Less than 2 hours after I last posted that I was full of wonderment and chomping at the bit to know where in Japan I'd be headed, I found out. And now I know.
If you'd have asked me before around 10:40 this morning about living in inaka (the countryside, the boonies, middle of bloody nowhere) in Japan, I'd have said that I did that last time. At any point since about 10:40 this morning, I've been realizing that while it looked like inaka where I was last time, with all the rice fields and whatnot, being a 10 minute walk from a little train station that was a less than 20 minute train ride into a decent sized city to get to a station on the main train line was actually more accurately described as suburban. Not inaka, really. This time? I do think it's really fair to say that I'm going to the inaka.
I'm going to Okayama Prefecture. Not to the part even near Okayama City (which would have been pretty OK and not very inaka), but instead I'm off to a very tiny little town of not a whole lot of people and not even remotely close to the main train line I was hoping would be super convenient for all the traveling I hope to be doing. Other than being in the same vicinity of the country of Japan as I hoped, it's not at all approaching the urban, or even suburban if it had to be, that I was really hoping I'd asked nicely enough to think I might get.
I don't have all the details, just the name of my new town in kanji and word that it is, as it appears on the map, indeed, very rural, very beautiful, very friendly and not near a goddamn thing. I spent half the day busy getting ready for my Chicago trip trying wrap my mind around the shock of this placement (I really thought I had a chance at suburban at least, I really did) and feeling a little bruised, honestly, because it's the opposite of what I requested. Then I've spent the last few hours remembering that there are a lot of folks on the waiting list who would gladly take my place if I decide to be a whiny little bitch about it, realizing that I did at least get in the same general area of the country I'd hoped and cheering myself up knowing that I'll make the best of it and will likely love it for the same reasons it scares/annoys me right now. I'll still get to travel all the places in the vicinity I want to go on long weekends, and the rest of the time I'll be experiencing a very different Japan from the one I experienced last time, which is kind of the point, anyway, and is probably good for someone like me so that I don't start thinking I know it all (who? me?).
I've told so many incoming JETs anxious about this kind of placement (or worse, there are some more rural, like on remote islands - for realz) that almost any placement is a good placement with the right attitude and a good sense of humor. I believe it because it's no bullshit. And now it's time to take my own advice. I'm getting there. I'm warming up to the idea. I'll also do better once I have specifics from the person I'm replacing, like knowing that there is a good place for coffee or a cute neighborhood bar or just a place to buy peanut butter in person (a girl can dream, right?). So, I'm in. I think. Mostly. I'll get there.
Hopefully my experience with the newly redefined inaka will translate into better stories and better pictures to share, too. Another perk.