Where in the world…

do Heather and Scott live?

Often Japanese people ask me “what do foreigners know about Japan?” They usually guess Samurai, Tokyo, Ninjas and Sushi. Which I suppose is mostly correct, if you add “Domo Arrigato Mr. Roboto!”

Scott Arrives!

So I assume most people don’t know where we actually are. When we were placed by the JET program they gave us our second choice prefecture, Fukuoka. Of course, when we choose it as a second choice, way back in November 2009, we didn’t know much, or anything, about it. I think my reasons were as follows: south Japan must have nice weather, I hear the mountains are nice, and Fukuoka is a big city.

Japan with Fukuoka in Pink!

When we landed in Fukuoka, I couldn’t look out the window at our new town because the airport is located directly in the city, and I was terrified we were going to hit the buildings. Yeah, I am a bit of a nervous flier. Fukuoka does indeed have a big city, 3 million people, but it turns out that there are mountains everywhere in Japan, and the weather here is not that great after all. In the summer it was hotter and more humid than any other place I’ve ever been, and now in the winter it is really cold, with no insulation or central heating in our buildings. I hear the rainy season is next…


Despite the weather issues, we love Fukuoka. The city is new and clean and full of Karaoke joints and good restaurants. Scott lives in the city, or at least on the subway line, and I live about an hour away from the city in the countryside. Or at least as countryside as Fukuoka gets. My city is called Chikugo, and has a population of about 40,000 people. I commute every day by bike or train to Omuta – a former mining town, and Setaka – a town famous for nothing and Scott takes the bus to his school in the mountains near the city.

Map of Fukuoka City

Fukuoka is also conveniently close to South Korea – only 3 hours by ferry, and on the Shinkansen line – 3 hours to Kyoto. So while we are not basking in the southern sun as I hope we might be, it turns out it’s a pretty nice place to be!

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