Mitchell Bowie teaching in a rural school just outside of Ashoro, Japan. Submitted.

Mitchell Bowie teaching in a rural school just outside of Ashoro, Japan. Submitted.

Letters from Ashoro Japan: A day in my life

By Mitchell Bowie

It’s been over a year and a half since I started working as a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) in Ashoro, Japan, and I thought I would share what a day in my life looks like!

Luckily I get to start my work day at 9:15 am each morning at the Ashoro Board of Education office, which is roughly a two-minute drive from my apartment. This is mine and Jasmine’s—the second CIR—home base each day before we travel to one of the schools in Ashoro where we teach. Before leaving to go to class for the day, we gather whatever materials the schools request for us to bring for that day’s English lessons. There are five schools that we teach at—four elementary schools and one junior high school—as well as four different preschools where we run fun English classes called “Peppy Kids” for young children to begin to use basic English words while singing songs and playing games. We typically visit each of the elementary schools and junior high school once a week, and the “Peppy Kids” once or twice a month.

All of these schools aren’t necessarily in central Ashoro. We have to drive to three of the elementary schools in rural areas that would be similar to driving to Gwynne from Wetaskiwin. These schools have roughly 11-20 students in the entire school from grades 1-6! The larger elementary and junior high school in the town of Ashoro have much larger classes of roughly 40 students per grade.

At school each day, the homeroom teacher runs the main portion of the class while we provide support with teaching the English concepts and doing activities with the students to reinforce the material they learn. After our morning classes are finished, we eat our school lunch and proceed to the gym to play dodgeball with the kids for recess. Once our final class of the day is finished, we head back to the Board of Education office to plan for the next day of school. Our working day ends at 4:00 p.m. and afterwards I usually go to the gym here in town or go for dinner at one of the local restaurants with friends to enjoy some good food and a cold beverage.

We hope these articles make you want to learn more about Japan and experience some Japanese culture! There are a few ways you can do that right in Wetaskiwin! Join the Wetaskiwin Ashoro Friendship Society (WAFS) or host some Japanese students when they visit Wetaskiwin from Ashoro in September and October 2021.

There is currently an opportunity for an individual to become a CIR in Ashoro starting in March 2021. The Wetaskiwin Ashoro Friendship Society is now accepting applications for this position. For more information about involvement with WAFS or applying for the upcoming CIR position, visit the WAFS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WetaskiwinAshoroFriendshipSociety, or send an email to WAFS1980@gmail.com.

-Mitchell Bowie