Just West of the Midwest Chapter 24 Damp Weather and Wet Rags

Last weekend, most of the Miyazaki AETs met for one final bash before those not renewing their contracts left for their respective countries. Louis, a CIR in Nango-cho reserved a cabin for us on a small island off the southeastern coast of Kyushu, called Oshima. Sam, Doug and I drove down together and met everyone else at the ferry that would take us to the island.

The island has only a handful of year-round residents and after taking in the scenery during our hike up to the cabin, I felt they must be the wisest people in all of Japan. The scenery, despite the overcast and pouring rain (this being the onset of the rainy season), was magnificent.

Lush.

Green.

Peaceful.

As did most of my colleagues, I assumed that the “cabin” Louis rented for us was going to be nothing more than four walls and the basic necessities. So, you can imagine our surprise when we came upon a brand new chalet-style residence that overlooked a tiny bay. The place was huge. It had a large kitchen, three main rooms, two large onsen (Japanese-style hot tubs), as well as several bathrooms and showers.

And that was just the first floor.

Upstairs, there were two enormous tatami rooms, separated by an even larger room with a balcony and a loft, where hammocks were installed so that one could enjoy the view while gently swaying. Most everyone seemed to get along well during the weekend, which – considering how different some of us are – was quite remarkable.

There were, however, a few campers who couldn’t seem to extract the icebergs from their asses long enough to crack a smile. I honestly wouldn’t have minded much, except that they didn’t hesitate to show their disapproval at the general merry-making being had by the majority. I was truly perplexed as to how some of these individuals managed to do something as venturesome as taking a job in Japan. Especially considering the serious nature of the operation they must have undergone to have their personalities removed.

Well, it takes all kinds, doesn’t it?

Ignoring the utterly ignorable, a good time was had by nearly all.

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Thank goodness, Jeremy’s personality remained in tact. Photo by acrfrohna

Author: Anne Celano Frohna

I have been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil in hand and would not feel complete without it. And I actually made a meager living at it (and as an editor) for 25 years. I worked for newspapers and magazines, in graphic arts and advertising, and wrote several local history books. But I have also taught English in Japan, been a Nanny in Italy, worked in and for museums, and was an Airbnb Superhost for four years. After moving to Arizona with my family in 2010, I completed a series of different writing projects, including two books of creative non-fiction: Just West of the Midwest: a comedy (Based on journals I kept during my two years as an English teacher in rural Japan.) Within Close Range: short stories of an American Childhood (Short stories and poems about growing up as the middle of five children in suburban Chicago.) I've also written children's stories and continue to write short fiction, but have recently found my voice in poetry. And when I'm not moved to write, or research a large piece of fiction I'm formulating, I focus much of my energies on running my Etsy shop, ChannelingNonna (channelingnonnavintage.com), where I sell vintage clothing, folk art, books, and a trove of other items I have found and continue to bring home from thrift stores, barn sales, yard sales, estate sales, etc., whereever I roam. This blog, however, is where my greatest passion comes alive. Thus, this blog, where I post my creative non-fiction, short stories, a couple of illustrated children's stories and a comedy I wrote about two years I spent teaching English in rural Japan (NOT a story for a child.). I am also a mother of two wonderful girls, Eva (23) and Sophia (21) and wife to one wonderful husband, Kurt.

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