Safe and Sound in Japan

Hello from Japan! We are alive and well and settled into our apartment! We live in Nobeoka in a small, adorable community surrounded by rice paddy fields and rivers in the shadow of giant mountains that we are eagerly awaiting to climb. If your impression of Japan is the busy streets of Tokyo and the eclectic fashion scene of Hirajuku, well this place is far from your expectations. Nobeoka is a quiet city (except for the obnoxious giant cicada mating calls), inhabited by factory workers, fishermen, small families, surfers and the occasional monkey or wild boar. We have also come across several crabs that come up from the river banks while bike riding along the river paths through town. 

Our community is beautful

Our apartment is old but perfect. We have everything we need and more. We were blessed with amazing predecessors who made sure we were taken care of upon our arrival, supplying us with furnishing and essentials which has made the transition so much easier. Thank you Taryn and Mark!

Immediately when we arrived, our supervisors helped us settle in by getting our bank accounts set up, utilities hooked up and waiting several hours with us as we purchased our first cellular family plan. Big steps! 
In true Miyazaki fashion, our coworkers and supervisors have also introduced us to the local cuisine. People here LOVE food. We were surprised to find that the most famous and prized dish here is Chicken Namban, aka, fried chicken smothered in tarter sauce. Who knew.  Another local dish highly recommended by our students is spicy ramen or “karamen” (Kaya’s new favorite) from a restaurant called Masumoto. We have also eaten the Japanese staples: curry, sushi, miso ramen, udon, yakisoba, shabu shabu and all-you-can-eat self-grill bbq called yaki niku. The ladder we ate with the other ALTs from our region after a fun day at the beach. It was a blast! But of course we ate way too much. And it was so worth it.
And now work. We both work at high schools. Jon’s is about 5 min away and Kaya’s is 20 minutes away from the apartment. Kaya also works with special needs students of all ages every Thursday at a different school. Our students are still on break so the schools are very quiet. Some may come for clubs and practice but the only interaction we have had so far is with the few teachers that are in our staff rooms and in the halls along with our supervisors, principles and vice principles. All in all, we are left with a lot of time to prepare for the first lessons, study Japanese (Kaya is still learning the alphabets while Jon is reviewing for the JLPT), conversing with the teachers and acquainting ourselves with the schools. 
She’s a beaut

We also have a car and drive on the left side of the road like champs. With a few questionable lane changes and turns, we have managed to almost get the hang of it. Almost. We will continue to ride our bikes as much as possible until we absolutely have to save ourselves from the cold winter weather.

Travelling on this side of the world is also one of our main priorities. While we are here in Japan, we hope to travel within Japan and venture off to the nearby countries. That being said, we have booked our flight to South Korea! And now are in the process of mapping out our trip. We have a couple things that we know we want to do, like eat Korean BBQ and visit the DMZ. Other than that, we are up for anything.

Jon planning our trip to Korea

As we write this, we have just returned from our last training in Miyazaki City. While in Miyazaki, we met more wonderful JETs from America and South Africa. Since Miyazaki is much larger than Nobeoka, we took advantage of the big city life and experienced a Karaoke bar for the first time. What a hoot. No one does karaoke like the Japanese. 

Karaoke in Miyazaki City

There is still a lot to do before we begin our official first days as assistant English teachers but we are eager to start! As for now, we will continue to improve our Japanese cooking skills, wait for our internet to connect, plan our trip to Korea and go on our first hike!
Lots of love,
Jon and Kaya


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tawnya Pratt says:

    Thank you so much for sharing about your new life. It is wonderful to know how all is going with you two. Lots and lots and lots of love to you both. Mama


  2. Tawnya Pratt says:

    Thank you so much for sharing about your new life. It is wonderful to know how all is going with you two. Lots and lots and lots of love to you both. Mama


  3. Nicole says:

    Cicada mating calls!!! Hahaha lolz those are the worst.

    Your lives sounds so lovely and enriched! I wanna come visit. So stoked for you both, and now so hungry after reading this…

    Love and hugs!


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