(PICTURE: Paula and Katie)
The teaching program I'm in, per my request, placed me in the smallest city with the most nature they had. I'm in Koryama City in Fukushima Prefecture. If you haven't heard of it don't feel bad. I asked two friends who lived in Japan for a few years about it and they both said it didn't ring a bell.
I'm only an hour and a half from Tokyo if you take the bullet train but this area is considered "the country." There's a whole bunch of mountains not too far from where I'm at and loads of rice fields and forests right outside of my city. Frankly, it's not the most exciting place but it's pretty darn close to what I pictured before coming here.
Since I'm in a small city, there isn't a need for many English teachers. In fact, including me, there are only three teachers in this prefecture that are part of our program (there are some other language schools supposedly). Luckily for me though the other two teachers who are part of my program are freaking awesome. Paula and Katie are sort of like twins. Both girls originally came to Japan as part of the famous Jet program. They did three years with Jet and then stuck around after meeting Japanese men that they ended up marrying. Yup, both girls are married to Japanese guys and both girls speak Japanese. Even cooler, both girls are ridiculously nice and don't mind showing me the ropes in Japan despite me asking them a gazillion questions. I gotta say, I got pretty freaking lucky with my new friends and my new city.