When I first arrived in Japan I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. The allure of a new country, culture, and chapter in my life elevated me to endless optimism. As the winter begins to settle in and the days become shorter the sense of vertigo is dwindling. That is not to say that I am in anyway NOT enjoying Japan because I really am; this is exactly where I need to be in my life and I’m sticking to that. The difference is that my time here in Japan is becoming less like a vacation and more like…my life.
In August I didn’t know what to expect and everyday there was something new. It is now December and there are less surprises and things are more of a routine. This might seem bad, however, it has given me the opportunity to maximize my involvement in the community and feel more like a resident of Osato rather than a guest.
For example, twice a week I play soccer with my Junior High School students in the town’s gym. On Wednesday’s I go to the town’s culture hall and practice with the taiko group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko). Also, the local dentist has invited me numerous times to play soccer with his team, Football Club Potato Chip. (As a side note, the last game of the season was yesterday and I scored 5 goals. It was unbelievable). This coming Sunday he has invited me to come to his Rotary meeting, of which he is the President.
So the first three months of JET were me settling into life in Japan, traveling everywhere, and figuring out how to live on my own in a foreign country. There is certainly still a lot of that going on, however, I am now transitioning to “real life” in Japan instead of vacation life.