Hello to everyone out there. This is my first time writing a blog. A friend asked me to join the group and I thought, why not? I’ve been asked to write about 10 articles over a three month period, and this one, the first, is the most difficult, as I have to write about myself. Maybe it’s my semi-English upbringing (Although I was born and raised in Canada, both my parents were born and raised in England), but talking about myself, especially to people I don’t know, is something I find difficult to do. Having said that, I will endeavor to provide a basic description of myself to you.
As I mentioned, I am from Canada and grew up in a small village outside of Calgary. Maybe it’s from living in a rural environment, that I have chosen to spend so much of my life in Niigata, which, although a semi-large city, is rural in temperance and spirit. There are even large areas within the city itself devoted to rice production. While in Canada, I always wanted to see the world, and one day I applied to teach English in Japan. The company that hired me asked me where I would prefer to teach. I decided to leave it to fate and told them anywhere. They chose Niigata. I was 30 years old then, and have been living here for over 15 years now.
I have a family now, which includes a Japanese wife, and a son. I still teach English, mostly to young children, but I also do various other things to supplement my income and bring variety to my life.
I love Japanese food, but I do miss certain foods from home, especially meat pies, sausage rolls, roasted meats, amongst many others. You can find these things here in Niigata, but they’re hard to find and not quite the same as home. Because of this, I have become a fairly efficient cook, and have helped enhance the dietary fare of my wife, as well as her family. I still can’t cook Asian food very well, so between my wife, and I, we have a varied menu at dinnertime.
So there you have a basic idea of who I am. In succeeding articles you will no doubt learn more about me, but more importantly, will learn about this wonderful place on the coast of the Sea of Japan (or East Sea, if you’re reading from our neighbor’s borders). It is located almost exactly west of the demilitarized zone in Korea (38 degrees), and almost exactly east of San Francisco (37.77 degrees). Niigata’s longitude is 37.92. It is close enough to the mountains to support a ski industry and between these mountains and the sea, grows more rice than any other prefecture in the country.
I hope you enjoy my observations and writings about this beautiful place. So, let’s begin our journey together.