Friday, 14 August 2009

A Year In Review

My experience here in Japan seems to differ somewhat from other people's. Not only am I in a rather isolated place, but culture shock has never been an issue for me. Sure, I have been surprised at some of the things that I encountered here, but nothing really life-changing -- in the sense of cultural differences and adjustments -- has occurred. Getting married within a year of coming to Japan was pretty huge (and unexpected), but that's beside the point. :p

And in reverse, I really can't see myself having to readjust to life in New Zealand, if we move there in future. If culture shock was the boredom of not having a laptop on arrival or experiencing a very chilly Christmas, then reverse culture shock will be surprise at petrol costs or how cheap milk from Pak 'n Save is.

When I write a book about my experiences in Japan, I'll have to exaggerate everything, including my sudden plunge into Japanese society. But the truth is, I don't feel as if I interact with Japanese culture enough for it to really affect me. All of this bowing and being polite hasn't really rubbed off on me yet; and I have passed the one year mark.

Mind you, the language sure is taking its time to sink in. You'd think that after a year I would be highly motivated to dive into my books and really focus on shoving Japanese into my head so that I could communicate. But without the dire need to converse in Japanese, the motivation just hasn't come. But I'll get there -- I know I will...

So yes, it has been over a year. Which means that life will begin to repeat itself. This last week was Kochi's infamous Yosakoi festival again. I, however, didn't see any coverage of it. I did see some people practising when my family were here, though.

Then, of course, is the upcoming Ayu festival, which takes place around these parts. And then we will be graced with various summer fireworks displays. This year, we plan on seeing a bigger display than Nakamura can offer.

Mika and I still have two houses between us; we will hopefully be able to paint Mikey's old place next week. She is back at work on Monday so it might have to wait until the weekend. I just want to be done with this whole split between two houses arrangement that we have going on. We are both still paying rent plus all of the utilities that come with having a place -- twice. So, the sooner the better for us, both financially and as a family.

Yesterday, I had a migraine, so was resigned to take a day off and suffer in pain. My head actually started hurting on Wednesday afternoon, so I finished work an hour early and went home to bed. Mika was away for Tuesday and Wednesday nights, staying with her brother's family at their new house in K-city. I didn't eat between Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtimes, but after talking to my wife on the phone, she encouraged (read: ordered) me to go to her house and make something to eat. Which I did, despite the agonising pain in my head. It was also good to get out and about, and I was able to recover enough to not have to go back to bed after returning home.

It's no wonder I suffer like this, though, sitting for so long in front of a computer screen. I should be dividing my time between browsing, learning and preparing. It would actually be quite wise to get onto more preparation for the new term, as I may not have as much free time during the week to prepare shougakkou lessons. It seems that I have a more permanent schedule after summer, teaching at four shougakkou consistently and an extra chuugakkou (Taisho). Because now that Michael has gone, they need me to fill in at least some of the gap -- the new ALT is living in K-town, which makes teaching all the way out here too difficult, I guess.

On a final note, the weekend is upon us -- well, pretty much. Mika doesn't want to do any driving this weekend, after all the driving she has done this week. I am going to assume that that means no long-distance travelling, which puts the idea of looking for a bed and/or table out of the question; at least for now.

What's most important for us at this stage is getting the go ahead to paint up the place we are moving into so that we can begin moving our stuff in. My biggest issue is getting rid of these JCF library books. We are still looking for a replacement librarian. Hopefully it will be someone in this prefecture, as that would save a whole lot on courier fees (if I were able to take the boxes somewhere myself).

Here's to continued beautiful weather!



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