Work finishes on Friday! Most people seem a bit more cheerful in the office now that the end is near, and this weekend should be a good time to celebrate this milestone with a party under the cherry blossoms. I may decide to go out even if it rains (a hanami party in the rain is truly underrated).
I've been in Japan for so long that I feel as comfortable over here as I did back at home. In spite of this, I've decided to return to Southern California. It will be nice to connect with old friends and relatives, and I am in dire need of a tan. The Japanese winter makes one pastier than a Canadian!
I wouldn't mind living in Japan, and in fact, it's still an option. However, if I were to do so, I wouldn't want to continue being an ALT. Should I choose this path, I would first get my masters and then teach at a university.
As far as I can tell, the eikaiwa market (along with contracts for ALTs in the public school system) is slowly but steadily declining in regards to the quality of services provided and salary and benefits offered. If you are on the JET program, you are doing much better comparatively than those who came before you. If you are teaching in Japan and planning on staying, I highly recommend applying for JET (best-case scenario) so you don't have to go through the hassle of working for a company (better-case scenario), a private or corporate eikaiwa company (worse-case scenario), or one of those notorious companies that have a high turnover rate of gaijin fresh off the plane (the worst-case scenario).
I'm planning on leaving on the 18th of April, but before that I will be taking a week long trip with my father around Kyushu. It will be nice to visit southern Japan again, the place that I consider my home away from home.
It will be nice to see everyone when I get back. See you soon!