I’ve had a special request from one of my faithful readers that I use this blog post to share my fears and excitements about moving to Japan.
The truth is that enough things provoke fear and excitement within me to write about each one individually from now until I leave in August! It’s almost official now that I’ll be leaving for Japan the first week of August. I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with my supervisor, Yamadate, about my start date.
I’ve actually already met Yamadate, which is a story for perhaps the next blog entry. Each one of my fears (the language barrier, being away from my family and friends for such a long time, the food!) and excitements (getting outside my comfort zone, learning more about all things Japanese, meeting new people/making friends) will also be blog subjects in the near future, so stay tuned!
But for now, I want to write a little more about what I learned from looking at materials about Kuji.
I knew that Kuji and Franklin are sister cities, but I did not realize that Kuji has another sister city besides Franklin, Ind. – Klaipeda, Lithuania. So I’ll probably be living and working with people from Lithuania! Cool.
I love what one of the brochures says about the people from other countries who go teach in Kuji, from both Franklin (that would be Liz and me!) and Lithuania:
“The children in Kuji City…learn to recognize the differences of the city’s practices and cultures from other foreign countries. Through international exchange with these cities, the children in Kuji will grow up with confidence, vitality, and greater comprehension of both their own and other cultures.”
At first, it seemed strange to me that they’re referring to the Unites States as a foreign country! After all, I’m going to a foreign country, not coming from one! It will definitely be an interesting experience to be in the minority, the foreigner. And I really love how it sounds like I’m responsible for the self-confidence and vivacity of children in Kuji! No pressure. Seriously though, I’m sure that I’ll learn just as much, if not more, from them as they learn from me.
Another paragraph from the brochure says: “Kuji City will be the place where every citizen will extend their help to each other, supporting one another and living in harmony. As a whole, Kuji City will continue to blaze with cheerfulness.”
Kuji blazes with cheerfulness!?!? This is great! Sounds like my kind of place! Also, Melissa (who is teaching in Kuji now and graduated from Franklin two years ago) told me that people in Kuji are generally very friendly and go out of their way to be helpful, so that’s good. Kuji also claims that it is a “center of interaction.” This is also wonderful news for me because I love to interact. After reading more about Kuji and seeing Melissa's pictures of Japan, I’m definitely looking forward to interacting with the people there – whether everyone really lives in harmony or not.
Sayonara for now.