As the clock struck twelve on the 31st of December 2012, I wondered what the new year would hold. With a few job interviews lined up and a half-formed plan to move from Kyoto to Nagoya, things seemed like they might be all right after all.
Winter in Japan is very cold. Sure, it may not differ that much from Sweden in terms of outdoor temperature, but what makes Japanese winter so awful is the fact that the inside of the houses get freezing cold as well. So I basically had to wear several layers of clothes on indoors as well as outdoors. Great.
In any case, my first interview was at a kindergarten which held all its lessons in English. With no experience working with young children (2-6 years old), the head teacher asked me to come and try working there for two days, to see how I handled the kids. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. The kids were really energetic and cheerful, and it was a lot of fun. What really surprised me was how good they were at English. They could speak pretty well for such young children. I guess it's true that the younger you are, the easier it is to learn stuff.
But in the end, working as a kindergarten teacher isn't for me. Not that I don't like kids, I just can't bring myself to be as strict as you need to be to keep them in line sometimes. Oh well...
Next up was a written exam, called SPI, which is yet another workplace aptitude test that the Japanese seem to adore so much. It didn't go well. I am absolutely terrible at maths, and that test was chock full of it.
My next interview was at a paralegal office specializing in patents and trademarks in Gifu, the town I had lived and studied in together with my friends back in 2010. They were looking for a translator, and I got to do a trial translation for them following the interview. On the whole, it felt like it went pretty well.
January drew to a close, and February came along. By now, I had decided to move out of Kyoto. I wanted to relocate to the area around Nagoya, to be closer to my girlfriend. My money was slowly running out, though. The last pay check from Softbank came in the end of January, and after that I was on my own.
I had set up a time limit for myself. If I couldn't find a job by the end of February, I would give up and go back to Sweden. With the pressure rising every day, I kept on applying for jobs, and waited for any mail of phone call from the companies I had been interviewed at.
Time was running short...