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What is Life Like in Rural Japan?

Rural Japan - Maruyama
Photo Credit – Pixabay / AIWorldexplore (No changes were made to this image)

When one thinks of Japan, the first images will usually be of a bustling metropolis.

Tokyo is one of the commercial centers of Asia, a bustling city packed full of innovation, technology and commercial ventures. Metro Tokyo confirms it houses around 11% of Japan’s overall population, making it the most densely populated city in the country.

Away from the big city, Japan is a country full of beautiful countryside and tradition; although that is rarely the image of the country westerners see. When tourists visit, they flock to the metropolis to experience life, but rarely take the time to find out what the other side of Japanese culture is like, the one set in the rolling hills and fields of the countryside. Expatbets states that the rural areas of Japan are enchanting with immutable tranquillity and serenity. It is also a land of tradition, with a feel for its heritage and history like nowhere else on earth.

Read more: What is Life Like in Rural Japan?

Feb 2006 - Decadent Dinners & Gettin' on NHK

These Dogs Are Barkin'
I had dinner with one of Kayo's coworkers--an older gentlemen named Uchida-san that really loved talking about his many dogs.  He treated us to this upscale Japanese seafood restaurant.  You could tell it was a nice restaurant because the fish was not only fresh; it was still moving.  The kimono-clad waitress served us fresh, still-moving squid.  The squid looked quite angry at his unfortunate situation, so I asked the waitress in Japanese, "Is he angry?"  She replied, "Yeah, probably."  Then she poked him with a chopstick.  I felt kinda bad eating him as he was watching.  The decorated chef looked on with a satisfied smile.

After a decadent hyper-multi-course meal, Uchida-san insisted on taking us to a "second dinner" of sushi.  At the hole-in-the-wall sushi bar, the bar proved to be the main attraction and the 

Read more: Feb 2006 - Decadent Dinners & Gettin' on NHK

Nov 2005 - F'd Up Drink Machines and Spicy Curry

Japanese Bugs
Japanese bugs are weird!  I can't tell you how many times I go to my bike in the morning, and there is some green and purple thing with florescent wings and 15 legs crawling on it.  Weird!

Yumura Onsen
Kayo and I spent a weekend at a hot spring in Yumura recently.  The service at the Japanese inn (ryokan) was awesome.  The decor was so Japanese that I was prepared for a decadent ninja battle at all times.  Kayo and I took a walk around the small town wearing yukatas and wooden sandals.  Then we relaxed at the free public foot spa.  We had dinner served in our room, then later that night we took baths.  I like hot springs, but I don't like old Japanese men staring at my peas and carrot, so I covertly went to the bath late at night.  Lucky for naked me, I had the whole place to myself.  The next morning we had breakfast served in our room.  Our room attendant Kayo (same name) was a very sweet older woman, but I think she 

Read more: Nov 2005 - F'd Up Drink Machines and Spicy Curry

Sept 2005 - Motorcycle Gangs, 3-Hour Lunchbreaks, Time to Move On

Tottori City Library
There's a new city library that's really close to my house, so I've been going there lately to study Japanese.  It's nice and well-equipped, but there always seems to be a mother in there with a noisy, bratty kid that won't shut up.  Why would you take your noisy, bratty kid to a library of all places??

CA Winetasting
I visited LA for 9 days in August (during Obon vacation).  This time Kayo came with me--her first time to the USA.  It was awesome, but busy cuz I was visiting LA as a tourist this time.  Kayo and I went to Santa Monica, The Getty Center, Hollywood, a Dodger game, and Disneyland.  We even had time to take an overnight trip up to San Luis Obispo for wine tasting and a visit to Hearst Castle.  It was a great trip, but I needed more time to visit with everyone.

The 3-Hour Lunchbreak
Something changed in the Japan pension system recently so that any foreigners working over 30 hours now have to

Read more: Sept 2005 - Motorcycle Gangs, 3-Hour Lunchbreaks, Time to Move On

June 2005 - April Fools, Jusco Mornings, and Japanese TV Jaunts

April Fools!
My bosses Akiko and Maiko played an April Fools joke on me.  They pulled me into the interview room and told me that I had to be let go.  I kinda bought into it before they talked to me (they had me wait a bit) because I've heard horror stories of visa problems and stuff like that.  Anyways, it was an April Fools joke.  I hate April Fools jokes involving trouble at work, so I began plotting my revenge.  The whole day I acted like I was upset with them about the joke.  I went home after work and wrote an email that looked like it was from the trainer Alec at the AEON headquarters in Okayama.  It's an old and very easy computer trick that spammers use all the time.

Anyways, the email said that I had called him and told him that I was upset and that I want to submit a formal complaint to the head office.  It also said that he wants to talk with the two of them on a conference 

Read more: June 2005 - April Fools, Jusco Mornings, and Japanese TV Jaunts