Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Ii tenki desu ne?

Translated into Southern it would be, "Beautiful weather, ain't it?" And boy was it! I had decided to go up to Hamakita Forest Park and check it out. The guys at Pulstec said there was good hiking there. But I don't really trust these folks when it comes to that sort of thing. But it turned out just fine. Not exactly the hiking we do in the North Georgia mountains. This is much more groomed. And there were signs everywhere. But it was still really great to get out in the trees and see some nature. Hamamatsu is completely urban, and the only critters you get are the usual suspects - pigeons, crows, sparrows, cockroaches, etc. But out in the Forest Park there were real critters. Song birds, butterflies, big honking spiders, lizards, etc. I even came across a skinny racoonish thing. Apparently I suprised him. He was just walking along and I noticed him before he noticed me. I just watched him for a few seconds. Then he looked up, froze temporarily and then skidattled hastily into the underbrush. It was pretty quite up there, I only ran into a few other people. All old, retired looking folk enjoying the great day. I spent 3 hours up there walking around, and probably only covered a quarter of the place. Absolutely going back there.


At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Chuck Hess said...

Hello Natalie. My name is Chuck, and I live in Dunellon Florida. I just turned 64 and have been retired for about nine years now. We live about twenty-five miles from the Gulf. I found out about your blog from your aunt (?) on an AARP message board. I find all of this fasinating! I've gone back to your archives and have read through July. This all sounds so interesting. How did you find a job like this? Have you ever done anything like this before? If you are teaching, what sort of credentials are required? How long is your contract for? As I read more, I'm sure that I'll have a million questions. I've all ready put you on my favorites list, and will check in on you every couple of days. I don't know about all this blogging stuff really, so if you would like to reply to any of my questions, my E-Mail address is: I hope that I hear from you.


At 1:22 PM, Blogger Sallie said...

I think you saw a TANUKI! YIPEE!! They are (I think) only in Japan, and famous in manga for their abnormally large testicles, which are said to give them their "power" (whatever that means). I played one in our Tosa-ben musical in the spring - pictures in my yahoo folder if you want to see. I haven't seen one in real life yet, but desperately hope to before I leave Japan!

Sounds like a great wander.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Nicole said...

Are you getting enough fish there Nat? Glad to see you're out and about and not just teaching. I wish I was there with you. It would be a hoot. How's gas prices in your neck of the woods. As of today, I paid $3.14 for regular gas. I need a bicycle. I can't afford these gas prices. Take care!


At 7:08 PM, Blogger Natalie said...


I came right home after spotting the strange little creature and tried to look it up on the internet. But I decided it wasn't the tanuki after I saw several sites. This guy was just to thin to be the tanuki that I saw pictures of, and the coloring was wrong. But now that I have checked some more sites I think it is a raccoon dog. So it seems to depend which site you look at. Sometimes Tanuki sites show badgers and sometimes they show raccoon dogs. And now that time has passed and I have looked at so many sites I can't really remember what it looked like. I am just so confused! Of course that is nothing new.


At 10:03 PM, Blogger Natalie said...


Well, I did some research on the whole "Teaching English in Japan". I read "Learning to Bow", and checked a lot of websites. Everything said it wasn't too hard, you just need ANY 4 year college degree and to be a native English speaker. I finally posted my resume on a site and submitted that resume to several openings they had listed. Also in the meantime I applied to the JET Program, which is the Japanese government program to place native English speakers in every Junior and High School in the country. But they aren't known for picking "older" applicants. The cutoff is 40 and I was 39 when I applied. I finally heard from the JET program and I wasn't selected for an interview (damn bastards!). But I when I was interviewed for this job I decided it might be perfect for me. The JET program has lots of faults (you can find many sites about those), and it relegates you to teaching one age group. Since I was interested in making this a career choice I decided I would like to try teaching all ages, so I could figure out what I enjoyed the most and what I was best at. As you may have read from the archives it ain't perfect, but it has been close to what I was looking for. Other than teaching so many 2 year olds. I think that somes up sort of how I got here. But feel free to ask anymore questions. And glad to hear from people who read the blog. I'm interested in who's out there!

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