Well, welcome to The Blog. Forgive me if this first post is a touch waffley, I’m new to this.
Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first… Why have I chosen to call my blog “Going on a bear hunt”? The title comes from a song I used to sing when I worked for PGL (for those of you who haven’t heard of it, PGL is a children’s* activity holiday provider). The song is a classic “repeat after me” thing designed to keep kids occupied for a few minutes. The plot of the song is that a group of people are going on a bear hunt and they aren’t scared. They go over all sorts of terrain and eventually get to a cave, they go in and “ARGHH THERE’S A BEAR”. They are so afraid that they run all the way back home (over all the obstacles). The point, I guess, is that I’m facing an adventure and, whilst I’m desperately trying to kid myself into believing I’m not scared, I am. Utterly. Completely. Utterly (again). Terrified. I don’t want to go, I want to stay home and watch Battlestar Galactica and Malcolm In The Middle. I want to drink warm bitter shandy and Earl Grey tea with my sausage and mash or liver and bacon. I want my Mum. But despite all the fear, I’m going. I shall climb over all the hills, I shall wade through the stream and I shall creep into the cave. I just hope that whatever there is inside, it isn’t a bear. Or if it is, it’s the cute marmalade/honey eating type, not the rip your arms off and use them to beat you to death type. So. What is my adventure? What is it that I’m psyching up to do? Go and put the kettle on, pull up a bean bag and I shall tell you (hopefully in under 1000 words).
On April 6th 2009 I am moving to Japan for two years. Obviously, this wouldn’t excite you much if I was Japanese, so perhaps I should tell you a bit about myself? No? You don’t care? Well, you’ve made it this far, so you can be patient a bit longer – the kettle won’t have boiled yet anyway. As if the references to Earl Grey and sausages weren’t enough of a clue, I am English. Specifically, I’m from Essex. You know how when you have a conversation with someone new, one of the first things they ask you is “Where are you from?”? Well, Essex is one of those places you feel you have to apologise for. I’m sure every country has them. You sort of look at your feet, sigh and mumble “Essex (nervous giggle), I don’t live there anymore though!”. As if being born there and not getting out at the earliest opportunity is some sort of social faux pas. Anyway, I did leave, although I’ve exchanged it for Nottingham (mumble, nervous giggle). If you’re ever in Nottingham, visit Higoi in Lenton – it is the best Japanese restaurant I have ever been to (remember to book, it’s tiny). Anyway, I digress; I currently work at Notts Uni as a Research Fellow. For those of you not in the know, that’s another word for “Scientist”. Yes, I am geeky, yes, I wear a white coat and glasses and yes, I like science fiction. Oh, by the way, I am also a girl.
That’s enough background for now, I don’t want to bore you on our first meeting, maybe I’ll tell you a bit more another day. That kettle should have boiled now, you should probably go and make that cuppa, it’s never as nice if you have to boil the water again.
So. Down to business. My bear hunt. To cut a long story short, I have been awarded a fellowship to go and work in Japan for two years. When you tell people about something like this, they usually all have the same reaction. It’s something along the lines of “Oh my GOD! That is AMAZING! Surely you’re SO excited! I am SO jealous!”. At this point I find myself desperately wanting to yell “STOP TALKING IN CAPITAL LETTERS”, but these are nice people and I don’t want to be rude. After they have stopped emphasising every third word and calmed down a bit they usually ask me how I feel about it. The answer is invariably that I am very scared. I get one of two responses to that, either they look at me as though I am crazy, or they try to convince me that I’m not. I find this vaguely frustrating. Being afraid doesn’t mean I don’t want to go, but I challenge anyone to pack up their life, move halfway across the world without their family or friends to a culture completely alien to their own and start a new job in a language they don’t know and not be a little nervous. In fact, I’d be quite worried about someone like that – cold hearted b@st*rd. This brings me round to the point of this blog. I’m hoping that if I can tell my story as it happens, then maybe I won’t be so scared. Maybe.
I think this will do for now, I said I’d try to keep it to under 1000 words and so far I’ve written 898. I guess my purpose here is to write an interesting and (hopefully) amusing travel blog and, in so doing, make my own path a bit less rocky. If I occasionally wonder off on theories about who the last cylon is, well then I’m warning you now, I shan’t apologise. Watch this space!
*No. The apostrophe does NOT come after the “s” in “children’s”. Children is the plural, the “s” is there purely to denote the possessive, so it comes after the apostrophe. Don’t argue. Don’t leave rude comments. Just Google it. You’ll see I’m right.