Travel Journal of my Time in Japan

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June 19, 2002

I leave for my exciting, scary and interesting Japanese adventure in mid-August. As I write this, that's less than two months away. But I will be ready. So far I have been to the doctor, gotten new glasses, filled out my wardrobe, etc... still more things to do, but it's not stressful - yet! I'm sure those last two weeks will be crazy.

After a week of training in a Tokyo suburb, I will take a bullet train to Nagaoka where I'll be living for the next year. To find Nagaoka on a map of Japan, look northwest from Tokyo, all the way to the other side of the island, to the Sea of Japan. Find Niigata, and then go south a little bit. It is supposed to be a small city nestled in the mountains at the base of the Japanese Alps. I read in a book that Nagaoka is "the snowiest place on Earth." How cool is that? I'm looking forward to it.

Link to an interactive map of Japan from the Japan National Tourist Organization website.
Link to the Home Page of the Japan National Tourist Organization website.
Link to my employer's website AEON Inter-Cultural Corporation

I've been in contact with the teacher I will replace. His name is Ryan, and he seems really nice. He says Nagaoka is not too big, and not too small. He says that I lucked out on my assignment. I will take his apartment when I get there, and he says there is a shower in addition to a bath tub (which is unusual in Japan), and another foreign (not Japanese) teacher living just down the hall. Oh, and apparently the landlord is okay with visitors - so I hope some of you will plan on visiting.

Hopefully, I'll be able to use my laptop in Japan. Ryan seems to think it will work for me. Apparently there's a place I can go and plug in my own laptop. If all goes well, I will be able to check email quite often. Please feel free to email me lots and lots. Here's a link to my email address at smitty22222@yahoo.com. This might be changing just before I leave because this address receives too much spam for my liking. But if I do change it, I will let you all know. Also I'm hoping to be able to put updates on here on this website regularly for anyone who's interested. Maybe I will be able to post photos. If I can provide updates, they might be just text like this, but that'll be better than nothing.

Thanks for all the support I've gotten from everyone!

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on to July 1, 2002