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About My Job (2009)

As of August 2009, I’m back in Japan through the JET Program as an Assistant English Teacher for the Hamada City Board of Education. I teach at eleven elementary schools, mostly at the 5th and 6th grade level, and generally promote English education and cross-cultural exchange.

Hamada is the third biggest city in Shimane prefecture, located on the southwest end of Japan’s main Honshu island in the Chugoku region. Famous for its aquarium and for its fishing, Hamada is actually closer by car to Hiroshima city (two hours) than to the capital city of Shimane, Matsue (three hours). The Hamada city region actually consists of the main city area on the coast and several incorporated towns, including Misumi, Yasugi, Kanagi, and Asahi.

Shimane is Japan’s second most rural region. (The first, Tottori, was split from Shimane in the late 1800s.) Its major attractions include the Seven (seafood) Treasures of Lake Shinji, Matsue Castle, Aquas Aquarium, Iwami Ginzan silver mine (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site), and some of the best skiing in Western Japan. Shimane is also the site of Izumo Taisha shrine, where the Shinto gods are said to gather every October to discuss the coming year. Thus, while October is “The Month Without Gods” (神無月) everywhere else in Japan, October in Shimane is called “The Month With Gods” (神有月).

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