Monday, April 09, 2007

On the move again

Well, that's it. I've said my goodbyes to my third and final Japanese apartment and have moved in to a lovely Japanese home in the countryside within spitting distance of the mountains. A nice step up! The welcome here at the Takahashi household was fantastic, as expected. When we got here this afternoon with our second load of stuff, we found our furniture and beds setup upstairs in our very own little 2 room flat and there was some salmon cooking in the kitchen. Doesn't get much better than that! After a wonderful meal prepared by my mother-in-law, we watched a bit of TV before I called it quits, showered and headed upstairs. We've been up and going since 5AM this morning, so needless to say we are both quite knackered. It is nice to have the biggest part done though, the apartment is just about empty and it's ready to be cleaned. The shipping company came by this afternoon to pick up the 16 boxes of stuff which we'll be shipping ahead of us by sea. Keep your fingers crossed everything makes it to Ottawa ok!

Besides the move tiring me out, I didn't get to bed until midnight last night which made 5AM come up quite fast. Aiichirou and Fumi had a little get-together at their place last night, kind of a last farewell to Matt and I since we will both be leaving next week. As Aiichirou puts it: It was a "Get out of Japan" party. Other than Matt and I, the other guests were Anthony, Seiko and Kohei... at first. Aiichirou announced that a special guest would be joining us. Tied in with my visit to Ashio last week, Aiichirou had spoken of a gentleman who is running for city council and who is an activist on a whole range of fronts including trying to get the monument for the Korean workers at the mine built. Well, Aiichirou pulled some strings and had him take time out of his busy pre-election schedule to sit down and break bread with us. It was very interesting to have him along, and before he left he gave us a bit of a speech about his views and the kind of work he does. Between translation breaks from Aiichirou, his ideas sparked a very lively and entertaining conversation on all sorts of current issues in Japan. Those around us were quite impressed at how well versed I was on current issues, amazing what an Internet connection and no job will do to a guy... lol Seriously though, this whole "coming to Japan" thing for me was just as much about discovering the true and real Japan as it was about seeing the temples and travelling... oh yeah and teaching. Many people come here, do their year and leave all starry eyed about the fantastic place that Japan is, talking about how great the sushi is and happy that they learned Ikebana flower arranging. If that's all you're in it for, then fine, but those things are just the top layer of Japan. That's like coming back from a year in Europe and being happy to have visited Euro-Disney. I am glad to have met people like Aiichirou and Fumi who have opened up my eyes to a whole other side of the country, a side that most kawaii-crazed people around here don't know about, don't want to know about and couldn't care much less about. A good example of this is the re-election last night of Ishihara as governor of Tokyo. This is the moron, if you'll permit the use of the word, who said that women are useless to society after they lose the capacity to reproduce and that the foreign population in Japan (around 1-2%) is responsible for a majority of the crimes. Anywho, enough about politics.

So we have just a little less than 9 days left in Japan, hard to believe that this (almost) 2 year journey is coming to an end. Fortunately, I am bringing the best part of Japan with me. This will be a pretty busy week, without much chance to sit back and enjoy Cherry Blossom season much. Still have to finish up the move, than shut down all our accounts and cell phones and stuff, sell the car... sheesh! We do have a bit of a diversion this weekend though with Matt's farewell party, which we will be crashing.... with advance notice and tickets already purchased of course... lol An additional surprise is that Scotto will be coming to town for the weekend, looking forward to seeing him again after a year.

Anywho, I really should get to sleep. I promise to take some pictures soon, we spotted a nice tri-coloured plum tree on the drive here today I'll try to stop and get a shot of it tomorrow.



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