New town, new faces, new experiences…
About 3 weeks ago I moved from Kudamatsu to Fukuyama. Fukuyama is about a 3 hour`s drive by highway east along the coast from Kudamatsu. There`s many reasons why I moved, and I`m happy with my decision. While I live in a bigger city (around a population of 460,000), I teach in the town next to it, which has a smaller population of 58,000. I enjoy the many things to do and see in a bigger town, but I also like the environment and attitude of the smaller town, especially job-wise. Here`s some highlights:
Big town Fukuyama
Many libraries… with an English book section!
So many restaurants to try, and the variety is wider
The shopping… also has more variety, and a Gap
Big scale festivals. Fukuyama has a Rose festival in May I want to go to
Fukuyama has a castle
Better public transit and to more places
Usually a bit warmer than the rural, mountainous areas
Small town Kasaoka
Beauty of nature, including mountain views
Not as crowded and full of traffic jams
2 words: island beaches
More relaxing atmosphere
Smaller class sizes for me to teach
An international exchange group
Less people means less names for me to memorize
Living in a bigger city means more internationalization. In a metropolis like Tokyo, you`ll see more translated into English, more foreigners, and more places adapted for them. If you`re looking to live a more traditional Japanese lifestyle and learn Japanese day-to-day survival-style, the countryside is better. I`m glad I have the opportunity to live in a mid-sized city yet experience the culture of a smaller part of Japan. While I have pangs of jealousy for those who live in the big metropolises, where they have endless selection of things to do, see, and eat, I`m content to live a slower, more inexpensive life where I can focus my study of Japan and its language.
I have a total of 3 junior high schools. My main school`s total amount of students is about 400 students, and the other two are 18 and 7, respectively. The school with 7 total is on an island, so once a week I`ll be riding a ferry for about 30-40 minutes to this small island, where I`ll be teaching in a school with a beautiful beach view from the windows:
The 18 student school is also on a shore of a former mountainous island. The water between the mainland and the island was filled in and converted to farms for food crops a long time ago. Even though this school is now part of the mainland, it`s tucked by the seaside and surrounded by mountains. The area boasts that it has over 88 small shrines scattered about the mountains. While my main school doesn`t have unique surroundings, it makes up with a big student body and many activities and opportunities. Having only 3 schools gives me the chance to visit all my schools more often, and interact with the students/teachers more, for which I`m very happy.