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Vacation’s Over, Back To Work January 8, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.
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I am now back at school, my fingers stiff with the cold and wishing all the while that I was at home, roasting slowly in front of my halogen heater. Richy left on Sunday night and since then I’ve been feeling a little depressed, the prospect of residing in this country for another 8 months dawning on me. I realise that this is just another homesick phase that will pass and am trying to raise my spirits, even though I’ve now come to despise my job. Please don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy being in Japan, living life in the Japanese countryside and seeing more of the world. I just wasn’t cut out for teaching and it’s now starting to drag somewhat.

Anyway – to concentrate on happier subjects, Richy’s visit here was a great success. Having met him at Narita airport, we made our way into Shinjuku and explored Tokyo a little. Managing to find accommodation for that night wasn’t as hard as I had expected, but seeing as it was 30th December, I suppose it was less in demand than the following night. So we did something very Japanese and stayed in a capsule hotel. What an experience and what a comfortable night’s sleep!

The next day we explored more of Tokyo and went up the Tokyo Tower, watching the sun set over the Japanese capital for the last time in 2007. Meeting up with Brooke and her cousin, we had dinner and visited a few bars, seeing in the New Year in rather inauspicious surroundings. However, having been unable to secure somewhere to stay that night, we were rather at a loss with what to do. So we stayed up. We did karaoke. We visited an internet cafe. In fact, we slept at the internet cafe and so I lied a little when I said we stayed up. But the next morning we were up bright and early, waiting for the Shinkansen to take us back to Kuga.

On the way home, I received a phone call from England to wish me a Happy New Year, just as we whizzed by Mount Fuji. I then fell into a deep sleep, having been sleep deprived the night before. Richy, too excited about the prospect of being on one of the world’s fastest trains, refused to succumb to sleep.

To spare you the details, we all made it back to Yamaguchi Prefecture safely. Richy dozed, I caught up with my emails and then we watched some Family Guy before having an early night.

The following day we went into Iwakuni to try and hire a car, but to no avail. Three places all in all told us that they were unable to lease any vehicles on that day. So we went into Hiroshima and found a place that not only gave us a car, but spoke English and gave us possibly the nicest car ever. Deciding that we were still a little tired from the previous day, we returned to Kuga, had dinner at Sanzoku and watched a movie at mine, before getting to bed in preparation for our early morning the next day.

The next day was to herald a trip to the theme park Space World. We went on the expressway, which is a rather expensive toll road that runs through Japan, therefore spending money before we even got to the park. Imagine our shock then when we arrived, only to be told that the rollercoasters “weren’t running” that day. What sort of a theme park doesn’t run rollercoasters for a day? So we did what anyone in our position would do – we went shopping in Fukuoka.

The next day was a little more low key, the highlight being our trip to Hofu to see the Tenmangu Shrine. It was full of Japanese people making their first visit for the New Year to the shrine, but it was enjoyed by all.

The following day (Richy’s last full day in the Land of the Rising Sun) was a lot more hectic. We drove to Kyoto, a round trip of about 900km. But we did see a real life geisha, which made it all worthwhile. What also made me happy, was the fact that I was able to ask her in Japanese if it was OK to take a photograph of her.

So on Sunday we returned the car and walked around the Peace Park, choosing not to depress ourselves by trawling through the Museum concerning the A Bomb. Having said goodbye to Richy, Brooke and I made our way back to Iwakuni and I was finally alone, having not had a day alone with nothing to do since 20th December. Yesterday was therefore spent doing washing, tidying my apartment and food shopping, balanced off with a healthy dose of Will and Grace.

There we go – that should now be the end of me detailing the ins and outs of what’s been going on.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and good New Year’s celebrations. Here’s to 2008 – the year in which I return to England!

Till next time!

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