I imagine there are some days when the rice fields are filled with brilliant green strands of life shining in warm golden sunlight … but that day was not today.
Today I saw a Kurobe that most gaijin don’t. Certainly there is great evidence in every town and city to allow Japan the title of being the tidiest country around, but they do an equally good of a job sweeping their trash into the closet where mom can’t see. When you do come across these piles of waste in Japan, it often first terrifies me, then I laugh, and it looks beautiful. What do you think.
Actually just last night I was out and talking with another JET (fellow gaijin English teacher) who had decided not to recontract. He has been here for a year, and having a good time, but also really sick of his life here. I love my situation here right now, but like Japan, its program for gaijin can have two very different sides. One specific thing that came up was the boredom at work. The job and its workload varies drastically throughout the year, and often from day to day , and depends entirely on where you work, and who you work with. The seniors graduated earlier this week and finals are finished, and now the rest of the school has another two weeks of class until Spring break comes and a new year begins. As a side note, students get about 10 days off while teachers still come to school. Now, it is during this particular time that there is absolutley nothing to do at work, but you still need to show up for your eight hours. I study Japanese and sneak into an English room to practice Aikido, but I guess it drives some others crazy. My friend said its driving him crazy and he just wants something to do. I understand completely, but I’ll be on the opposite where if you give me some boring worthless job, I’m just going to sneak off and do what I want. My friends’ other gripe was the region. You can certainly find an electronics store beyond your imagination as well as visit some interesting Japanese temples here in Kurobe , but it is by no means a Tokyo or Kyoto. In fact, I’m pretty sure every gaijin that comes here looks around in disbelief, as this is a Japan you’ve never seen a picture of (well until now). Actually , when I found out I was coming to Kurobe I immediately began researching the location, and all I found out was its next to the biggest mountains in Japan and one picture of a rice field with nothing reaching higher than the roof of a house. I had no idea how the place could be both, but it is, and with a rural working class to inhabit it. To my friend, he called it the podunk of Japan, and seemed less than happy to be here for the last year. Maybe he should have studied more Japanese, joined an Aikido class, or got on his bike by himself a little more. We all have our ways in life, but I think I kind of like this podunk Japan.
Like a child I was able to explore this backyard of mine with complete wonder. And like a child I felt like throwing a fit to find such a cool looking place like this locked. Its a park of some kind, but for some reason no one is allowed to enter now. I guess I’ll have at least one more reason to venture here again.