Residency Accomplished, Reservations Assuaged

The first week here in Koriyama and at my new school has been fraught with dubiousness and trepidation. Today, however, victory was at hand for at least one nagging front-burner issue: I am now officially a one-year resident of Japan!

Behold, the revolting metamorphosis of Lee

Behold, the revolting metamorphosis of Lee

An admin at freecom – we’ll call her the wonderful ‘N’ – whisked us to the immigration office following my first teacher’s meeting and guided us through the paperwork. The agent, a short officious-looking man with rosy cheeks and black hair that parted like a loose open book on his head, warned us it might be an hour until our documents could be processed and our residence cards printed. A fellow teacher and I went to get lunch, returning some minutes later to find everything had been taken care of. The uniformed man beamed at us, and many thanks were spoken by both parties.

We returned to the office, and I prepared for my very first lessons with the company. I was moderately pleased with how they went, and my supervising colleague gladly provided feedback and criticism.

As for the dubiousness I carry, a learned habit, it is something I will have to overcome once and for all if I want to stay on here in Japan; shown or hidden, these feelings of reservations or suspicions, I’m realizing, would not fit in with the general atmosphere here.

School photo, age 12

School photo, age 12

The people are respectful, polite, and careful to observe the long-in-place social customs, but they are at the same time open, friendly, and – as evidenced by the unchained bicycles and home garages left open and unattended throughout the city – very trusting.

I close, then, with a paraphrased (and slightly tweaked) mantra to myself:

Pretend to smile enough, and you may just end up smiling for real.

Now, back to figuring out my Japanese washing machine…

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