Big news in New Zealand! I’m going to be in the city of Imizu, Toyama prefecture. (City slogan: Shining Brightly, Resounding Cheerfully, Nurturing our Dreams. Japan is … a little different.)

It’s 95,000 people, so definitely urban, and “sprawl” isn’t exactly the word – it’s only about 7 km square. Interac still seems to think I’m going to need a car, but I’m asking them about the possibilities of bikes, public transport, etc. (OR, I could ride a scooter. Which just occurred to me might be cheaper to park, cheaper to fill with gas, and would be kind of cool. Interac might not want to help pay for that though.)

It also should be big enough that I won’t be the only non-Japanese (good from a stance of maybe not being stared at EVERYWHERE I go) and that I won’t be totally at a loss with my poor-but-presumably-improving-rapidly Japanese skills.

There’s medical insurance offered by the company, for the low, low price of something like $35 a month (minimum coverage). Actually, I have no idea how that stacks up against medical insurance for the US, never having paid for medical insurance. I’m going to need to have a TB test before I go, but I think I can just get the skin test. (I’ve asked about it in my giant list of questions emailed to my contact.)

I gave notice at my job today. I wish I’d heard earlier, so I’d have more free time. Still, they wanted two weeks notice, and preferably for it to fall at the end of a pay period (every two weeks) and obviously I didn’t know two weeks ago that I’d be leaving quite so soon. Also, two weeks ago I’d only been working there for, well, about two weeks!

I think I’m going to make more there than I am here – but only just barely, like, NZ$2000 a year. Still, 250k Yen works out to 3M yen a year (Millionaire! woo!) and that’s about $27k US. Depending on how expensive things are, I think it’ll be livable. Pre-tax, it’s about $500 US a week. (Mere moments ago, talking with dad, I was worried about the expense of a car. And now.. well, I’d still rather not pay it, but I think it’ll be managable.)

Imizu looks like it’s going to be pretty cool. There are mountains around it, lots of shrines in the city itself. Some parks, even something called a Picture Book Museum, which could be fun. Cozy, though, and right by the Japan Sea. Given how narrow Japan is, it probably isn’t even that far to Tokyo by train. It might be possible to take a long weekend. (awesome!)

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