Friday, July 31, 2009

Live from the Inaka

I`m here in my little corner of Okayama Prefecture, out in the inaka, where the scenery and people are insanely lovely. I arrived on Wednesday, after a handful of busy/crazy days in the big city of Tokyo. To say this is the opposite end of the spectrum is an understatement.

Internet at home won`t happen for awhile, but I can use the internet at my desk at work. The menus are all in Japanese, some of which I can read, and some of which I can only guess, so it`s been fun. The apostrophe on the Japanese keyboard is in an entirely different place and requires using the shift key. Still, it`s internet. Sweet, heavenly internet.

Here`s what`s been going on so far:

I got severely lost the first day here (Wed) when I was already physically and mentally exhausted and literally had blisters on my feet from all the walking around Tokyo and all of the lack of sleep due to both jetlag (in the form of waking up early) and wanting to do all I could while still in the city. Getting lost was quite a low point resulting in not being able to hold back tears in public and being really annoyed at the way things had been scheduled so that we (I`m not the only JET here in Tiny Town) were essentially left to fend for ourselves. In bad Japanese, I managed a ride home. The car had lights but wasn`t a police car. (?) Later that night was a high point when my predecessor returned from her farewell party with two very sweet Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs) that I`ll be teaching with this year. They are awesome.

Yesterday, Thursday, after my breakfast of canned coffee and CalorieMate (my two good old friends that sustained me for 3 years last time I did this), it was all about going around to visit every city in the town (or the universe, not sure, but there were a bunch, and each with lots of smiling and bowing), being interviewed on TV (yah, really, this is all apparently big enough news to warrant such a thing here in tiny town) and generally meeting half the town. I`ve made friends with another JET in town, and we`ve made plans to head into Okayama City this weekend for fireworks on Saturday and possibly a festival on Sunday. Details are sketchy, but I promised myself I`d say yes whenever possible about getting out and doing stuff. I`ve unpacked little, but it can wait because I only get one year to live this second chance at my dream of living in Japan again, and the clock is already ticking.

Today is my first full day at my actual school where I`ll be teaching, and everyone is so friendly. Plus, this is my only current avenue of internet access, so it`s even more appealing. In a shocking twist of wow because it seems nothing is ever fast or easy to set up in Japan, I might be able to get a cell phone today if I jump through a paperwork loop different from the one done yesterday.

I don`t have pictures with me here at work to post, but I`ve taken some and will, at some point, though maybe not until I get internet at home in a couple weeks (hopefully not longer than that). Also, I expect at some point to make a video of the process involved with me doing laundry because I forgot how hands on and not automatic it is, but that will be another post for another day.

Sorry if this post isn`t full of my brilliant wit (or humbleness), but any internetting I`m to do until Monday has to be done now, so you gotta know that I`m a busy girl. Can`t wait to post stories and pics. Oh, and to catch up on your blogs. Not sure when that will be, but thank you for reading even while I can`t because it`s great seeing your comments when I do find a way to get online.

Oh, and I thought it might be fun to post new words each day and how/why I learned them if there is some reason. Not sure if this will be a regular feature. Since I`m behind, I give you these:
  • 汗びっしょり = asebisshori = drenched in sweat (because it was hotter than hell when I asked)
  • 滑り台 = suberidai = slide (because we visited so many pre-schools, kindergartens, etc. yesterday)
  • 竜巻 = tatsumaki = tornado (because I said I was from Oklahoma, kinda)


  1. I'm so thrilled for you. What an adventure. I'm sad to hear that you were lost and in tears but I swear, one day you'll look back at that, too, as a high point. Thank you for my picture ;) I feel so special that you managed to get that off to me. Looking forward to the laundry post :)

    Love and hugs to you.

  2. SOunds like for the most part all is going well. I'm sorry you got lost but I4m glad your coworkers seem to be so nice. Can't wait to hear more from you!

  3. and so the adventure continues. enjoy!!!!

  4. Wow. Already a thrilling trip. Sorry about getting lost. That sounds pretty scary.

    So glad to hear you are safely there. Thanks for the update! :)

  5. Aaaah, glad you're doing fine there, in that oh so very different part of this planet. Well, maybe not to you, but still. Big hug from Belgium, I'm thinking of you!
    Ummm, for a coffee lover like I know you are, canned coffee seems like a terrible sacrifice to me? No? Ewww!

  6. Awww, I'm sure the tears were only due to jet lag. If you were refreshed I'm sure being lost would have been more of an adventure and less of a stresser.

    Yum, canned coffee! Hope it was a Georgia Coffee Cafe Au Lait - if not, have one of those for me while you are there. Cold. Unless you don't like cold coffee of course. I used to buy those by the case, and grocery clerks would look all amazed that anyone would buy a case at a time, vice the normal 'come in and buy one a day' sort of thing.

  7. Methinks that maybe some of us can put some stuff together in a Care Package for you - I'll see what can be arranged.

    Because I think you're going to need it. Soon.

  8. Ohh, I'm so happy for you. Enjoy your adventure. I bet it's going to be interesting teaching, I guess English, to those kids.

    Definitely get out and see the sights. Just make sure you take that wonderful camera of yours, LOL. I love the new words idea!

  9. I would be totally freaked if I was lost in Tokyo!
    Glad to hear you are doing well.

  10. Glad you made it safe and are in love with your town...
    Enjoy every minute of it. I look forward to learning about your adventures :)


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