Land of the Rising Sun

Trip Start Nov 02, 2006
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Friday, April 27, 2007

So here I am - right now sitting on my tatami mat looking thru the rice paper windows out onto the vinyard nextdoor. Matsumoto - in the heart of the Japanese Alps... Mmmmm so where to start?

Some of you may remember Rebecca, who I met in yoga class last summer? Well, she is teaching here in Japan and she convinced me (without too much difficulty, I must add) to come over and join her, while I knock off a few more units in my postgrad study. Hey, who could really say no to living in the Japanese Alps with a beautiful girl? So I am doing my postgrad, learning Japanese (slowly!) and doing some domestic duties.Soon I hope to pick up a few hours of work a week to pay the mortgage back home. So any work that can be done electronically send my way - only $40/hour (negotiable)!

We are extremely lucky to have a two bedroom house, only about 10 mins walk to Rebecca's school, 10 mins ride to downtown and in only 15 minutes you can walk to the surrounding mountians. Last week I went for a run and in 45 minutes I was on a mountain top looking down over the city - perfect!

I think I have got over my initial shock from the first week, when I couldn't even say "watashi wa nihongo ga hanasemasen" (I don't speak Japanese) - but it is still a daily blow to have the communication skills of a 2 year-old child. Especially when the checkout chicks rabbit away for 30 seconds and I reply with "konichi wa" (Hello) and they look at me like I'm CRAZY and reply "oh... konichi wa". Then there is the ashtray outside the supermarket which says, in English, "The fire disappears beneath his shoe, but unfortunately the butt remains..."

I have been head down trying to catchup with my studies after my time in the UK, and have been frantically trying to get the internet connected. Finally today it worked!! We have this ultra fast 100Mbps system, but no-one wanted to help us install it. Normally I just plug it in and my notebook works - here it didn't... and the phone company refered us to the internet provider, who told me to contact Microsoft or the PC maker, the PC maker refered me to the factory in Taiwan! Of course all the instruction are in Japanese too! They didn't seem to be very outcome orientated, but the fabulous Mika (the receptionist from R's work) persevered and now we are back in contact with the world!

It is just beautiful here and Rebecca is absolutely the sweetest little thing around (oh, completely CRAZY too, but that is just fine with me). So the plan is to stay as long as the government lets me, keep studying, enjoy the new country and culture and see what happens! I plan to get back to my original plan and return to the UK in 2008 to look for work...(but who knows, really?)...
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