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Life in Odawara, why travel here?

Life in Odawara, why live here?
by Shawn Thir

I think we’ve established that the Odawara area is no hot bed of excitement. It begs the question:

Why are we here?

I found Odawara by fluke.

I originally came to Japan to work as an English teacher at

GEOS(blood sucking vampires!) and they asked new teachers

where in Japan they would like to work. Being an avid

outdoorsman, I chose, in order: Hokkaido(for its nature),

Kyoto(for its history) and anywhere near Mt. Fuji(looking

at a map, I wanted to be near the nature that was

around there). In the end, I got sent to Odawara, in the

shadow of Mt. Fuji.

It’s a great place to live.

I’m only 40 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train. I

live in a valley with the mountains of Hakone on one

side and the Tanzawa mountains on the other. I’m

close to the hot spring heaven of Hakone-Yumoto. There

are numerous places to hike, camp and mountain bike.

The beaches of Izu are an hour or two away. It’s

quiet out here and the locals know me(it can be bit of

pain too because they all ask me when I’m going to

marry my girlfriend).

I know my neighbors. I live near

a river and am surrounded by rice paddies. In the

summer I like walk among them and gaze at the stars and

look for fireflies. My 1st floor apartment has

spacious patio and I’m constantly trying to fight off the

neighborhood cats from eating my tulips. I think this summer

I’ll have a BBQ out back- you’re all invited. Most of

all, it’s quiet. There’s something to be said about

some honest peace and quiet after coming home from

work- no trains or traffic. There is something sublime

about listening to the cicadas or crickets on a hot

summer night.

I think it is the slower pace of life

and proximity of the mountains and ocean that do it

for me. I love Tokyo; it’s one heck an exciting city

but I simply would mad if I had to live there. A good

friend in Yokohama always urges me to move there- move

out of the boondocks and into civilization he says. I

contemplated the thought. More imported food, theatres,

restaurants and shopping. I can’t argue with those creature

comforts. Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle choice. This is

where I choose to hang my hat and I’m happy. What else do you need?
Originally posted to the Odawara Bulletin Board

About kintaro63 (230 Articles)
Writer and teacher in Japan

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