Japan is *the* place to be…

Didn’t you know? Seriously. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but it’s kinda ridiculous how many people from Seattle are in Japan right now. Granted, I did major in Japanese in college, but some of these are totally and utterly random coincidences. Tokyo, of course, is the center of all things – Chan, Tina, Shelley, and Drew are doing the study abroad thing at Waseda and Aoyama, and Star just arrived to start a two-year research gig at Keio. Moving a little outward, I hear the other Tina is teaching somewhere in Saitama and just discovered that Andrew Enomoto is studying abroad in Chiba. Further south on Honshu, we find old friend Eric and former classmate Alexis down in Hiroshima-ken, both doing the JET Program. Honors-type and former apartment neighbor Raka is out in Hyogo-ken (also JET), along with a huge group of Seattle people that I don’t really know (it’s a sister-city thing). Shikoku is playing host to Yarun (JET), one of my residents from back in my RA days, and Andrew Kim (JET), a former Japanese major who is *hilarious*. And Kiley, another former resident of mine, is living it up on Kyushu, down in Fukuoka (yet another JET).

I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting and a bunch who I didn’t really know well enough to keep track of – but it sure makes Japan feel more like home when you know there are so many familiar faces floating around. And of course, that doesn’t even count any of the wonderful people I’ve met since coming to Japan – like Grace, Aaron, Melissa, Johanna, Steph, Heather, and the numerous others who haven’t yet jumped on the blogging bandwagon.

I’m glad the weekend is approaching. Today was a pretty minimal day at work, although it wasn’t really boring. The kids have been amazingly friendly lately. I “taught” two classes, which consisted of watching a video of Japanese horror stories (in Japanese) and listening to my English teacher recite a horror story called Yuki-Onna (Snow Woman) from memory (in English). I’m not really sure what that did for the kids. I mean, the story memorization was really impressive, but there’s no way the students (1st years) understood it – it was kinda like it was for my entertainment. He actually asked me to go back to the teacher’s room after he was done with his recitation. Hrm. On a side note, I’m pretty sure the [non-English-speaking] Japanese teachers were laughing at me when I left today – something about me giving too many “hai” answers and not enough elaboration. But you know, I don’t really want to start a conversation when I’m trying to flee the office. :) Ah well, laughter is good… right?

One of my goals for this year in Japan was to learn to worry less. It’s a tough thing to work on, but maybe I’ll get it down one of these days.