It would be smart to post where exactly I’m going… just maybe. I’m rather excited, though initially I was slightly put off because I’ll be so far from a close friend who’s currently over there already.
So this is me, or will be in about 8 weeks. My friend, Nathalie, is in Anan, Tokushima Perfecture. If you look at the directions, it’s roughly 8 to 9 hours of travel time between us either by train or car or whatever. It’s a long haul. Longer than either of us were looking forward to but hey, we’re looking on the brightside.
The areas about right between us are Shiga and Kyoto. What better places to meet and share a weekend? They’re big but not crazy big. This affords us cheaper food and lodging so we can spend more time enjoying the towns and less time fretting over costs. I can’t say from personal experience just yet but every single resource screams it at you “Japan is EXPENSIVE. Be prepared”. I think if I’m smart and turn down my princess meter a gauge or two, I’ll do just fine.
A little bit about Shika: It’s the boonies. There are no less than 15,000 people living there, limited stores and activities. BUT I have put my meager Japanese skills to the test and have been clicking away on Google Earth to find the goodies close by. Things like the Silk Beach in Hakui, 30 minutes south, or the confection museum in Shika (drool!), a type of hotspring/resort area on a cliff in Shika, really interesting looking temples and natural made rock formations on the sea side, and (the best part) my very own locally grown farmer’s market with some 300 farmers there.
Of course, many natives have already told me that the best way to see the true Japan is to get out of the cities, stay in the countryside. And I thankfully have Hakui and Nanao within an hour’s drive. Also, two hours drive gets me to Kanazawa or Toyama. I say drive because I’ll have to have a car for my town but once I get to Nanao or Hakui, I can pretty much take public transport anywhere in the country.
Then there’s the most awesome fact for me. The awesome of awesomes. I will be living near the sea. A large body of water which connects to other large bodies of water. I realize Japan’s an island, but I could’ve landed in center Nagano or Maebashi. I’m sure it’s great there but I’ll take waves over mountains any day. I am a ocean kind of girl. My name even means “gaurdian of many waters” or “ocean goddess”. Oh and when I say living near the water, I mean I have been actively searching and in contact with realtors about certain apartments that are as close to the ocean as possible. Oddly enough, these are also really close to the main schools in Shika.
So it’s not all bad, right? Somehow, I’ll survive… that was total sarcasm.
Anyone out there in the Ishikawa area reading this, you should let me know. The more friends I have before I get there, the better.
One last thing before I close – I received my email from my branch office, evidently in Osaka this morning. They have advised that I fly into Osaka airport and travel from there to the hotel for us, which also right next to the office for training. That’s all well and good except flying into Osaka costs a good 400-500 dollars more AND stops in Tokyo on the way, usually for a minimum of 3 hour layover. I am seriously debating flying straight to Tokyo and hoping on a shinkansen into Osaka for 200 dollars less and many hours less. I think after 16 hrs, I’ll be sick of flying for a while. However, all this is speculative based on a roundtrip ticket because the one way tickets… are almost exactly the same for Tokyo and Osaka. The roundtrip tickets are always cheaper but I have no idea what the holiday schedule is for my August break yet. Some schools let out the week before August, some the week after July. I just don’t know. Too much to think about.
I hope this was somewhat informative. If you have any questions, ask away. I may edit them into the post, even.
With love -M