So I’ve finally gotten myself settled in Japan and I’m getting flashbacks of China. My apartment is small, the shower is cramped, my bed is narrow, and my apartment block doesn’t have many people living in it at the moment. So in other words, it’s completely opposite of my last Asian digs. Here’s a run down of where I live.
Yokkaichi, otherwise known as “The Land that The Company Forgot”, is a pretty small city of about 400,000. Its so small that my trainers didn’t know we had a school here and one of the trainers made a complete bork of who worked in the area, and so I’m SOL in the connections department. This city reminds me a bit of home: it’s out of the way from Osaka or Nagoya or even Kyoto, it has all the amenities that make it a city of any consequence(malls, theatres, restaurants etc.), the weather is VERY similar, and it has access to all the big cities without any headaches. It also has some high end developments(the malls in particular seem very stylish and hip), but the moment you leave the city core it turns instantly into suburbia Japan style!
I’m living about a 15 minute walk from the city centre, which is conveniently where my work is! The walk is all back streets and narrow ally ways which sometimes makes me a little uncomfortable walking home at 9:30 at night(My work schedule is 12-9) until I remember I’m the tallest person in town who also outweighs everyone else by an easy 20 pounds. Probably more.
And for anyone who’s ever seen a Japanese anime, I can assure you that narrow fast cars are a thing. In general, they’re narrower and maybe a bit taller and this gives the impression that they’re moving very fast down narrow streets. I’m sure motorists have noticed me more than the locals simply because they can’t ignore me walking down the back streets and taking up enough of the road that it goes down to a single lane.
This isn’t to say I don’t stand out. I definitely stand out, like a loose lion stands out in the zoo. So far I’ve seen two other Non-Asians in town not including the nice and slightly germaphobic American lady who works with me. This town isn’t exactly swimming in Gaijin, and the school itself has 7 people working there: Four teachers, 1 manager, 2 receptionists/counsellors. Most classes have 2 students and I’m not teaching all the time at work. Sometimes I need to give trial lessons for potential students and at other times I’m browsing google! No cellphones for anyone so I’m sorta limited to using the work computer in unobtrusive ways that won’t be obvious time fillers. I’m sure people have noticed me, and I’m not talking in a “sexy times” kind of way.
I’m looking into meeting up with some other foreigners who’re in Nagoya. Its significantly bigger and metropolisy to warrant two schools from The Company and three foreign teachers at each. Nagoya also has a geek culture than attracts a lot of my kind of people, so I’ll need to check that out. Half hour by train, so that’s alright.
That’s all for now folks! Next time: pictures!