Another Year in Tottori

Dec 28,2012

Musing over the events of the past year (the world didn't end as predicted...again) and meanwhile breaking the ice with new students, finding once again my powers sadly lacking in the realm of driving communication (read that as including blogging, and, apparently, responding to emails in a timely manner), the inevitable question came up again: 'Why do you live in Tottori?'

The cynical answer, of course, is that if no one lived in Tottori it would be a ghost town, but in this case it seems that the asker wasn't particularly happy about having to live here. So I went on to explain my attraction to more natural surroundings and aversion to large groups of people gathered in one place. I had hoped to turn it back on him by finding out what he liked about Japan in general, but it turns out there wasn't much in that regard. Inevitably again, I was asked what I liked about Japan, a question I'm always hard pressed to answer. The society functions in an orderly fashion for the most part, customer service is courteous, the streets are relatively clean and few people carry on loud conversations from opposite sides of them, people care about themselves and others, ho hum, you know, sort of like the United States was a few decades ago.

Beyond that, when I'm asked which specific aspects of Japan and it's famed culture appeal to me in particular, I have to concede that they're the same ones I like about every other place with depth and history: the few buildings that have stood for generations, the scarce artifacts from centuries ago, and very old music played on traditional instruments (in this case, shakuhachi and koto). But when, as in this case, I'm confronted with the question of why I prefer the old to the new, I just have to shrug my shoulders and walk away bemused.

Of course, all that is not to say that I won't like 2013 just as much as I did 2012, but it will have to prove itself to me, just like everything else. So, as we move forward and close the doors of this office for a week, I bid you all a Happy New Year, and look forward to greeting you again after the great dial in the sky turns over one more time.

Your faithful servant,


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