Well it finally happened. I’m no longer waiting in JET limbo. Last night I received my placement in Japan and found out what city I would be living in.
Drum roll, ladies and gents.
As of July 29th 2017 I will be employed by the Board of Education for Takasaki-shi (city), Gunma-ken (prefecture). I had never heard of Takasaki before so I had to do a quick google search to figure out where the heck I was going.
My heart almost dropped as at first, when the map was zoomed the little place marker looked like it was in Tokyo, literally the one place I asked not to be placed. After I zoomed in though I realized I was outside of Tokyo. Only an hour an about 20 minutes to the center of Tokyo. After I got over the initial “Jesus Christ they put me in the one place I asked not to be” I began to dig deeper (well as deep as googling Takasaki can get you) into the city. The city is known for being the origin of the Daruma doll, cabbage, and something called konnyaku which is some type of root vegetable.
It is basically the flattest part of Japan and is dead center in the middle of the entire country. There is even a city in Gunma that has a belly button festival where people paint their stomachs and dance around, so I mean that’s pretty cool. It’s no penis festival though.
On my application I had requested Hyogo prefecture or Kansai, but I’d left the third preference blank. I’d kind of hoped that I’d get close to those places since most of my Japanese friends live there. I was shocked and slightly nervous about not being placed somewhere familiar. Since I’d never heard of Takasaki I automatically assumed I’d been placed in a super tiny city with no trains or buses. I was wrong though! Not only is there trains and buses, but there are two bullet train routes that pass through!
The city merges with the capital city of Gunma, Maebashi. From central Takasaki, it takes 20 minutes to the nearest Costco (thank all the kami), and there is so much to do in the city. And when I get bored, I can just hop on the train and visit Tokyo. It really is the perfect situation — a not too overwhelmingly large city and near an overwhelmingly large city.
I’m very excited to start my new life in Japan! Hopefully in the next little while my predecessor will contact me and I will start to fit the final pieces together.
Only 10 weeks and 1 day!