Monday, 4 January 2010
We have arrived we're blogging again!!
Welcome to Nippon, you might know this place as Japan. This will be our home for the next bit and we are happy to share our experiences here in the land of the rising sun with all of you, hope you enjoy.
We arrived here in the first week of December and have now been here for one month, we have our very own house and language school in a small but growing city named Sanda in Hyogo prefecture. Japan has been very kind to us thus far, none of the foreigner flagging we experienced in Korea and much cleaner to boot.
This prefecture we are living in, Hyogo, is located in the heart of Japan's soulful, and very central, Kansai region. Kansai is home to Japan's second largest city Osaka; Japan's true capital (according to any anti-Meiji Kansainese) Kyoto; The first capital and cultural heart of Japanese buddhism, Nara, along with a vast amount of mountains and rice paddies. Needless to say, we are happily distant from Tokyo's crowds and filthy air and within arms reach to the traditional Japan of postcards and Akira Kurosawa films.
Our first three weeks were spent in a 150 yr old traditional Japanese thatched house called a Minka (民家, literally house of the people) in a small farming village called Kasugae-Sasayama. This was an interesting and chilly experience given the unheated condition of the drafty old home. Japanese homes are designed for coolness and breathability during the excruciating summers and bundling up (and hot water bottling your bed) is de rigeur for winter as heating the whole house would be wasteful. But more on houses later.
We have arrived, settled, eaten well, started gardening (yes in the middle of winter this can be done in southern Kansai) and slowly began learning the minute and fine details of the Japanese language. So for now we shall say Sayounara, keep you posted!