After a magical Christmas I return to snow and satisfaction
03.02.2008 0 °C
So, after many months of just soaking in to my new life and neglecting my blogging duties, I am here to tell you that I am still alive and well in Japan, and I’ll try to catch you up on everything that has been going on here lately.
When last I left you I was fully enjoying the fall weather which was beautiful and mild and lasted right up until the new year. However, it was cold. You see the homes in Japan are not insulated which means that even though it is still plus four out side and it’s lovely it is the same temperature in your house and that is not so lovely. I have managed to adjust to it using a series of carefully placed kerosene heaters in my home. I always took advantage of heat at home and enjoyed the benefits of simply turning a knob and having heat suddenly appear but here in Japan I have to take my two twenty-litre jugs to the gas station and buy the fuel that will heat my house for about a month. It’s a little like finding out milk comes from cows and not the grocery store.
December was a bit of a rough month for me. I was cold, I was feeling homesick and I wished I could be home for Christmas but that wasn’t in my budget. But I really didn’t have any plan for Christmas and the idea of being alone on Christmas in a country that didn’t even celebrate Christmas was hard to take. Then my good friend suggested a few of us go to Tokyo for Christmas and all my problems were solved. We took the cheepo local trains, which were on sale for obvious reasons, all the way to Tokyo in a mere 11 hours. Whoot!
What can I say about Tokyo? Well, first of all, I was completely intimidated by the subway system as it looks something like a rat king (if you have never heard of a “rat king” look it up and be completely disgusted). As it turns out Tokyo is totally English friendly which defiantly can’t be said about all Japanese cities. The subway and all other necessities were a snap and I was able to wander the city as I pleased with very little help although there were plenty of people in Tokyo who were willing to offer help.
As I’m sure you can guess, Tokyo is filled with lights, noise, crazy fashions, great food, fabulous people and amazing temples and other sites. There was no shortage of things to do or see and I tried my best to do it all. My top three would have to be checking out the rockabilly dancers in the park at Harajuku, running out into the busiest intersection in the world (Shabuya) on the stroke of midnight 2008, and visiting Tokyo’s most famous temple (Meiji-jingu) with over a million other people to pray on New Year’s day. We also had the great fortune being able to visit the imperial palace on one of the two days a year it is open to the public.
After Tokyo I headed for Osaka where I picked up my parents and we continued Touring Japan. They wanted to drive on the coast so we headed up to the San-in coast and spend a bit of time driving on that beautiful side of Japan. Unfortunately, my camera was out of juice by this time so I don’t have any pictures of the coast but stay tuned for a video I’m producing.
We also went to visit Hiroshima which is a beautiful and vibrant city despite its horrible destruction during the war. We went out to Miyajima Island (AKA: deer island) so see one of Japan’s three greatest views and we were not disappointed to find it was a wonderful place to visit.
After Hiroshima I sent mom and dad back to Osaka on the bullet train and headed back to my little hometown of Kibichuo to find snow. Something about the snow and the vacation and the kids that greeted me when I got back to school renewed my spirit. I have decided to stay in Japan and to run on and see what the future will hold for me here. I signed the contract again so I am officially here until August 2009. Whoa Nelly! It's gonna be quite a ride.