Now that it’s well into autumn here, it seems like as good a time as any to get around to a few places I visited this summer. Right on schedule, I’m always a season behind.
I am by no means religious, but there are often moments here that feel like something in-between mystery and spirituality. Perhaps I just watched too many Studio Ghibli films as a kid.
Twelve hours later, I was packed up and on a train headed toward a town called Ebino. I knew two things about Ebino: first, that the town hosts a cow-jumping festival every year (yes, you read that right); and second, that my company described it as a nice place, albeit being in the middle of nowhere.
I, am a hoe for podcasts. Podcasts are peak multitasking nerdom to me.
As it so happens, he graduated from one of the schools I now teach at, many years ago. I complimented him on his English, and his face lit up. Excitedly, he went on to explain that he never had formal training in English conversation while in school.
An interesting thing I have noticed ("interesting" is the Midwestern term for funny, strange, or, in this case, surprising) during my first month abroad is that many people seem to assume that because I am enjoying myself, this transition - to a completely new job, country, language, life - is a walk in the park. We view each other's lives through the scope of social media posts and Instagram stories, so most of what we glean is surface level. It's easy to scroll past and make those assumptions.
I always find the form that goodbyes take to be particularly interesting. Something I have noticed about being friends with photographers is they will often want to leave you with a portrait. This kind of time keeping is a quiet but powerful reminder that you exist, you hold a place in someone's life, you took up the space that was made for you.
It's spring in Japan and that usually means one thing: cherry blossoms.
Sometimes you have to feel like a fucking idiot to get where you need to go.
The road here can be distilled down to this: I applied to teach English as an ALT on a whim, and said I would see it through as far as it went. Seeing as this is as far as it went, I am seeing it through. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.