I woke up at 5:45 a.m. and started my day by hitting the snooze button twice, but when I really woke up, I ate mochi (sticky rice cake) toasted in my toaster oven and a kiwi (not toasted in my toaster oven).

I will teach my first class of the day 3rd period, on time expressions: “minutes after,” “minutes to,” “quarter to,” etc.

When it’s time to head to school, I’ll walk down the alley and watch the sun rise.

The weather this time of year is cold and dry, so I’ll wear a winter jacket and fleece hoodie.

Living in this country could best be described as living in an interesting blend of Eastern and Western cultures, a country that has adopted much from abroad, but also retains and continues to create much of its own. Japanese wear business suits and drink coffee like Westerners, but they also still eat obento (traditional lunch boxes) and continue to sleep on futons (roll out mattresses on the floor).

No matter how many times I see hair salons called “Oops” and “Arise Pure Hairs,” still chuckle to myself.

The students, overall, are curious, fun, interesting and similar to kids everywhere– they like to giggle, fight, fool around, and express what they’re really feeling.

The worst part of my day today, though, will be being cold, because there is no central heating. It’s also my bike being confiscated because I can’t read the no-parking signs.

If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about teaching or living hereit would be central heating, mayonnaise and seaweed-free pizza, and the disappearance of squat toilets.

I’ll get home from work at 5:45 p.m. and by that time I’m ready for dinner, but it takes me another two hours to make it, by which time I have snacked on various naughty foods such as daifuku (sticky doughy rice cake snack with sweet bean or ice cream filling) or cream-filled melon pan (sweet pastry shaped like a melon).