Monday, September 27, 2010

Beginning of a new life in Japan

We moved to Japan in May 2010. In the last 4 months , we have loved our time here and are enjoying our Japanese life. We have made friends, few locals and few other foreigners like us , but each one of them has made this stay pleasant.

We live in the coastal city of Iwaki. Iwaki is located in the Fukushima prefecture and is part of  the Tohoku region of Japan. It is a part of Honshu the main island among the Japanese islands. Iwaki is about 220 kms from Tokyo and can be reached in 2.5 hrs by train from Tokyo and about 3 hours from the Narita International airport. Iwaki faces the Pacific Ocean to the east and has a coastline of about 60 kms. The JR East Joban Line connects Iwaki to Ueno(Tokyo) in the south  and Sendai in the north whereas the East Banetsu Line connects Iwaki to Koriyama. However it is sad that Iwaki is not connected by Shinkansen.

As of 2010,  Iwaki is the 10th largest city in Japan . Iwaki is made up of 14 municipalities.
The city’s centre is located in Taira and is the heart of Iwaki city. The most liveliest place in all of Iwaki, Taira is the most preferred place to live in for most foreigners. Iwaki’s railway station and most of the shopping areas are also located in Taira .

We however live in Iwaki New Town which I could say is a suburb of Iwaki. We chose a house in the New Town area  because the houses here are bigger compared to Taira ,which is more crowded . The other reason we chose Iwaki New Town was that it is more peaceful and also a fast developing locality with many independent homes and very few apartments. 

My husband works for a Japanese company . We were fortunate to have good support from the company who arranged everything for us when we moved here. They took care of all the legal requirements and arranged for everything so our settling down was smooth. Without any knowledge of Japanese, it would have been difficult for us to set up home here by ourselves , but thanks to my husband’s colleagues , we had no problem and can say Iwaki is home to us now.

There is one International Kindergarten in Iwaki- Kuhonji International Kindergarten. However when we moved to Iwaki , the academic year was in progress and we could not get  admission for our daughter in this school since the seats were full. So we had to enroll her in a Japanese kindergarten , Alice Kindergarten in Iwaki New Town. At the time we were worried mainly because none of the staff spoke English and we thought it would be difficult to interact with them. However, my husband’s colleague offered to help with the language and continues to do so on a daily basis including informing the school whenever we need to pick her up early or even absence from school. It seems like a wise decision because our daughter has picked up quite a bit of Japanese in the last 3 months that she attended the kindergarten and she even tries to teach us whatever she has learnt. The school staff has been helpful and it appears that they take special care of our daughter because she is the only foreigner in the kindergarten.

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