Here I am in Tokyo meeting all the new JETs that arrived in Japan this week. I was also here last week for the first lot of new arrivals. It is a lot of fun, and I have met so many really interesting people. I love meeting new people! It's just a pity that most of them are heading off to all four corners of Japan, and we are unlikely to meet again. However, 30-odd of them are heading to my wee corner of Japan, Tokushima-ken. It's always good to have the opportunity to make new friends, and I hope that these guys have as great a time on the JET Programme as I'm having.
I find myself thinking of when I myself was a new JET, and how overwhelming it all seemed. The fast-forward to two years later, and here I am, on the welcoming commitee, navigating the Tokyo subway system like I've lived here my whole life. Truly, coming full circle like this is a "You've come a long way, baby" moment! :)
But two weeks in Tokyo is plenty for me, thanks very much! I like Tokyo, and it's good fun to come and experience big-city living for a while, since I'm so far out in the country all the time. But I find myself missing my rice paddies, cicada noises and limited choice of food! It takes a lot energy to live here, and I think it's something you need to get used to gradually. But we are busy all the time here, and I feel myself approaching something like exhaustion now. Looking forward to going home!
But of course, home doesn't equal rest and relaxation, especially during August. August in Japan is O-bon time, and in Tokushima, O-bon is Awa Odori time! Yeah! The festivites start on August 11th, with a "night before" performance danced in ASTI Tokushima, by some of the most well-known rens in Awa Odori. Dave will be dancing with his new group, and I'm hoping to secure some tickets to the show. August 12th is the last rehearsal for my group, Minoda-ren, and on the 13th, I get to go to the city to check out Awa Odori proper! It's my birthday that day, and hopefully some friends will be around to have some drinks and watch the dancing with. Minoda-ren dances from 14th-16th August in Miyoshi anjd Ikeda. Can't wait! Then maybe, just maybe, I might get a long-lie sometime after the 16th! ;)
But it's all good fun, and I wouldn't want to spend my summer any other way!