A few of my closest compadres out there know that about three weeks ago I interviewed for an English-teaching position at a school in Osaka. I didn’t say much about it at the time because I was still wrestling with whether I was going to stick around in Japan or head back to the states and get in on the recession. But last Friday I hopped a train bound for Osaka. On Saturday, I put on a tie for the first time in, oh, I dunno, 10 months?, signed a contract, and started shaking hands. It’s official: I’m now an Osakan.

For the moment, I’m living with my friend Will (teacher, mountain-climber, Australian, baldie), who works at the same school I do. Actually, he’s the whole reason why I’m even in Osaka, since I never would have heard of the gig if I hadn’t met him (in Nagano, remember?). I’m training this week – lots of time observing other teachers in action and learning “theory” (apparently there’s theory involved in teaching English; who knew?). It’s a part-time gig, so I’ll still have plenty of time to travel and write. Truth is, I feel like a new college grad again. (Note to mid-life crisis sufferers everywhere: forget the sports car and the affair! Simply become an expatriate English teacher!)

In a few days I’ll head back to Fukui and be a country mouse again for one last weekend while I move out of my fifth-floor digs there and figure out how to get my very small number of material possessions the 200 kilometers or so down to Osaka without an automobile. In the meantime, I’m readying myself for spring in the big city. I suppose this means I’m sticking around in Japan for a while. Who needs a sports car when you’ve got bullet trains?

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