As I mentioned before, the area I live in is fairly rural. Unlike the states, for example, where rural means houses that are miles apart, a separation that gives people a lot of privacy, rural Japanese homes tend to be found in clumps. A group in homes may be surrounded by rice fields and hills without much else, but the people who live in each house are isolated from everyone else.
August 31, 2010
August 20, 2010
The apartment has 3 rooms, plus a kitchen, plus a bathroom/laundry room, plus an entrance way area. In other words, I live in a palatial residence compared to the closet I lived in in Tokyo. I now live in an apartment so big, it has it’s own closet.
Anyway, before I get to the apartment itself, let me briefly show you what the area is like.
August 17, 2010
Well, here I am again. I’m an in Japan once again and it is time to ressurect this blog.
I am no longer a student, but a working stiff, a “society person (社会人),” as they say in Japanese.
Another big difference between my time in Japan before this time: location. I was studying near Tokyo, a giant metropolis with 12 million people in the city itself and 35 million in the metro area. Now I’m in a “city” of 40,000 people that is actually made up of 6 sprawling towns that cover an area 1/4 the size of Tokyo. These 6 towns merged several years ago because their population has been shrinking at a steady rate. It’s hard to believe that Japan has sharply declining birth rates when you live in Tokyo (especially when you live down the street from a Toys R Us, as I did), but here it is much more obvious. The grocery store is filled with little old ladies with hunched backs slowly pushing their shopping carts.
Also, since most people here drive, they have a different sense of distance from people in Tokyo. Tokyo is a very big city and the downtown areas are not all collected in one place. Most Tokyoites tend to think of distance in terms of the train. They know how long it would take to get from one place to another on the JR train and the metro, but they have no sense of the true distance between these possibly far flung locations. Here, with very little public transportation, most people drive. They drive everywhere. And they think of car distances. When I asked someone where the nearest post office was, I was told it would be much too far to walk and might as far as a kilometer (in other words, a 10 minute walk). They’re just as lazy as Americans! And just as likely to leave their cars running to pop into a shop for a minute…