is good, and saving is much more of a reality than it is in Thailand, but only through budgeting, staying local most weekends, cooking at home pretty much all the time, can it be realized.

I’ve loved Japan as I loved my time in Thailand. The two experiences have been about as drastically different as they could be however, in almost every aspect. It’s been really good to see two different paths in the spectrum of teaching ESL, to be able to know a different life, a different country, doing the same thing. I’ve asked myself if one has been better than the other constantly, but it’s a question I’m unable to answer. Both are what they are, were, have been. And what is life if not for seeing all the strange things you can get yourself into?

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[Where are they now?] Amy writes from Japan — by Brittany

As it’s the end of the school year, I thought it’d be nice to hear from former SE teachers to find out where they are now and how their lives have changed (or not) since moving from Thailand to presumably colder regions of the world.  Here’s what Amy McIntyre had to say:

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After Surat Thani I moved to Japan.  It is COMPLETELY different!   It was a real shock to the system coming here, it made me realize even  more how good I had it in Thailand.  They are workaholics here and the amount of hours was difficult at the beginning.  I am near the end of my contract now, after a few months I have settled in nicely.  I do love my kids and my job, I feel rather sad to say good bye to Japan, however this experience has been completely different from Thailand!

I loved, loved working for Super English, I loved the weather and the amount of time I had off to be able to travel, I loved being so close to the beach, I loved owning a motor bike, I loved having a great social life, there was always a party some where.  Peter was an amazing boss and all the Super staff really helped me gain confidence in the class room.  Not that I had many problems but if I did there was always some one to help me out!  I LOVE the school i work for now, but my company does suck a little!  There are many things I love about Japan, the people, the culture, the food, my kids, my friends, my apartment.

The biggest thing I dislike is it get really cold in the winter in Japan.  Like I said the hours are pretty crazy, which doesn’t give me much of a social life, and although I am making more money, I don’t get much time off to travel, and when I do Japan is ridiculously expensive to go any where.  As I said at the begining it took me a few months to settle here, and a long time to meet other English speaking people, whereas in Thailand I’d say I felt right at home after a day.  Completely different experiences, both amazing!  I will be moving to America shortly.   I am feeling  nervous to move back to a western country, and sadly I will not be teaching, I have no clue what I’ll be doing which makes it more of an adventure.  I am getting married which is extremely exciting though!  And I definitely will be back in Asia in a few years to come!

My advice for anyone leaving – get as many massages as you can, eat every thing you possibly can and soak it up at the beach!  Be thankful you had the opportunity and be excited for the next adventure!