Wednesday, November 19, 2014

About the Author.

I've delivered countless 自己紹介/jikoshoukai/self introduction lessons to my students, so I thought it was about time I do the same for this blog!

I'm Annabelle. I was born in 1991, in a town just out of Wellington, New Zealand. I have a mum, dad, and two older brothers - all of whom pop up in various posts on this blog.

I had a pretty normal kiwi childhood. I travelled around the country with my family often during school holidays. We went to Australia a few times, including to the Gold Coast when I was 9, which is probably the first international trip I remember well. When I was 14, I visited Rarotonga in the Cook Islands for the first time. Around that time, I also started studying Mandarin Chinese at high school, which would spark an interest in China which stays with me to this day. Whilst studying Chinese, I happened to hear about the JET Programme, and also developed an interest in Japan. A year later, I started working at a local supermarket, a job I would progress through for the next six years, and which funded not only a lot of my travel, but also my future university studies.

Me as a child on holiday in Australia.

When I was 17, I visited Hawaii with my parents, which was the first trip I took out of Oceania. I became really interested in travelling, and took more trips to Australia over the next few years. After high school, I enrolled at Victoria University of Welington, and graduated three years later with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Chinese and Second Language Education. I then re-enrolled for one more year to study a Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching. That year, I spent about four months at two very different elementary schools in my town as part of my teacher training.

A beautiful beach we visited in Hawaii.
After graduating from that programme, I had some big choices to make. The job market for primary teachers in New Zealand wasn't great, and I had a serious case of wanderlust. I remembered, and applied for the JET Programme. It was a long wait to hear if I had been accepted, during which time I travelled to China for an amazing three week tour of the mainland and Hong Kong. By the time I returned to NZ, I had been confirmed as a participant of the JET Programme, and there were only a couple of months until my departure date.

Resting in the Forbidden City, Beijing.
On August 4th 2013, I left New Zealand for my new home in Tochigi, Japan. I was diving head first into a country I'd never visited, a language I didn't speak, and colleagues and a job I didn't know. There were ups and downs of course, but luckily, I was able to adapt well to life in Japan, and I fell in love with my new home. I made lots of new friends, experienced a whole new culture, developed my skills as a teacher, and enjoyed travelling the country with family and friends - so much so that I signed on for a second year here!

Shinkyo bridge, in the beautiful town of Nikko, Tochigi.
I started this blog as a way to share my time in Japan with family, friends, and people interested in the JET Programme or Japan in general. I hope you find it enjoyable and helpful. I'd love to hear from readers, so do leave a comment, and keep checking out Origami Kiwi for more love from Japan and New Zealand to the world!

- Annabelle.


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I've been a high school English language teacher on the JET Programme since August 2013. Read about my experiences, advice on being accepted into the JET Programme, and travel tips around Japan on my blog:


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