he-kahd-e; yah-mah-toe: home.

How’s that for an english phonetic breakdown of where I live? 🙂

I live in Hikari City, technically, but really I live in a tiny, tiny town named Yamato, located about 10 minutes outside of Hikari City proper, in the mountains. Yamato was once its own town, but in 2004, it joined with Hikari. Yamato has, I believe, about 8500 people. While it’s certainly not the most isolated placement for a JET – especially given the ease with which I can get to Hikari City – you can see that I am pretty rural.

My first impression of Hikari and Yamato (I’ll refer to my little town where my apartment is as Yamato to distinguish it from city information) was, just like Japan as a whole, “Green.” Everything is so green. Hikari has two beaches – Nijigahama and Murozumi. Murozumi is less crowded and is breathtakingly beautiful. Nijigahama is pretty, though not as, but its primary advantage is being the center of summer social life in Hikari. Every night after sunset, lights are placed in the water and spray out ocean water reflected with color… creating this incredible light show. They have a stage set up on the beach, and every weekend night bands play. Small bars and restaurants line the beach. People stay out until… well, all hours of the night drinking and swimming and partying on the beach. It’s legal to bring open containers on the beach (and drink in public in general in Japan).

My first impression of Yamato, individually, was how incredibly breathtaking it is. I love being up in the mountains. Many nights I eat dinner at my small kitchen table (all furniture, even western-style furniture, is very short) and look out my kitchen window at mountains that seem to go on forever. I’m trying to make some Japanese friends that understand Japanese maps with whom to go out and climb a few of these suckers!

Enough babbling – here are pictures of my new home!!

Yamato. I especially love this picture becuase I captured someone on a bicycle. It's very tranquil and so full of peace.

Yamato. I especially love this picture becuase I captured someone on a bicycle. It's very tranquil and so full of peace.

Yamato: Land of Mountains and Rice Fields - did I mention the rice fields?! They're everywhere. Gorgeous, but I certainly wouldn't want to be tolling in them...

Yamato: Land of Mountains and Rice Fields - did I mention the rice fields?! They're everywhere. Gorgeous, but I certainly wouldn't want to toil in them...

From the Iwata train station - the closest one to me. It's about a 3 minute walk, which is so nice.

From the Iwata train station - the closest one to me. It's about a 3 minute walk, which is so nice.

Going down the steps to the platform at the Hikari train station - if I were 3 inches taller, my head would graze the top!

Going down the steps to the platform at the Hikari train station - if I were 3 inches taller, my head would graze the top!

Beach! I think this is at Nijigahama. I've spent most of my free time here in the past few weeks!

Beach! I think this is at Nijigahama. I've spent most of my free time here in the past few weeks!

Next post: Hikari Highlights and my interview

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~ by C on August 17, 2009.

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