Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Touching Down.

My first blogged words.

To be honest this post has been a long time in the writing, or to be completely honest, a long time floating around my mind but things have been fairly hectic (in all the good ways) since touching down at Narita airport . So where to start?

Perhaps...............here.........or......................here. I guess that one should start at the beginning and in this case the beginning lies in the blog title itself. For those of you that are not sure to the title's meaning, Tavistock is the small town on the edge of the moor on the Devon-Cornwall border in which I grew up. Although in recent years I have gravitated towards more urban areas of England such as Leeds or London (and in many cases most of my experiences have been much richer in these places), in respect to time I have spent the vast majority of my life in Tavistock - Tavistock is home.

For those of you that are familiar with Tavistock, I'm sure you would refrain from any harsh criticism of the place, yet at the same time you would not jump to recommend it to others of a similar age as us. Essentially Tavistock is quiet and pretty yet lacks a true youthful energy (and why would it, it's a town in rural Devon?).

What I think I am saying in a roundabout way, and at the risk of sounding pretentious is that
I feel like I have come a long way geographically, but also mentally. This is not only in conceiving the idea of wanting to teach in Japan, but also researching a way to do so, successfully overcoming a series of interviews and hurdles, planning, packing and now, to have finally arrived here.

Tavistock and Tokyo could not really be anymore different. In fact the only similarity I can really ascertain between the two is that in both places 99% of the population is of the same colour / race. My town is predominantly white and Tokyo is predominantly filled with native Asian Japanese.
Step away from the tourist areas and you could walk around for a day and not see another foreign face. Having said this, the 12000 population of Tavistock is less than one thousandth of the population of this bursting metropolis I now grace.

Now I am the minority in Tokyo, the tall white boy, or as the Japanese affectionately term us foreigners - a gaijin (which literally translates to alien).

I expect Japan to feel foreign, but I have been here before and will not experience the culture shock felt by first time vistors. I will embrace the differences and relish the challenges. Besides, as they say, variety is the spice of life.