EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Teacher Living Abroad Nov 15, 2017 10:51:35 GMT -5 hedy, oust, and 2 more like this Quote Select PostDeselect PostLink to PostBack to Top Post by snowfaire on Nov 15, 2017 10:51:35 GMT -5 Hello. I'm snowfaire and I teach EFL (English as a foreign language) in Japan. I've been here for 2.5 years. It is my first full time job ever, and this is the first time I've lived alone for more than 4 months. It was my dream job at first, and I was pretty darn busy and happy for a while. I was pretty clean for about 3-4 months, but the clutter slowly started accumulating as I got care package after care package from my parents and I spent EVERY Saturday and Sunday and holiday (and some weekdays) immersing myself in the local culture and festivals and working at least 2-3 hours past my scheduled working hours every week, with 7-8 hours+ in September and October. It was still in stage 1 according to the squalor category chart until the "summer vacation" happened in July, about a year after I started. That is, the STUDENT summer vacation. I felt tired and I needed a summer vacation, but, for the first time in my life, *I* didn't get one! You see, in Japan, the teachers have to come to work and "work" every d**n non-weekend summer vacation day the students are off. There's no work to do for most of this time, so you're supposed to "find work to do" or "pretend to work." I WAS being paid ... to pointlessly waste time and keep up appearances. I could read or surf the internet on sites that looked professional and text-heavy (I think I would have gone insane if *all* of my favorite websites and the kindle e-reader were blocked =P), but, if someone asked what I was reading, I'd have to lie (with all the attendant stress/guilt/worry). And trying to actually make lesson plans that would never be used (since I wasn't told about the new curriculum or textbook until a few days before September 1) just to make the Japanese English teachers think I was being productive when they occasionally asked about it....that got old within days. I did try to subtly drop hints that I'd be very happy with an UNPAID (AT HOME!!!) break in July and August to be told by the Japanese teachers who also spoke English that "this is the way it's done in Japan," and more subtle hints to adjust to the culture etc. I complained about this to my parents, to my friends in America, and to the other EFL teachers nearby, and the response from all was the same. To sum it up: "What's wrong with you? You're being paid and you don't have to do any work! You have the best deal ever! Why are you complaining?" Well, that was just great for my happiness and self-esteem! I started thinking "What's wrong with me? Why aren't I happy with a great situation? Everyone else thinks it's great but me! Why can't I work 40-45 hours a week with only 2-3 weeks vacation a year like every other mature adult without being so depressed I almost wish a car would run over me on my bicycle every Monday morning? How can I survive 35+ more years of working without ever having a *real* summer vacation again and having to work on pointless repetitive that I don't learn anything from even MORE than I do now?" However, I hit on a brilliant solution to my problem--if I never EVER cleaned or took out the trash or picked up food and only did laundry once a month or so, I could both a) have more time to do the things I desperately wanted to do that couldn't be done while "work"ing (sleep, video games, tv/movies, reading for pleasure WITHOUT GUILT/WORRY, etc.) and b) purposely make the school a more welcoming/desirable environment than my house in ONE way (it was much cleaner) to decrease the misery and resentment I felt at having to be there. So, I got to squalor stage 4 on purpose. I know that technically this was a bad idea, but I can't completely regret it, because it did achieve my two goals very well.It crossed my mind a couple of times that I'd get evicted if my landlord, whoever he/she is, ever entered my apartment, but for a while I didn't care, because I was so desperately bored and depressed. If I lost my job due to being evicted due to being squalor stage 4 I thought that would be kind of good, actually, as the job is at least well-paid (in my opinion), so I have savings. I could get out of here and be happy. But the downside of being fired is worrying about whether I'll be able to get recommendations/references or be hired at another job that isn't complete crap. Possibly worse even than that is that I can't bear to disappoint my parents (again), as they finally think that I'm a mature adult!It's really scary to think that I can be evicted without even a warning that I can understand, since any warnings about eviction would be written in Japanese, which I can't read. (I put all mail in a huge pile except for the ones reading NTT and SoftBank--with the company name written in ENGLISH letters--because I know those are bills.) So I have no way of knowing what my landlord knows, or anything like that.... I am a bit overwhelmed by the mess and by the fact that I can't just call cleaning lady strangers to help me without the involvement of someone I know, probably my boss, to translate. It really, really doesn't help that the stupid garbage disposal place is on the other side of the street and down a bit with a LONG traffic light wait BOTH ways (you have to press a button to cross), so to take out the trash and go back to my apartment takes about 7 minutes minimum. Plus, I don't have a car, so taking 20+ cardboard boxes and 10+ bags full of trash will take a LONG time because I can only carry 2 cardboard boxes/trash bags at once! I did already go from stage 4 to stage 3, but I'm pretty sure stage 3 is still eviction-worthy. However, I mostly want advice about one thing... I have a mold problem in my bathroom and the smell is overpowering. It affects the whole bathroom, although being Japan, that area is pretty small. It is brown mold. I desperately want to leave the removal until I move out in another 7 or so months, but I'm afraid my health will be affected or that it will affect my neighbor's apartment. My best friend from America said he smelled mold when he visited me last March (I briefly cleaned my apartment from stage 4 squalor down to stage 2 and did clutter-shifting for his visit), but I have a very insensitive nose and didn't smell it myself. Now, even I smell it. It's bad. I didn't even know mold came in brown! According to Internet research, the affected area is too big for me to remove it myself (both floor and ceiling, 5 foot wide by 5 foot long by 2 foot depth area (x2, floor and ceiling) maybe? hard to estimate the dimensions of my bathroom, but I think that's about right....)However, if I remove it professionally...I will likely waste my boss's time, since I need him to translate and call the mold removal people. (If they even exist in Japan, but they must, right?) I will likely have to pay twice, now and when I move out, because I didn't even realize there was a problem back when my friend did (since you couldn't see much if any then and I didn't smell it.) And what if they don't work on weekends/after working hours? What if my landlord evicts me for letting mold grow? Also, very important, how clean does my apartment have to be to let the mold removal people in? I don't have time to get it cleaner than squalor stage 2 for a while.I'm mostly worried about the eviction and the cost, since I have no idea how much it will cost. If it's less than 600,000 yen (about $6,000 USD), which was listed as the max cost of mold removal in a google search (but some things are more expensive in Japan!), I can pay it without that much of a problem, though of course over 50,000 yen or so will be pretty painful. If it's 700,000-2,000,000 yen, I can technically pay, since I have a bit over 2,000,000 yen in my bank account, but of course it would be VERY painful and my parents would be disappointed with me for not saving enough. Does anyone have any idea if you can be evicted for severe bathroom damage caused by mold caused by living in squalor in Japan or even a ballpark figure of how much it would cost? What should I do?