As stated in a previous post, while I was in graduate school and dealing with cancer, I kept a picture of cherry blossoms in Kyoto as a reminder of my goal to live in Japan.
Additionally, my Japanese professor had told me that Fall and Spring are the most beautiful times in Japan and that everyone should experience hanami (お花見 – cherry blossom viewing) in Kyoto at least once.
Thus, this past weekend in Kyoto fulfilled both a long time goal and a promise I made to my professor.
I arrived late Friday night. After checking in, I walked to Kiyomizudera for night viewing or illuminated cherry blossoms. During the day, cherry blossoms are bright and vibrant and bursting with color. At night, illuminated and backlit, the sakura have a ghostly and electric look, like neon halos.
The next day I headed to Heian Shrine for day time viewing. The shrine gardens had trees that were heavy with blossoms and sweeping branches, long and laden with flowers.
After, I took a boat ride through the Okazaki canal for a different perspective of Kyoto and it’s sakura.
It began raining heavily, so I headed back to my hotel and sadly had to cancel my plans for further viewings that night.
The next day I took a small side trip to Osaka. Den-den town has become a favourite area of Osaka to visit. It’s the electronics center of the city, and one can find old school games, anime, manga, toys, etc.
There’s a certain bit of joy to be had while walking around Den-den and hearing chip music pouring out of the shops.
The new academic year has started and this means a lot of shuffling teachers and staff. In Kibichuo, all four JHS were closed and consolidated to one new JHS. This new school is really nice with modern equipment and lots of natural light. There are for JTEs there, one of whom is my neighbor.
Oh, by the way, I have neighbors now.
One of the hardest aspects of living in Japan has been my immensely remote location – with a house so far out in the country side that I have no neighbors. However, my house is part of a small complex of houses, all of which have been empty (except for mine).
Last month, three new people moved in to the complex – and all of them are teachers at the new JHS. The new English teacher lives directly across the path from me, and the science and math teachers live about 40 meters from me.
Having neighbors means I can practice my Japanese. I’ve literally been getting worse at Japanese because I have so few chances to use it, but now I’ll have many more chances to practice – which I am excited about.
Additionally, I am going to Fukuoka in August for a two week intensive course. I’m extremely happy about that.
Moreover, one of my new schools is literally down the street from where I live – a very short walk (maybe five minutes?) and I am there.