It’s confirmed

My e-ticket has come through, and my reservation is confirmed: I’ll be in (and around) Tokushima from March 12-22. Sweet! My travel agent even found a deal today that let him shave nearly $100 off my ticket price since I last talked to him on Monday–extra spending money for me!

And in other travel-related news, Genna’s booked her plane tickets and will be in Atlanta at the end of February! She’s visiting a few people, not just me, but she’s staying one or two nights at my place. JET reunions are so awesome.

A while back I was really thinking that I wanted to do some traveling while I was here–not just to nearby cities like Takamatsu, but maybe spend a night in Kobe to check out some jazz clubs (like Sone), or spend a night or two in Koya-san, where Kobo Daishi is buried and where the 88-temple pilgrimage traditionally begins and ends…but I can save the sightseeing for a future visit. This time is for visiting my old haunts and seeing people and having a Japanese “epilogue.”

For four or five consecutive days this past week, I’ve received several letters and nengajo (new year’s postcards) from Japan daily, from teachers and friends and eikaiwa students. I really did send cards to nearly everyone I could think of in Japan, at least 40 of them. It’s really nice to know that they’re still thinking about me, though I knew they wouldn’t forget quickly, since throughout my two years there, my eikaiwa ladies would bring up my predecessor Dave, who’s a grad student in Calgary, and give me the latest news about him.

It’s funny–the day after my Japanese lesson this week, I got a sweet note (on Hayashi Seiichi stationery) from the groundskeeper lady at my junior high, the one I really related to because neither of us felt like we were really part of the staff the same way as the full-time regular teachers were. I only understood maybe 50-70% of what she said, and the same went for her letter–full of (fairly legibly) handwritten kanji and vocab that are kind of beyond me.

Even though I couldn’t fully understand her, though, I really did always like that she just talked to me normally and didn’t try to dumb down what she was saying for me. There’s something to be said for both sides of it: going for easy words means they’re accommodating my low language level in order to facilitate easier communication. However, regular communication, while intimidating, is also awesome–it’s a true immersive experience and it forces you to challenge yourself and study harder in order to keep up and follow along.

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