This is another “Catch-Up” post, but I decided not to put it in the title for the sake of simplicity.
Two weeks ago, I went to an event in Tenjin (downtown Fukuoka City) called “Festa da Bahia.” It was hosted by the Amigos da Bahia, young adults who do capoeira and study other aspects of Brazilian culture. It was a lot of fun to watch them do “capoeira angola” and dancing.
Midway through, they pulled people out of the audience to have them try to do capoeira. At the end, they had dancing to Brazilian pop music. I recognized Ivete Sangalo’s voice, lol. They already had set moves for the dancing though, and at points it was almost like para para (or, somewhat strange Japanese pop line-dancing). But it was lots of fun! I had met many of the Amigos da Bahia before, and one remembered that the day of their festival was my birthday, so she gave me a gift! I thought that was so nice and was surprised she remembered. It was a cookie that said 「おめでとう」(“congratulations”) and a pair of hair clips. Awwwww!
Before the Festa da Bahia I had gone to the Apple Store (also in Tenjin) to get an iTunes card. Finally, I can get all those Japan-only tracks I’ve wanted! Now I can bump the Fuurin Kazan theme anytime, anywhere! ^o^
LA la LAA! Lala la’ la laaa, LA!
Anyway…as we were walking, an interesting point came up, that I would now like to give as advice to any potential new JETs: if you must have big city life, you are more likely to get it by requesting large cities off Honshuu. Most people who apply to JET already know that getting placed in Tokyo proper is extremely unlikely. So many choose cities around Tokyo, thinking that’ll get them close. Sometimes it works; more often, it doesn’t. Even doing that, you will most likely get placed in the boondocks on Honshuu, and yes, even Tokyo (the prefecture) has a few rural areas within it. Some people might say, “But isn’t all of Kyuushuu the boonies?” Depends on how you think of it. If you think of it as the boonies because it’s far from Tokyo, then yes. But if you think about the nightlife, events, concert venues, availability of foreign goods, number of foreigners, etc., then Kyuushuu’s big cities are not the boonies at all. Even though I don’t live in Fukuoka City, I do live and work in decent-sized cities and downtown Fukuoka City is a mere 12 minutes away by limited express train.
Fukuoka Prefecture was my third choice, and a pretty random one at that, but I’m really happy I thought to pick something off Honshuu. What I did was I visited the Wikipedia pages for Hokkaido, Kyuushuu, and Shikoku, found out what large cities they had, and went from there. For me, the main consideration was that I wanted to continue living in a large city. I know some people are infatuated with Tokyo in particular, and I guess for them being a few train rides away rather than an airplane ride away is preferable.
Anyway, I thought it was worth mentioning. ^_^