Fall Term: Complete お疲れ様

The fall term has finally drawn to an end, and with that said, I have also found some time to finally update this blog. So much has happened between the last time I made a post until now, but I think I will just brush on some of the minor details, simply because I believe I post frequently and often enough on my Facebook page that there really isn’t a need to recap everything major that has happened.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
Cesare Pavese

I have now been living, working and teaching in Japan for a little over four months and have come to establish a type of routine that feels more and more, well… routine. I’ve also established a social life that includes traveling around locally (and abroad), as well as enculturating myself more into my community by joining a well-known taiko band/group and participating in local festivities and events. I’m still not ready to perform with my taiko group yet, but with more time and dedication I’m looking forward to the day that I’ll perform in front of a large group of people (and don’t fret, I’ll be sure to post pictures when I do). Along with all of these outstanding things, I’ve also become well-acquainted with some of my fellow Nara JETs and am fortunate enough to say that I’m thoroughly pleased with my placement, especially after hearing about how some AJET organizations sometimes lack the same type of bond Nara JETs tend to exhibit.

An AJET Xmas
A photo from our recent AJET Christmas Party with some of the local Nara JETs. Not everyone was able to make it, but it was a great time none-the-less.

Despite the fact that I’ve only been here for roughly four months, the time has already drawn near where we have to decide whether to re-contract, or not. Sadly, some of the faces above won’t be around for another year, but it has been great getting to know them. My contract organization recently approached me and asked me, and despite a recent rut that I was in – due to a bit of homesickness and actual sickness, I re-contracted and am officially extended until August 2016! (That seems so far away from now…)

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain

In other news, it’s somewhat difficult for me to fathom at the moment, but I’ll be leaving for Seoul with some friends, a few days from now. I was excited a week ago, but after a really strong cold-front that blew in recently, bringing with it snow and ice, my excitement has simmered down a bit. Seoul is going to be so much colder than my village, but (regardless) I will make the best of it.

Thanksgiving down in Totsukawa. I think I cracked a wise-ass comment that made some people crack up around me. What can I say? Hahaha
Thanksgiving in Totsukawa. Good times with good company.
The Basara Matsuri in Nara. I didn’t have time to practice and participate for this event due to back-to-back-to-back sports festivals that I attended, but it was a great sight to see my fellow JETs participate. :D Next year, I’ll do it. ;)

Lastly, 2015 is leering its head around the corner and I’ve already made some plans to do some traveling this next year. Some places that I’ve talked about traveling to with some fellow JETs consist of: Okinawa, Fukuoka, Taiwan, Thailand, Brisbane, Berlin, Italy, London, and perhaps even New York. Granted, I won’t be able to afford all the time and money to travel to all of these places within the next year, but I will definitely make an effort to try to travel to as many of these places as I possibly can. Time will inevitably tell how well-used my passport will be in 2015.

Anyway, it’s time to head to a Christmas party in Kobe. Have a great winter break, everyone! :D