Life in Japan


 I have really enjoyed my time in Japan. In reflection, this is one of the best choices that I have made in my life. Granted, I met and married my best friend here in Japan. In this article, I would like to focus on several aspects of my time in Japan: The people, Japan’s natural beauty, my specific interests that brought me to Japan and my travels while here in Japan. Culture centers on its people, so let’s start there.
 I have found Japanese people to be interesting, warm and caring. This has been my first experience living in a small town. And first time in the newspaper. (It is interesting to note that I was quoted in a computer magazine, once) Anyway, most people in Hanaoka know who I am, where I am from and generally a great deal about me. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when people say hello every morning or good afternoon when returning home. This strikes me, even being a Midwesterner, as kind an odd but refreshing. It’s nice to see people stop and talk time to say hello and engage in some general conversation. The one criticism that I have is Japanese people tend to spend a great deal of time thinking about what someone else has, what someone else gets to do or where they get to go. Stop worrying about others; you can only control yourself, not your environment.
Speaking of environment, Japan is absolutely beautiful. I am reminded of this daily. All you have to do is ride your bike to school or if you go to Karyo High School simply look out the window. When you look out the window try to imagine you’re climbing one of the nearby mountains on a fine spring morning. You can just feel to nice breeze flowing through the trees. Or, on your way to school, stop to admire the tadpoles during rainy session in almost any rice patty. Nature is all around you, so please take the time to enjoy it. I regret that I didn’t spend more time on the sea. I am very interested in nature, but that not what drew me to Japan.
 I originally came to Japan for two reasons: to find a mentor to improve my teaching ability and to learn more about my collecting interest; Japanese antiques and stamps. I have learned a great deal in both areas. I would recommend to anyone with a passion for some aspect of a foreign culture to live in that culture for at least a year. Your knowledge will increase leaps and bounds. I generally only travel to pursue my hobbies.
 Japan is a very rich country in national heritage, so traveling can be quite an experience. Since being in Japan, I have traveled to Hokkaido (once,) Kyoto (3 or 4 times,) Tokyo (several times,) Nara, Kobe and Osaka as well as various other lesser destinations. In Japan, Hokkaido was my favorite destination, especially, in summer. I hope to be able to visit there again someday. I will visit Tokyo and Kansai area one more time before departing Japan. Japan is also a gateway to the Far East. So far, I have been only to Korea, but I have a trip planned to Thailand, Bali, Cambodia and Vietnam. I sure I have more traveling in my future, because that’s my wife’s hobby.
 My time has been most memorable. I will never forget my experiences and friends made while in Japan.

日本は自然遺産の豊かな国ですから、旅行は貴重な経験です。日本に来てから、北海道に1度、京都に3〜4回、東京に数回、奈良、神戸、大阪に加えて様々なあまり有名でないところに行きました。日本では北 海道が、特に夏が大好きでした。いつかもう一度行きたいものです。日本を離れる前に、もう一度東京と関西地方に行くつもりです。日本は極東地域への玄関でもあります。今のところ、韓国にしか行ったことがありませんが、タイ、バリ島、カンボジア、ベトナムへの旅行を計画しています。旅行はこれからもっとするでしょう。なにせ妻の趣味ですから。