My Big House in the Forest: Where I’m Living Now

Hi everyone!

Amazingly, I am back again with another post! This time I want to introduce something that I think that some people may be curious about, which is my living arrangements in the JET Program and also more information about the town since I am now living here and before I could only post Google Maps images and information from old blog posts.

My new home has been most recently known as Asagiri Town, having previously been 5 separate towns before 2003. It is located in the southern part of Kyushu and has a population of 15,796 people. The previous five towns/villages were called Menda, Ue, Sue, Fukada, and Ue and these names are still used as they probably were in the past, except now they are all apart of the same Asagiri-cho or Asagiri Town. I am currently living in the Fukada area and my workplace, the Board of Education is located in Menda. Although there is currently only one Asagiri Junior High School, the elementary schools are still distinct and I currently teach at 3 of them along with my 6 nursery schools and kindergartens.

This area is definitely rural and it is safe to say that it is the inaka (countryside) of Japan. Kyushu and Kumamoto Prefecture as a whole are fairly rural and agricultural. Although that has come with it own sets of challenges such as needing to have a car to survive, being far away from everything when it comes to travel, and the small town thing where you see the same people all the time and you have no privacy–this really is a beautiful area.

As for my actual living arrangements, I have been lucky enough to be set up in employee housing in an actual house. I am currently living on my own but next to another one of the town’s ALTs. The third ALT lives down the mountain near the community center which is still less than 3 minutes drive away.

Since we are living on a mountain surrounded by a forest it was especially scary during the typhoon season and now that the temperatures are dropping the mist is also very thick.

My town is called “Asagiri” which literally means “morning mist” although recently it has been afternoon mist as well. It still never fails to make me amazed when I drive across the bridge to work and the Kuma River is covered in a dense mist. You really cannot see more than 100 meters in front of you (as reported by the town newspaper since I still need to convert everything to miles to understand concepts of distance), and seeing cars suddenly appear out of the mist is like I’ve been transported to another dimension.

Another thing I am grateful for is that the house came partially furnished so I didn’t need to worry about major appliances. Honestly the house was kind of dirty when I moved in even though we have to pay over $400 cleaning costs when we leave and there were a lot of random things left in the cabinets that were also kind of gross, I can’t really complain because not having to buy things like a fridge or a sofa helped with my start-up costs  greatly.

These pictures are from when I first moved in and the first month or so of living in Japan, but now that I have been here for 5 months it’s so cluttered and messy that I can no longer share the current state of my house. I am happy to report that it now feels like a home though. When I first moved in, the nights were so dark and quiet (minus the random animal sounds from outside) that I was scared to shower at night and had to constantly play YouTube videos to create some background noise. Now I got my TV to work and it feels more like my space so it’s not as bad.

Since I have been buying things here and there like my coffee maker ($13 coffee maker from Nitori was my first splurge purchase) and just last week an air heater to try to make showering less painful in the cold, it is definitely one of the factors to consider as I make my decision on whether or not I will recontract until 2020.

If you have any specific questions about my house, my town, or where I am living please let me know!

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Thank you for reading ❤

Kira

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