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So Long, Farewell, Say┼Źnara, Goodbye! July 14, 2007

Posted by Mitch in General.

Well, it’s been a veritable flurry of Japanese-based excitement around here for the past couple of weeks. I’m back at home in Prickwillow and working at a publishing firm to save a little bit of money before the big day arrives. It sort of feels like wasting time until August 4th rolls around, but it’s starting to sink in that I’ll be leaving civilisation as I know it and embarking on a scary (but enthralling) new chapter to my life. It was whilst I was sat watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that it occurred to me what a big step this is. I’m also starting to acknowledge that I’ll miss my parents more than I thought I would. Now, OK, I’ve lived in Germany and have lived away from home, returning intermittently, for the past 4 years, but I’ve never been this far away from home. It’s starting to ‘hit home’ (no pun intended) that I’ll be upping sticks and flying to the other side of the world.

On the other hand, it’s bloody exciting, isn’t it? I found out yesterday that the JET programme this year was quite strict, so me even getting on it was enough of a good thing, but when you think that I’m going to get to experience a way of life that most people only see from a distance; well, it’s enough to make your head spin. Today I bought a map of Japan with the intentions of marking on where I’ve visited whilst there. However, as I only found one map that doesn’t have all of Japan on one side, that won’t happen, but it’s good just for general geographical knowledge to sit and have a look at the places around where I’ll be. Now, in my previous post I must have mentioned that I will be living in Iwakuni. It turns out that this is a bare-faced lie and I’ll actually be in a smaller town, 35 minutes away from Iwakuni, called Kuga. I’ll get to teach at kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools and an adult education class, so I’ll really be getting a broad scope of things. The teaching side of things isn’t the reason I’m going there, if I’m totally honest. It’s the personal challenge that’s the important thing to me. I want to see everything there. I want to experience everything there. And I want to really get the most out of this experience. Teaching is just an added extra.

Yesterday I was invited to an embassy function at the Japanese Embassy. Gosh, it was grand. We were all ushered into a banqueting hall where champagne and Japanese tidbits were on tap. Convivial conversation and witty banter were rife and it helped me get even more excited about going. I’ve discovered that if I focus on the superficial side of things, i.e. Woohoo, I’m going on holiday. For an entire year!, then I’m fine. It’s once I start to contemplate the minutiae that I get a bit jittery. But luckily I’ve discovered that some girls that I met and got on really well with at the Orientation in London are on my flight out there, so it will be sad to have bid farewell to my parents for a long period of time (they’ll be coming to visit me at some point, I’m sure), but I’ll have other people to chat to and take my mind off the life I’ve left behind.

I’ve also started to take much more interest in the British countryside as I won’t be seeing it on a daily basis once in Japan. Japan is a really mountainous country and so it will be in a totally different vein, but southern Britain’s elegance lies in its simplicity. God, listen to me harping on about the bloody countryside. Ignore me; I’m getting wistful and misty eyed…

Right, will sign off as this seems to have rambled on for quite long enough.

Till next time!