Let’s Crack On

Everyday for the last month, I’ve woken up and been reminded about how fortunate I am, and also how proud some people are of me.

Well folks, I’m back in Japan and (now that I have internet once more) will be updating you on all my little adventures as I talk to you from Takibe, a village in the town of Houhoku-chou, a mountainous town that in 2005 became a part of Shimonoseki-shi, the largest city in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the largest Prefecture on the main island of Japan, Honshu.

After a few days in Tokyo I headed West to start my new life, and since it’s been a good few weeks since that i won’t go into every single detail right now. But what I can say is that I have been to three festivals, danced in one of them, seen two awesome fireworks displays, rented a car, got a Japanese driving licence, stayed in a cabin style capsule hotel, bought a stuffed toy to be my housemate, took a stroll in an inactive volcano crater, and engaged in an intense war on insects dwelling in my home (kind of an ‘I was here first’ vs ‘I’m paying the rent now’ battle).

My little house in the country

So lets start out with my house. It’s a great place and my little towns awesome too. It’s the complete opposite of the cities I’ve become used to, be they Leeds or Osaka (Telford? hmm … ), so everyday instead of traffic and other noise I here the sound of nature. Yeah, sometimes that nature can be pretty loud, particularly the cicadas!

On the topic of bugs, every few days or so I go to the local store for a top-up of strong roach spray. I’m determined to get these little buggers out of here (or at least make them pay some rent).

Bug bomb, I choose you!

One problem though is that insects & bugs are seasonal, so even if I wipe out all the roaches now, I know I’m doomed to have some other creature come winter. I’m also tackling the emerging threat of spiders. By the way, if you’re ever looking for an arguement for evolution, Japanese spiders jump (literally) out of the way when you go to whomp them!

Only way to be sure they're gone is to check every (tom) nook.

Living in the countryside a car is an absolute must. Doing my job I will be going to 13 different schools spread far and wide, so without a car my worklife would be almost impossible.

The car I'm renting.

On a recent overnight trip to nearby Fukuoka, home of baseball team the Softbank Hawks …

I saw these little guys sitting on the back of the bus.

I wanted to try sleeping in a capsule hotel. Unfortunately the one I found was a bit too expensive. However I stumbled across a ‘cabin’ hotel which has a similar concept. I’d describe it as sleeping in hostel dorms but with a lot more privacy (and pretty comfortable too!).

The cabin hotel. Yes I had lots of leg room.

Soon Yamaguchi will host a sports tournament and have one of the cutest mascots I’ve seen for quite some time. I couldn’t help but buy a stuffed toy of him. He’s become quite a reliable housemate.

'Choruru', named after a phrase in the local dialect, with a head representing the Chinese characters for Yamaguchi.

It took a little longer than I’d wanted to visit a shrine or temple since arriving, but I finally got around to it on a recent trip up to Hagi after getting my Japanese driving licence (I’ll write a seperate blog entry for that later on).

The Shoin Shrine.

The first festival I went to was a fireworks battle between Shimonoseki city and Kitakyushu across the Kanmon Straights.

An awesome display of fireworks, even saw a couple of Pikachu fireworks.

My second festival was also in Shimonoseki City, the Bakan Festival (Bakan being the old name for Shimonoseki). I had to try and learn a dance for this festival, and since I lived too far from the practice classes, had to kinda go with the flow. I don’t think I did too bad … I hope, rather.

Let's Dance!

And finally last night was my local town’s (Houhoku-chou) festival. A lot of cool stage events, and lanterns to enjoy.

Lanterns made from plastic bottles.

And of course a fantastic fireworks display.

This was taken near the start, but the fireworks at the end were really stunning.

Well folks, that’s about it for a very quick round up. As I say now I’ve got actual internet I’ll keep you updated a lot more often. I invite you to check out my Twitter feed as I often update my smaller comings and goings on there. So, until next time!