The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Update on everyday living

Lots of posts about the places we've travelled and food we've eaten - but how is everyday winter life in Japan for us? (Does anyone care? Hello?? *echo*) It's been almost a month since my last non-travel and non-food-related update, and I thought it's about time for another one, so here goes..

-It's already middle of winter, but much to my delight, it has been a warm-ish one so far. In fact, the weather right now is much like Perth's winter (blue skies with some cloud), except the daytime temperature remains below 10degC. Mind you, that's not to say that the winter here is generally like Perth's gorgeous winter - it was cold and drizzly most of last week. Not much snow around at the moment because any snow melts as soon as it touches the ground. Some mornings I'd see snow on the roofs and cars, but the snow soon melts away. So far, I haven't had to confront my fear of driving in the snow - yet. I'm hoping that I won't have to at all this winter.

-Are we still riding our bicycles? Yes, we are happily embracing our 'crazy gaijin' status and keeping our bicycles in use in the cold winter months. I think it's quite safe as long as there are no snow or ice cover on the road. We rode the 10km to town on Saturday for the first time in three weeks and it was pretty good. A bit chilly, but it's nothing new because I remember riding to work in 1degC in the mornings in Perth.

-We're always subject to the hospitality and kindness of Japanese people. Last month, one of the older teachers at my school gave me a huge bag of new rice (i.e. newly harvested), a jar of umeboshi (preserved sour plums), some persimmons and apples - I think they were all from his family's farm. And just last week, we had a total stranger (one of our neighbours) offering to lend us his spare heater when we brought the only kerosene heater in our possession to the nearest service station down the road for repair (we found out that the stinky-ness is not normal) and he overheard that we did not have an extra one to use in the meantime. These are just two examples. I find that I am often baking something to give someone who has shown kindness to us.

-We've been going to judo classes with Kim and Richie every Thursday nights since the end of November last year. Most of the class consist of elementary-aged kids, who are very skilled! Thankfully the main judo sensei is an English teacher so communication is not so much of a problem. Alex and John will also begin attending classes this year, so it looks like judo on Thursdays will be gaijin central. The sensei and his assistants have been very kind to accommodate having us as part of their Thursday class.

Oh, and remember how I said that one of my photos was chosen for the JET Program calendar? We've received copies of the calendar and it looks like I'm the only 1st year JET whose photo made it into the 2007 calendar. Yay!

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