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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where will she go?

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When I was accepted to JET in April of 2009, I had to wait to find out where I was going to be placed. I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, taking a job without knowing where you were going to be going. 

Fast forward 5 years and a few months, and here I am again. My new employer covers a much smaller area than JET, but I still don't know where I will be living next month. 

The two possible places where I could work and live are Tokyo and its surrounding areas or Nagoya and maybe its surrounding areas. Half the people I talk to think Tokyo sounds better, and the other half cheer for Nagoya. 

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Tokyo. The pulse of the nation. 35 million people in the Greater Tokyo Area (Tokyo + surrounding areas). That’s more people than the entire state of New York. More than Texas. More than Florida. Only the population of the state of California beats it.

Tokyo has tons of free things to do. Exciting things are happening everywhere. There are all kinds of people to watch, places to go, and parks in which to picnic.

Living in Tokyo would be exciting and crammed full of people.

 

 

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Nagoya. I knew Nagoya was south of Tokyo, but I couldn’t place it in my mind for a while. It is about 4 hours southwest of Tokyo, which makes it closer to Osaka – about 2 hours away. By the way, when I just search for Nagoya, the first three listings are for the sushi restaurant in Ridgeland with the same name. There are 8.7 million people in the area, which would make it our 12th largest state if we transferred it over here. Population-wise, it’s about the equivalent of the DC-Baltimore-Northern Virginia area.

Nagoya has several festivals in the autumn that sound fascinating. But we all know my attraction to festivals! The Nagoya Festival happens in October and includes a huge parade with people costumed as historical characters. Also in October is a festival of street performances, including monkey tricks and something with gold dust.

 

At first, I really thought that I just wanted to live in Tokyo for the next three months. It would be completely different from my life on the northern coast. But then I found out about Nagoya’s festivals…

I think I can safely say now that no matter what my assignment says, I won’t be disappointed. There will be new and exciting things to discover in all locations.

Now, it’s just about time to go open up my assignment and see what it says. Oh, I didn’t mention that it arrived this morning?

I can’t wait to find out!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lake Tiak-what?

Greetings from Lake Tiak-O'Khata. It took a long time for me to be able to spell that. Pshew. I'm here on a retreat. Re comes from "to do again," and we all know the meaning of treat. Somethin' yummy you get! So, retreat means to get yummy stuff again and again, right?

I hope so, because I've been eating a lot of homemade cookies. 

We have some Serious Southern Food here at Lake Tiakfkrjsnklwm. Last night's dinner:
I can't tell a lie - the cornbread was pretty good. 

Today, I sat by the lake during my free time. I was too lazy to stand up and take a better picture. 
It's been a good time so far. I've learned a few things. And it's fun being here with my mom.

Also, I'm hoping for biscuits for breakfast so that I can continue to re-treat myself!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mississippi

I'm here! 
Couldn't believe how many people were on the Atlanta-Jackson flight last night. I've never been on such a large plane bound for Jackson!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Narita Airport


I'm at the Narita Airport in Tokyo, huddled with several other customers around a charging station. 12 hours is a long time to go without charging power, and it is a really long time to go for people attached to their smartphones. 

Not that I would know anyone like that. 

It's a beautiful day in Tokyo, although it is a little hot and humid outside. To be honest, I was kind of expecting the same feeling I get when I walk into a high temperature sauna. 

The weird thing is that it feels exactly the opposite of Wakkanai. Usually, the buildings are hot, but you can go outside and feel refreshed. Here, the buildings are cool, but outside is hot. 

By the way, these shoes were not made for airplane travel! They keep setting off metal detectors. 
Due to yesterday's rain, I accidentally destroyed the shoes I was planning, so I had to wear these. 

Last night's hotel. Majestic, isn't it? Breakfast was a huge buffet. 
My friend and I rode the bus to the airport together, and enjoyed hanging out for several hours. 
It has actually been a really good day. And now I get to relive it all over again!

By the way, I finalized the flight for my new job. It was so weird to arrange a flight to the airport where I was currently located. 

Well, I'm starting to hear the first Atlanta announcements, so I'm going to stretch a little before boarding starts!

Hope you are having a great day!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hello from the air

Of course, I can't post this from the air, but I can type this from the air and post it when we land. 
Right now, I feel like my heart has been through a washing machine and hung out on a clothesline to dry. I'm a mix of sad, exhausted from being sad and living without a home for 3 days, and excited about seeing my family and friends. 

I even feel a little sad about being excited and a little sad about being sad when goin into something pleasant and exciting. 

Throw into the mix a little nervousness about bein in a hot and humid summer, and I'm pretty well summed up!

Several coworkers and friends came to see me off at the airport. A few people I knew arrived on the incoming flight from Tokyo as well, and I was happy to see them!

My peeps!
After security, the gate area is glassed in. I got stuck in security, thanks to my shoes. When I came out, everyone was waving through the glass. I waved as much as possible (guess who was the last passenger). I got to the end of the jetway, and we all waved vigorously. I turned the corner, and let the tears come.

The hills of Wakkanai were so green and lovely. I couldn't take a picture, because before I was even settled, we were driving out. 

We took off, and I smooshed my face against the window until we were in the clouds. 

Then, we broke through to the sun.  

I think I'm dehydrated. I almost cried when I left the post office, for Pete's sake! But they are always so kind. 

I should have been using Johnson's baby shampoo!

Goodbye, large piece of my heart!


A rainy farewell, part I

Last night, a huge rainstorm started. When Valerie and I left this morning, it rained on my head and gave me a new 'do. 

We had coffee and toast at Banka. Yum!
Oishii is how to say delicious in Japanese. This coffee is always oishii!
Saying goodbye to my friend of 5 years was. not. fun. But, I hope to see her soon!

Yesterday, I realized that I hadn't taken tourist pictures of Wakkanai Station, which is a cool station because it is the northernmost station in Japan. 

Selfie with the sign (and the lovely rain hairdo - argh!)

Went back to gather my things and fix my hair. But it's still raining, so I may still be leaving this town looking like my hair got stuck in an eggbeater!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Last day in Wakkanai

I both can and can't believe this is my last full day in Wakkanai. On the one hand, I love life and all its beauty here. But on the other hand, I've said almost all my goodbyes, everything is packed, and I don't really have a home now.  It's a really confusing feeling, this in-between place. 

Went to Noshappu Misaki this morning, where an elderly gent explained Rishiri and Rebun to me. 

Worked my way around to some of my favorite spots in town. Inventoried my boxes. Ate soup curry. I wasn't going to eat it, because it's a little hot for soup curry. But I could smell it, and many peoe say they miss soup curry. So, I ordered some. That's a glass of iced coffee in the back. Do we drink iced black coffee in the US? I can't remember. 
Got a haircut after Zazie. 
Went to the gym for a last trip through the pool. Chatted with some people and met the new city ALT. Filled out an ending sheet at the gym. That made me sad!
Met friends at the festival. Yummy agepan!
Then headed to my last church service. After church, we watched fireworks - a big city production. My farewell fireworks! As usual, I couldn't get a good pic. 
It's been a really lovely and relaxing last day in Wakkanai. I'm just about to go to sleep. おやすみなさい!\(^o^)/