January 2015

Happy New Year, everybody!

January is in many ways a false start. Besides the year, one of the few things to begin again are school terms. And those aren’t even the start of a new school year! At my university, the month was dedicated to intensive month-long classes, and I partook all three Januarys during which I was enrolled. Chemistry was a review and thus dull, Buddhism and Yoga at the same time was enlightening, but by far, my favorite class was Cultural Psychology in Japan. It was my first visit to this fascinating country we live in.

Of the fourteen students in the class, I was the only one that could say anything beyond ありがとうand こんにちは, which proved to make me a highly sought-after travel buddy as we listened to lectures and explored the culture in places ranging from Tokyo to Hiroshima to Wakayama. As far as first visits go, it was pretty jam-packed and educational. It also served to nurture the seed of my wanting to live here. I anticipated only one year.

To start your year off right, we have many articles for you to peruse. Newcomer Jappy shares her experience of volunteering with the deaf and blind and how language impacts our lives. Rackle advises us on inexpensive transportation options for traveling around and there is also a review of Nagasaki, just in time to plan before the Lantern Festival next month. Scott returns with an entertaining take on onsen. Sometime Last Week also returns with its fifth chapter and is joined by the first part of a story about one thespian’s darkest deed. There is also a review of the most recent book club meeting, an alumni article by former Hyogo JET Louie Bertenshaw, and a piece on the decision to recontract.

Mere weeks into my first JET year, I knew one year would be insufficient. Sometime between then and last January, I amended that sentiment to two years wouldn’t be enough. But alas, now I must go. I have decided to make way for the new and get back on track with my chosen career path. Only you will know when is best to stop your road trip. Do keep in mind that we’re not even halfway through this year, though: keep your eyes peeled for fun experiences, regardless of whether you will stay or go. Let’s make the next eight months unforgettable.

Brittany Teodorski

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