●WHO AM I?
Hi everyone! My name is Jessica; I`m the 5th in a long line of New Zealand C.I.Rs at the International Relations Group of Fukushima Prefectural Office. I arrived in Japan on the 5th of August, 2007, so I haven`t been in Fukushima for very long, but already I feel right at home! I come from Tauranga, New Zealand, although I was born in Thames, and lived in Coromandel until I was 6 years old. This is my 3rd time to Japan, but my first time in the Touhoku region!
●WHAT DO I DO?
As a C.I.R (Co-coordinator for International Relations) here in Fukushima I`ll be doing all sorts of odd jobs, including things like translating, visiting schools and community centers and giving speeches about New Zealand (yikes!), possibly the odd bit of interpreting (double yikes!), helping organize some international exchanges and the like. Generally I am here to assist with anything the International Relations Group does, that involves international exchange of some sort!
●WHY DID I CHOOSE JAPAN?
Well this is rather a long story, so I will try to keep it as short as possible! Like Dylan, my predecessor, this is the 3rd time I have visited Japan. I spent a little over 10 months in Osaka, as a high-school exchange student on A.F.S when I was 16 (at that time I spoke very little Japanese, and found it super overwhelming to begin with!), and I also spent 5 months in Miyazaki, as a university exchange student when I was 20 years old (I acclimatized much faster that time!). This time is for work, and being my first time to Touhoku, I am very excited!
●WHAT DO I THINK OF FUKUSHIMA?
So far Fukushima has proved to be extremely HOT! To the point where it is almost unbearable! Especially if you have to bike to work… Though, at the time of writing this article it has cooled down quite considerably, to a very comfortable temperature. Unfortunately I hear it is going to get MUCH colder from now on! (if it`s not too hot, it`s too cold!). However, aside from the wild temperature, the first thing I noticed when I arrived in Fukushima was all the mountains, and the beautiful scenery! Fukushima is a lot like New Zealand - so rich in beautiful nature! The people here are extremely friendly and helpful! They have made my arrival in Fukushima a wonderful experience, and have made me feel so welcome! Thanks to their support I have settled in very quickly. I am now looking forward to visiting various places around Fukushima which is rich in history and culture (both very keen interests of mine!), and can`t wait to try out some of the onsens! I have also heard that Fukushima is renowned for skiing, so I would love to have a go at this as well. Anyway, if you see me around, don`t hesitate to say “hi”. Catch ya later! Toodles!