The following is copy-pasted from a post I just made on the NerdFitness forums. It pretty much sums up how things have been for me for the past couple of months.
I dunno how many of you went, “Hmm… WTF happened to Crowbeak?” after I dropped off the radar, but I just wanted to let yall know that I live. During the Rebel Strength Guide contest, I got sick back-to-back with 3-4 different things. I was down for two weeks straight. Then I was finishing up college (successfully graduated!), followed by getting ready to go back to Japan when my dad died.
A lot has happened since then and I probably only remember about half of it. The first two days were awful — within four hours of my finding out about dad’s death, my cell phone battery had burned out and I had to go get a new one. My mom and brother didn’t get into town for two days. I was bombarded with decisions that had to be made that they couldn’t really help me with. Everything went pretty well and I got to kick back for the two weeks they were here. They took over because I’d have to take care of what was left after they were gone.
Taking Care of Business
A friend of dad’s had called my alma mater — HAHA I CAN SAY THAT NAO! :D — trying to find me. I knew when I got a call from the Dean of Students saying that K.S. was trying to reach me about something urgent that dad must’ve been critically injured or killed. He was on a 16-hour motorcycle trip the day before. I assumed he’d been killed in a crash, but it turned out that he rode almost 800 miles (wearing a helmet for once, since he was riding through Canada down towards Juneau) and dropped dead in a parking lot. The nice thing about this is that it was so very in character. The bad thing was that he died in Canada, which complicated the process of getting his death certificate processed.
Anyway, the “funeral” service was fantastic. We didn’t know what exactly Dad wanted to happen when he died. He’d talked idly about it a couple of times with random people, so we were able to piece together a bit. He wanted a celebration of life rather than open casket boohoos. We followed the funeral with a motorcycle escort/procession from the funeral home to the crematorium. :D Let me just say… hundreds of motorcycles. Two and a half minutes of motorcycles getting in line.
One thing he wanted was to have his body shot out of a cannon. Unfortunately, that’s illegal in Alaska because it’s considered desecration of the remains. We’re currently trying to have his ashes put in a cannonball and shot out of a cannon. Finding a cannon is the main hurdle. We haven’t had time to worry about it, what with trying to sort out his very messy affairs.
That, of course, has been complicated by the fact that I’m about to leave for Japan. My not-actually-but-practically sister has agreed to be executor of the estate, since she has no plans to leave the state. I’m leaving for Japan in less than a week, and my brother’s job in the Navy is as a Seabee, so he gets posted overseas on every deployment. A number of factors have prevented us from filing probate paperwork yet, but my part is done.
On a happier note!
I got my placement for my job in Japan the day before Dad died. :D I’m going to be in Nakagawa-cho, a farming village in the extreme northern part of Japan. It’s almost as far north as you can get without leaving the country.
The town is on one side of a river in a valley, with the farms on the other side. They farm vegetables, for the most part. I’ve been in contact with the person from whom I am taking over. Every time I talk to her I get more excited! The town is tiny, with one each of elementary, middle, and high schools. I’ll be teaching at all of them.
The apartment I’ll be living in (at 12,000 yen or $150 a month) is within 15 minutes walk to all the places I’ll be working. That includes the main office of the Board of Education. They’ve been using the same apartment for the local ALT (my job) for twenty years now. In addition to the appliances the BoE supplies (vacuum, washer, fridge, TV, bed), there’s all the things other ALTs have left behind.
Susan, my predecessor, says that she’s thrown away most of the junk they’ve left behind over the course of her four years there. (In Japan, you pay high fees to have large garbage disposed of.) It’s stocked with all kinds of things, though, including cooking utensils and miscellaneous small appliances. Since skiing and snowboarding are big there, Susan’s leaving me her snowboard, too. :D
My plane leaves Anchorage at 7 AM on Saturday, the 30th. One layover — in Portland, I think — and then on to Tokyo for three days orientation with 800 other JETs before heading north.