Monday, December 7, 2009
Welcome to Marugame
My sweet little town of Marugame. Living near the mountains was the strongest wish I had before finding out about my location (and okay, okay, a Starbucks in the area too!). I've been spoiled. The Marugame castle stands tall on a big hill behind my house, and it's such a beautiful sight! Yesterday I went running on the hill and castle grounds, and the view from the top was breathtaking: mountains, mountains, and the sea. I love the dark color of the sea, which always puts 'Kafka on the Shore' on my mind.
I got to see a bit more of Shikoku island over the weekend- I had to travel to another part of the island for a staff meeting. I've finally met my coworkers, which felt nice, after not seeing other foreigners for a whole week! Everyone was so kind and friendly, and I also met my lovely Japanese teachers. Foreigners on Shikoku are a bit infrequent. Someone told me, weeks can pass by without seeing another foreigner. I almost ran up to one at the train station to hug him after not seeing any for a week! The fun thing is, I do get quite a bit of attention in the small towns where I teach (which can be good and bad).
I've been exploring Marugame at night, and found out there is a pretty decent nightlife happening. Little bars abound, and there's even one foreigner bar! I'll need to check it out next weekend, with my new friends. I did get to experience some of the Takamatsu nightlife, which was so much fun- Korean BBQ for dinner, drinks at a charming little bar, then karaoke (Japanese-style, yes).
Even though the first few weeks can feel isolating, I haven't felt lonely. I'm keeping busy with exploring my new surroundings, arranging my apartment, learning Japanese, and trying to decipher Japanese television shows. And thanks to my newly acquired mobile, I can text and chat with my fellow trainees all over Japan, and it's been so much fun.
Shikoku days are warm and sunny, but Shikoku nights are cold, cold, cold!
I'm smitten with Japan.