Since my first trip to west Japan when I was 17, I've dreamed of living and working here. I've visited the country more than 5 times, and even taught for a corporation last fall. This year, I started teaching at a private Japanese high school, complete with Japanese co-workers and supervisors, and daily meetings and memos. I'm teaching not only EFL classes, but Humanities courses as well, which has been a another goal for a few years.
With all that came the necessity of independently getting 3 different apartments and establishing the necessary services in Japanese with no help aside from the ol dictionary.
My virgin 6-tatami mat bedroom
view from the balc
Once established, my friend Zack inspired me with 2 life-changing habits: saving and biking. One thing about teaching full-time here is a salary almost double of what I made back home. Being used to living on the previous amount, I hadn't gotten used to blowing all the extra money on...whatever people spend money on. Instead, I paid off most of my debt and started investing. I'm glad to have made this habit before marriage and kids, as I imagine it would be much harder to have to convince someone else to do it, too.
But there was definitely some spending going on when I went to NYC for the first time this summer, followed by Connecticut. After meeting my niece for the first time in Seattle and heading over to see my mom in Baltimore and DC, I spent a grand total of 6 hours in the Big Apple. I would have wanted to stay only to get hungry again and eat. It was clean and safe, the streets were full of life, but the hype was hype
The thing I like about tourist towns is that the shopowners are usually ready to make jokes, and a few Yorkers were so into goofing around that I had to interrupt them to get some service. I actually prefer that rather than the peppy assistant or the watchful glare of the elderly clerk who doesn't trust any of her customers. Seoul, Tokyo and Bangkok all do the metropolis thing way better, though the availability of $1 slices of (I refuse to call it pie) and delis that take themselves seriously are NYC hallmarks.
Connecticut. Trees. Big houses. Strong sense of property. I have a feeling that if I were to retire in America, that would be the place. As a single person, though, not yet...
My buddy Wil, on the balcony of the tallest building in New London, CT
Other 2013 highlights include Life of Pi, Pacific Rim, finishing three book trilogies (Hunger Games, The Rho Agenda, Wretched of Miurwood), Batman: Arkahm City, the 23-hour Tomb Raider marathon, Breaking Bad, going to the Robot Restaurant last night, and living a slightly healthier life.
First experiences: teaching subjects, NYC, Connecticut, meeting my neice, Robot Restaurant, French bread cooking class.
Lifestyle changes: 3 apartments in Japan, saving 50%, investing, biking
Games: Tokyo Gameshow, Extra Life, Mass Effect series, Batman: Arkham City,