Happy Canada Day!

Given that sister cities promote international understanding and good will,  it seems appropriate  that my first blog posting on the Sidney Sister Cities Association website should be on Canada Day.

I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to represent Sidney as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT),  in Sidney’s sister city of Niimi Japan commencing in mid August. Except to say that I have just picked up my entry visa into Japan from the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver, thus completing the final step in a rather long process, I mention this only because I wanted to be certain that everything was resolved regarding the job before I posted anything at all. The past couple of weeks though, have been eventful. Our contact at the Niimi Board of Education, Ms. Naomi Sugi seems to anticipate whatever concerns I might have with regard to moving to Japan. When I laid awake one evening wondering how I’d get from the airport to Niimi, I awoke the following morning to find an itinerary and a note saying she would meet me at the airport. Similarly, no sooner had I given thought about my accommodations in Niimi when Ms. Sugi sent an email with photos of the apartment she had chosen for me. Apart from the fact that I have yet to rent my condo (uh-oh!), with every passing day it gets easier. The flight is arranged, my accommodations are also arranged and I look forward to the mid-August departure.

With regard to the blog I expect it will get easier as I become more accustomed to writing it.  I expect I will be writing about:

The process of teaching Japanese students English-speaking skills.

Acclimating and adjusting to living in an unfamiliar foreign culture. I’m hoping this will be casual and fun.

Keeping the Sidney Sister Cities Association informed about my progress. They have all been consistently supportive and I would be remiss if I did not thank them all. Thank you Bob, Lesley and Patricia in particular.

Should anyone have questions with regard to the Sidney Sister Cities Association or the ALT program, please do not hesitate to email.









13 thoughts on “Happy Canada Day!

  1. Hi Terry,

    Great start, and I look forward to many more such posts. Will you be able to include pictures in the blog? Think I know that answer but thought I would ask anyway!


  2. Great thought to post your blog on Canada Day
    Wishing you a safe journey to Niimi and a happy interesting future there.
    Looking forward to your blogs once you are settled.

    • Thanks Margaret! It’s nice to be able to reply at last. Now that I have the internet I’ll be checking in and posting on a regular basis. If the past three weeks are any indication I’m sure the next year happy, interesting and very gratifying. The people I’ve met have been unfailingly considerate and thoughtful.


  3. Hi Terry,
    My schedule and that of SSCA have rather clashed so I have been unable to attend to meet you. I wish you a good trip to Niimi and a productive start as an ALT in our sister city. Might see you there if I get a chance from Sapporo later this year.

    • Hi Gunter:
      Connected to the internet at last! Sorry to take so long getting back to you. Niimi is truly beautiful town and I was surprised to find no mention of it in my copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Japan. Maybe that’s just as well. The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and I’ve been having a great time. Let me know when you are coming to Sapporo; the train station is just across the river, not more than a ten minute walk from my apartment.


  4. Hi, Terry!
    Welcome to Niimi!
    I am very glad to see you and get to know you at the welcome party on August 29th.
    Do not hesitate to ask me if there is anything I can do to help your life in Niimi better and peaceful.
    You are welcome to Niimi English Salon too.
    I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Hi Kiyoshi sensei!

      Sorry it has taken so long to reply but I have just recently established an internet connection. At last I will now be able to check in and write posts on a regular basis. It was a great pleasure meeting you on August 29th and I am still overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the Niimi International Exchange Association. As I am assuming you are still in the United States, I’ll look forward to seeing you again at the Niimi English Salon on September 24th.


  5. Terry, Fun to hear about your adventures. Power Point well done, colorful and entertaining. Do you know the name of the student who was a visitor to Sidney last year? Would be interesting to hear about your meals.

    • Hi Joy:

      Great to hear from you. I know her to see her but there are about 300 students at Daiichi Junior High and I am not yet on a first name basis with them. I told her just two days ago I was writing a blog and, if she wished to say hello to anyone in Sidney, I’d be happy to pass on a message. If you know who her “host” family was, let me know and I will pass on the message.


    • Hi Joy:

      Two Niimi students visited Sidney last year, Fumika and Koichiro, both of whom are doing well at school and pass on their best wishes to their host families and people they met while here.
      The meals are great; even the school lunches. Lots of fish and rice of course. Crab meat is surprisingly inexpensive while fruit can be very expensive. Mackerel is often found in supermarkets and seems to be a more or less local specialty. Small restaurants are everywhere and many tend to serve regional cooking, Okayama style, yakkatori etc. Pretty much all pubs will serve complimentary snacks to patrons and they might include anything from grilled meat on skewers a salad, a bowl of dried and salted broad beans, or even a creme caramel. Who knew that curry was so popular in Japan? It is commonly served and packaged curries occupy a great deal of supermarket shelf space. I have not eaten a potato since I’ve arrived and do not miss them at all. Oh yes, udon and ramen noodles are popular.

      Cheers Joy;

  6. Very entertaining reading Terry. Excellent information about life in Niimi and great photos too. Including stories about your fellow Language teachers from around the globe gave terrific insights and what a bright and highly cultured group they are!
    I enjoyed reading all of it and am truly looking forward to future installments. Best to you, Sarah

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