Here’s some info about me, what I do, the experiences I had in 2009, and some general stuff too.
Why “Arisha In Tokyo”?
My name is Alisha, but I have yet to encounter a Japanese person who can say it properly. It’s a silly play on a nuance of the language. I’m Alisha in the USA, but in Tokyo, I’m “Arisha”. I even had an apartment agency I rented from type “Arisha” in their message to me. Oh, Japan.
Why are you in Tokyo?
I currently work as an English teacher at family owned school in West Tokyo. I teach a wide range of ages and abilities. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before, and every day is a learning experience for me. I’m very happy with my job and also the time I have to go out and experience Japan on my own – eating food, checking out cultural events, and meeting people.
I came to Tokyo in the summer/autumn of 2009 to work as an intern for a non profit organization doing event planning, marketing, and general office work. I loved my experience, but still felt I missed out on some cultural opportunities, and also still wanted to build my language skills. I decided I wanted to make my stay in Japan long-term, and got a job teaching English.
What did your internship entail?
Every day was a little different. The main goal behind what I did was to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. The foundation purchases mammography machines and places them in rural areas of Japan where women don’t currently have access to screening and testing facilities. I helped to plan two events: The Run for the Cure/Walk for Life and the Pink Ball. The first is a run around the Imperial Palace, the second a gala event. I helped out by doing general office work, attending meetings with my boss, some web updating and a little bit of translation here and there. It got crazy toward the end of the job, but I loved it. Sure, some nights I wasn’t getting home until 2:00 AM, but really, I enjoyed myself and thrived on that sense of purpose.
Do you like sushi/ramen/X food?
Yes, mostly. There are certain things I prefer above others (LOVE RAMEN), and I typically don’t eat much “crazy” stuff, but I’ll usually try anything once.
Do you speak/read Japanese?
I speak book Japanese. Classroom Japanese. I was taught at my university for 4 years by wonderful native speakers. They were patient, kind, and educated us culturally as well as linguistically. I feel very fortunate to have participated in the program.
That being said, when I speak Japanese, I’m pretty sure I sound like I’m six. I’ve found that if I have a drink I can increase that to like…10. I have no trouble surviving and getting around. I understand a good portion of what is said to me, but when I open my mouth to say something, I stumble a lot. It’s a learning process.
Where do you live?
I live in Shinjuku ward in metro Tokyo. In the past, I’ve lived in Akihabara, and in Nerima-ku, about 15 minutes north of Ikebukuro by train.
What made you learn Japanese?
To be honest, I heard some Japanese music in high school and couldn’t understand a word of it. I’ve always liked learning languages and when I got into college I was required to take a language to graduate. I chose Japanese and ended up loving it, so I chose to major in it. So…thank you, Gackt and Dir en Grey. Without you weirdos I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Do you drift cars?
Every night you can catch me doing it…if you know where to look.