Source: Memoirs of a Gaijin
When you move to a new place it can be hard to find new friends. It’s hard enough when you move across the country, let alone across the world. I’ve been here in Japan for about a year, and in that time I have made many friends and discoveries to enliven my time here.
But with each year comes fresh faces to Gunma, and they do not have those same connections. So last weekend, myself and some other Gunmans carried on a tradition of friendly competition to help everyone get to know each other.
The goal was the Golden Cabbage, but the prize was the friends made along the way. This is the Story of Gunma Games 2019.
Setting the Scene
Gunma Games has been an annual tradition of the Gunma Area JET Organization, or GAJET for brevity’s sake, for seven years now. GAJET is all about bringing people together to make Gunma feel like home, and I joined the 2019 staff to lend a hand in that regard.
It’s not common knowledge outside of Gunma that there exist four different regions:
*Tone & Agatsuma are combined for administrative purposes*
In addition to the executive positions, there also exist representatives for each region. I sit on the committee as Tobu’s representative, and my main purpose is to motivate my fellow Tobu-ites to attend GAJET events.
Talking Up Tobu’s Heart
Petty inter-region rivalries exist, but during Gunma Games they tend to exist at their most volatile. After all, there’s nothing better than a day of competition to stoke the flames of contention. Tobu, as the reigning champions of 2017 and 2018, was the region to beat.
Due to its size, Seibu always has players who are unable to join any games, and it’s common to see their members defect for a better chance to play. 2018’s Gunma Games …continue reading
Source: Gaijin Pot
Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. As the songs say, it is a time for joy, a time for family, a time for presents and various other forms of merriment.
Perhaps even more so than Valentine’s Day, Christmas is the time of year in Japan when couples fully express their love for each other, usually in the form of elaborate, extravagant dinners and over the top gifts.
However, for some, it can be a very depressing time. If you’re single, Christmas can be a pretty depressing time. It can often seem like you are the only man or woman in the entire universe who doesn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend.
And even for those of us lucky enough to be in a relationship, Christmas can often be a solitary experience in Japan, as our Japanese partner, and sometimes even us too, are forced to work on Christmas Day, since Christmas is not a recognized holiday here.
It would be very easy to go all Ebenezer Scrooge on the whole thing, just say “Bah! Humbug!” and try to forget Christmas even exists. It doesn’t have to …continue reading
Source: Purple Pen in Japan
It snowed in Hamamatsu! Yay!
I’ve lived here for almost 3 years and this is the first time I saw a considerable amount of snow. It snowed enough to cover the grounds in thin white blanket. When I walked to school this morning, the looked winter-picture perfect. Soooo lovely and a little slippery.
Hamamatsu is on the coast of the Pacific so it rarely snow like this. It doesn’t snow in Shizuoka prefecture actually. Most cars in Hama are not equipped to deal with slippery roads. The result? Heavier traffic than usual. Even the buses are slower than their usual turtle pace so they are late. Because the bus was late, I was late in going to school too. Just for 5 minutes though so the vice principal didn’t mind it. Other teachers were late too.
This is the snowfall data from Current Results. See, it doesn’t snow in Shizuoka where Hamamatsu is.
Source: Gaijin Pot
In my last article, I outlined some important questions to ask yourself as you decide to give birth in Japan or back in your home country. Even if you decide to move, you don’t need to leave immediately; you can receive prenatal care in Japan while you work on your plans.
The usual procedure for pregnant women in Japan is to see an OBGYN at a Ladies Clinic, where she will then be referred to recommended hospitals to give birth. Finding the right English speaking OBGYN in Tokyo can be daunting because many offices are extremely busy (despite Japan’s low birth rate) and you have to find a doctor who you feel comfortable with.
It’s true that Japanese doctors have a reputation of being a bit cold and not open to questioning. I certainly found this to be the case with my first OBGYN. I felt nervous every time I saw her, and when I asked her questions, she was very short and impatient. She especially did not like my husband being with me for the check ups. Finally, I had enough and decided that I needed a doctor who would be excited with me.
After some searching, I found Dr. …continue reading