Wednesday, July 29, 2009


... it really sucks. It sure does.

It's been three months since I moved into my parents' house in this super-rural town. Yes, I love the beauty of the nature, fresh food and laid-back way of life. It could have been a paradise... IF I had a job and friends here. But the truth is I didn't -- still don't, and you know what I've learned? I can never enjoy life without them, no matter where I live!

For the record, I DID reach out. One day dad's friend told dad that in another small town, about an hour drive from here, some local people including "a native speaker of English" often get together to chat at a cafe, and I could join them. I was given the contact info. of the "native speaker of English" guy and emailed him. I haven't heard from him yet.

Also, I tried to join a local sports club to meet people and get some exercise. For several years I've been wanting to learn to play ping-pong. I was almost going to join one in Kochi city, but I left there before I started practicing. So after moving in here in my hometown, I kept looking.

The biggest problem, though, is that here in this rural place, "word of mouth" is almost the only way to get any information. No one have dared to put together the list of local sports or cultural clubs and contact information of the leaders. You just have to hear from someone that such and such club is meeting on which day and where, and actually be there to talk to the members.

Then one day dad heard from someone that there was a local ping-pong club practicing at city gym Friday nights, so I could go take a look. I did, and found out that it was a club for kids. It was so embarrassing.

The situation is not any better regarding job hunting. There is no employment agency in this city; you have to drive for about an hour to the neighboring city to use their service. I did go there, but found nothing good. There is no such thing as a "community bulletin board" anywhere. Even the community newsletter issued by the city doesn't have a section like that nor a classified ads section. Yeah, I could put up an ad on the prefectural newspaper and say, "I can teach English" or something -- if I could afford it. Or maybe more realistic idea would be placing an ad on the Internet for free, which I'm going to do soon. Wish me luck... The majority of people around here do not even know what the Internet is. Hope someone who does know and lives within a driving distance becomes interested in learning English one day ...

Such being the case, I had to depend on dad's network. Lousy idea, but I've got no other choice, right?

As I had expected, it's not working out. Though I truly appreciate his enthusiasm to help, I'm not counting on it, to tell you the truth... He doesn't really understand what I can do and want to do. He doesn't even know the word "computer" and calls it a "machine." So his description of my ability is like, "She is always doing something with her machine." LOL And no matter how many times I explain to him what I can do and what my plans are, an overnight sleep seems to reset his memories. And no matter how much I plead, he wouldn't let me talk directly to any of his acquaintances. HE must be the one to set it all up, always, which caused several troubles in the past... But he's not going to change, you know. *sigh*

But I shouldn't be totally discouraged. There IS a bright side. This afternoon I'm going to go to a three-day lecture on local geology by a high school teacher. It's a summer course at a local night school (i.e. high school for those who work in the daytime) and open to community people for free of charge. It should be fun. I'm pretty much looking forward to it.
posted by obachan, 7/29/2009 09:47:00 AM


Obachan, I am so sorry you are having a difficult time. I have had several big moves (new job in a new country or in a different state) and each time I swear that it takes 2 years to really settle in so be patient. The first year you feel odd because you have not made friends yet and don't have activities lined up. In low times I would wonder who would come to my funeral if I were to die...

The second year you begin to have friends and activities and the third year it feels like you have always lived there. I would expect the same to be true when moving home if one has been away for a long time.

It sounds as though you are doing the right things -looking for classes and clubs to meet people. Do you have other relatives in the area you could recruit for the job search?
commented by Anonymous Nicole now living in upstate NY, 8/01/2009 10:58 AM  
Hi there,
English and computer are great assets and should be in need even there I guess. If there are kids around, and a school nearby you could offer your services. How about ping pong in English? Or a stall in a farmers market? Ads in the local supermarket? Just ideas. I also live in the countryside after many years in the city and it feels lonely at times. Work, except for voluntary services, might be difficult, well after all I am a foreigner but friends will eventually come, only you have to be open about age ranges. That a foreigner does not answer your email is no big deal. He must be tired of people contacting him/her? Just walk in if you know where they are meeting. Enjoy the experience and the struggle. You have an advantage, the computer chats!
commented by Anonymous Odoriko, 8/02/2009 9:20 AM  
Thanks. You're right. I thought I knew that I needed to give it some time, but looks like I was in a haste. It's a shame that I'm not taking advantage of the free time I have now...

Thanks for the advice. Yeah, there should be hope... even though the elementary school I went to was closed a few years back. Hahaha...
I'm not sure about ping pong in English, but what I have in mind is "let's cook in English" kind of thing. I'm going to work on the ad this afternoon. :)

Anyway, as you'll read in my next post, things seem to be looking up.
Thanks for your support.
commented by Blogger obachan, 8/02/2009 10:30 AM  

Are you interested in learning photography? Last year I took online photography courses. I was not sure what to expect but I have learned so much from the instructors by taking their courses. They have 4 week and 8 week courses and you send your pics and professional photographer will send you very useful comments. I took courses last year with zero experience and no knowledge of SLR but they were always very helpful. I just signed up for another course. If you are interested, check out www.betterphoto.com.

commented by Blogger Unknown, 8/06/2009 6:48 AM  
Hi Yuko,
I took a look at the site and YES! The courses are awfully attractive, though advanced ones are a bit too expensive for me. But I probably sign up for the least expensive one ASA I get a job here.
commented by Blogger obachan, 8/07/2009 10:28 AM  

I have never gone back to live in my small (30,000 people) childhood hometown. I love to visit my parents and relatives there, but I know how empty and alone my life might often feel there if I had no job, school, or friends there.

So I think I can understand how alone and at a loss you are feeling just now. In addition, you are struggling to care for your elderly parents. It is never easy to live with elderly parents.

I love reading your blog. I would love to get to know you if I lived in your hometown, and I believe there are people in your hometown who would also love to get to know you, to play ping pong with you, to learn English from you, to explore cooking and gardening with you, and to exchange with you information and stories about their adventures on the Internet.

And I believe you will meet these people in time, especially if you can keep reaching out and going out. It takes me a few years to become comfortable living in a new town, be it big or small. Don't lose your hope. It will keep you moving, and the speed is not important. Slowly is OK.
commented by Anonymous emma in Kansai, 9/03/2009 3:46 PM  
Thank you, thank you -- Thank you so much!!
It is often really difficult for me to stay optimistic and let it take as long as it takes. But knowing that someone believes in my future like this, I can keep going.
commented by Blogger obachan, 9/04/2009 7:19 AM  

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