I'll start by giving you a quick rundown of my "Japan history." I majored in Japanese in university and first came to Japan in September, 2012 to study abroad for one year in Nagoya. After that I returned to the US for a year, finished my undergraduate degree, and snagged a job and a work visa and headed back to Japan in May, 2014, and I've been here ever since (not all that long, actually). I work as a full-time English teacher in public elementary schools and I absolutely love it. I won't be too specific about where in Japan I live, but it's somewhere in the semi-rural countryside in the Kansai area. It's also the best place in Japan, if you ask me!
Now, about my boyfriend! You can call him Kazu. It's not his real name either, and no, no one calls him this. My boyfriend's name is made up of 2 kanji characters, one of which is pronounced Kazu. For now, I'll refer to him by this alias on this blog, in order to protect his privacy. He's 23 (yes, younger than me!) and works as a computer programmer in a normal Japanese electronics manufacturing company. We met through a Japanese dating app called Happy Mail and communicated for several weeks via email before meeting up for the first time in early November, 2014. We went on 3 dates, and after the 3rd date he asked me to be his girlfriend. We've been dating for only about 5 months now, but it feels like twice that long! Kazu doesn't speak much English and had never dated a foreign girl (or even had any non-Japanese friends) until he met me, but he's EXTREMELY laid-back and very, very patient, so we almost never have miscommunications or get into arguments because of cultural differences.
If you have any specific topics you'd like me to write about, please let me know! If the meantime, I think I'll probably write about what we've been up to lately, and whatever other random thing comes to mind. Until the next post, please enjoy these pictures of us enjoying hanami (looking at cherry blossoms) in Kyoto last weekend. It was supposed to rain all day but in fact the weather turned out to be gorgeous!
If you're wondering what's going on in the last two pictures, this is our inside joke! When I get frustrated with Kazu, I always pretend to bite him. I suppose this sounds very childish, but it helps me to express my frustration in a relatively unoffensive way. Usually this happens when he knows what I'm trying to say before I'm actually done speaking and interrupts me to respond, or when I'm irritated because no matter how I try I can't phrase what I want to say nicely. My Japanese is at a kind of awkward stage where it's good enough that most Japanese people don't bother 'tempering' their language very much anymore and just speak to me as if I were any other Japanese, when actually I can't follow very fast or very high-level conversation about specialized topics like economics, politics, history, technology, etc. My boyfriend is especially guilty of this. Well, after snapping the first picture of me biting him as "proof" of my "violent ways," he decided to give me a taste of my own medicine!