We arrived in Kobe just when the cherry blossoms began blooming and enjoyed some lovely weather for the first week and a half. We're beginning to settle in and L'Shawn is already into her second week of teaching at Kobe Kaisei Women's College now. She teaches about three subject areas and each area has two sections, so she has about six classes and 88 students (all lovely young ladies, of course). We live in Mikage village, which is very beautiful and peaceful. The train station and nearest grocery store are both about a 5 minute walk from here. Downtown (San No Mia) is only a few stops away by train, and we're really close to Osaka and Kyoto.
We live in a mini-apartment building with 3 apartments, and the other 2 apartments are occupied by our friends Jon and Jordan. They have been taking great care of us since we got here, and are super cool people! Our neighbors, Keiko, Mr. Arai, and Chika are also really cool. They live in the house next door, which is kind of on the same property as our apartment. We've also seen a couple of Kobe Kaisei students that we know from CSU, and Margie (our former boss from CSU) came to visit Kobe Kaisei to pitch the Intensive English Program to the students there, so we made her dinner one night and we all went to Kyoto for a day.
We got our ADSL (internet) yesterday, and are waiting on our residence cards to get our keitai (cell phones) and Doug's drivers license renewal. We've even got our Tsutaya (video rental shop) cards already! Oh yes, we get CNN, Disney, The History Channel, Animal Planet, and Discovery Channel on TV - all in English or Japanese. (Very convienient.)
We really like Kobe, and L'Shawn's job is really awesome! We feel a lot more connected to the rest of the world here, but we really miss our friends in Yamagata, which is kind of far away. We also wonder what we will do about our Japanese. Things are so cosmopolitan around here that we don't often speak Japanese. It is very different from Yamagata - which is both bad and good. We're going to visit Yamagata as soon as we can, and look forward to visiting Canada and the US in a few months.
Don't forget to check out our pix! Love to all! -> Doug and L'Shawn