Osaka Update: Two months in

tofu shop

It’s been two months since we kicked off our open-ended stay in Japan. We had a couple of goals in mind when we landed at KIX, but our primary focus was to see how it would feel to live like a local in Osaka — to try out a long-term, maybe even forever, stay in Japan.

We’d already sold the house and the car, and thrown out or given away about 90 percent of our possessions. And we were free of all job responsibilities — Meg was no longer working her shifts at the hospital, and the bnb had gone bye-bye with the sale of the house.

So on a brisk night in November, of 2017, we landed and in minutes were on the last bus from the airport to downtown Osaka where we were picked up by Meg’s brother and sister-in-law. Like we’d never left the place, I thought to myself.

Finally feeling the past 36 hours of travel catching up on us (we had a 24-hour layover in China), we stuffed Manabu’s tiny Honda Fit to the gills with luggage and headed to Meg’s family house in Taisho where we would stay for the first week or so.

The plan was to integrate into city life as purely as we could. We knew if we didn’t act like locals we could never feel like ones; that if we never slowed the pace and intentionally became self-sufficient city dwellers we’d never appreciate daily life in ways that would mimic a resident’s. Our mantra was simple: to live and ultimately feel like a local.

Here’s what we did

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The fall in Japan

After our golden, Molly, died (at 16 years old!) in Berkeley, we weren’t sure what to do next. So we went into default mode and decided to go back to Japan for a while. The fall season in Japan is the best. The leaves of the Japanese maple turns a bright red, and the leaves of the Ginko tree turn to deep yellow. Late October and the end of the November are the most colorful times of the year. And here’s proof!