I visited Japan many times since I first met my wife, Megumi, over 15 years ago. Our short trips were based in Matsue, where Megumi grew up, and where many members of her family still live. Over the years we visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, Hagi, Nagasaki, Tsuwano, Kobe and many other places in Japan. The first city that we liked enough to want to live in was Nagasaki, but we decided that it was too far away from the centre of Japan, and from Matsue in particular, so we had to reconsider. We had heard that the Kobe area was a great place to live, so we visited it in the spring of 2007 to get a feel of the area. We loved it immediately, and planned to return in the autumn to buy a property. In the meantime we sold our beautiful country cottage in the south of England.
We returned to Japan in October 2007 and spent time in Kobe house hunting in the area. Without going into details (and there were many of them), we ended up buying a flat on the man made island of Nishinomiyahama 西宮浜 overlooking Osaka Bay and the Shin Nishinomiya Yacht Harbour. What a brilliant choice.
We had lived in Lymington, Hampshire, on the English south Coast. This is a world famous centre for sailing, as well as being on the borders of the New Forest National Park. We had spent much time boating, walking on beautiful deserted beaches, and just being immersed in nature. How lucky we have been, after moving to Nishinomiyahama, to find lovely places to walk and cycle, an abundance of birdlife, and much to enjoy (and photograph).
The longer we have lived in our new home, the more we have found to love about it. The people we have met have been warm and friendly and we have many new friends. Also there is so much going on: no time to get bored. I’ll write more about these in future posts, but for now, I can say that I am so lucky to divide my time between 西宮浜 and Kawanishi, the delightful town where I am now the proud owner and teacher of Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話川西校.
So, with apologies to Chicago, I say again “NISHINOMIYA IS MY KINDA TOWN”