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Yokohama is the exact opposite of Kagami: it’s a vibrant, modern, bustling mini-metropolis full of young, vibrant, bustling individuals. Yokohama boasts great architecture; Kagami, the soon-to-be- abandoned town I reside in boasts an uncanny amount of rust. Yokohama has an extensive China town. Kagami? Rust. Yokohama is home to Motomachi, a chic foreign quarter replete with designer shops, international food stores, and cobblestone walkways. Kagami? You guessed it: rust. And rice fields. Plenty of those in Kagami.

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To be fair, Kagami does have its charms. It’s home to both Urban and Shee’s, two of the finest (albeit limited) grocery stores this side of Yatsushiro, and a 7-Eleven. And that’s about it. Well, there’s my apartment, and Rik’s apartment, oh, and the sushi shop; and then there’s the Ito’s (my host family) place, but really that’s it. If you toss in the plethora of pachinko parlors, hair salons, and elementary schools, then I guess it’s a pretty happening place. Not. But enough about Kagami, back to Yokohama!

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What was I doing in Yokohama, you ask? Attending the conference for returning JETs with Dan, fellow JET and self-proclaimed ambassador of maple syrup, that’s what. It’s sort of a pep rally for JETs wondering whether or not they’ve wasted the last two-to-five (yikes!) years of their life “teaching” English in the abyss known as the inaka. It’s also a good excuse to fuck off from work and romp around Tokyo. Highlight of the trip: stuffing myself at an all you can eat Indian buffet in the Millenium Tower for only 1000 yen (about $8.50). God I love Indian food!
And that, in a nutshell, is Yokohama—or at least my version of it. Until next time…

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