I have been hesitating about writing about my life in Japan in a blog format. Don't get me wrong, I have been writing and keeping track of my experiences here so far, but I am not really a blogger. There are so many blogs about living overseas or teaching English in Japan (there are just way too many blogs in general) and I was not certain I wanted to put another one out there, but I have decided that I'm going to try to make this a space where I can document my time here and share it with those who are interested. I also kind of want to get away from using Facebook as my point of contact with everyone.
So...here I am living my life in Japan. I'm living in the Yaeyama islands to be exact, which in itself is probably one of the most remote islands of Japan (at least distance wise). I'm very far away from mainland Japan and even a trip to Okinawa takes at least one hour by jet plane (and not a tiny plane either, a commercial jet). Someone made a comment recently that not only am I not in Japan, I'm not really even in Okinawa, though the Yaeyamas are part of both Okinawa-ken and Japan. The people here would identify as Japanese, but I think it is quite different from most of the other areas of this country.
The Yaeyama region is very interesting and I'm really happy to have the opportunity to live here. It's definitely the inaka, but with the added bonus of it being a tropical paradise island (and since it is a Japanese island, it does not have the economic and social issues that many tropical paradise islands have in this world, ie extreme poverty coupled with large amounts of wealthy tourists to add to the disparity).
While I love being a city girl and miss not having the opportunity to go see as much theater, film or art as I was used to when living in NY, there are many things here that I find really exciting and lots of cultural traditions that are extremely fascinating. In all honesty, while I lived in NYC, all I could think and dream about was a life less stressful, less mean, less cynical and less aggressive.
Well, Ishigaki sorts that all out very nicely.
Here's to a year in the country and a year in paradise!