The Ohr’s big shake up!

Right before captain Andy got diagnosed with the “big double C” (colon cancer)  I told him that it was time to shake things up.  I  didn’t exactly know what this would mean, but I wanted to do something different in the spring of 2019 after our stint in Zihuatanejo had finished. Would it be international volunteer work?  Would we temporarily move back to the United States and do another fun driving trip?  What would be something new and totally different for us to experience?

Andy agreed he was open to a substantial lifestyle change. Unlike past springs, we weren’t really anxious to travel for weeks and week on end, so after much discussion, we decided we wanted to be stationary for whatever change we would make.

So we’re shaking things up bigtime… we’re temporarily moving to JAPAN!

What???  The Ohr’s are moving to Japan in the spring of 2019?  Why?  How?

Many of you know that I have a love of Japan that runs deep. I’ve been to Japan twice for work and once with Andy in April of 2017 to see the blooming of the cherry blossoms. We traveled for five weeks throughout the country and visited Korea too. We had such an amazing time in Japan we decided to go back and see what it would be like to live there for an extended period of time.   img_20170410_092813

What’s so great about Japan?

  1. Fantastic public transportation. The bullet train is incredible.
  2. The fact that they are preparing to host the 2020 winter games. It’s an exciting time to be there.
  3. The food!  Japanese food is by far my favorite food. There is no competition.  I want to eat miso soup, salmon, pickles and rice for breakfast for days and days on end.  This is hard to do in Mexico.
  4. The coffee scene It’s fantastic.
  5.  The aesthetic beauty.
  6. The cherry blossoms. Seeing the cherry blossoms was one of the highlights of my life. I’m really happy we’ll get to see them again!
  7.  Baseball. It’s super fun seeing games in Japan.

We are both excited to see the cherry blossoms again.

Fukuoka here we come!

Starting in mid-March, we’ve rented a two-bedroom apartment in Southern Japan in a very large city called Fukuoka. It’s on the island of Kyushu.  We picked Southern Japan because it’s known for its beaches and natural beauty.  I had never even heard of Fukuoka before I started doing some on-line research about cool places to live in Japan. We didn’t want to live in Tokyo (too expensive and too crowded) and Andy wanted tons of good hiking opportunities and the opportunity to watch spring baseball. What has baseball and hiking?  Fukuoka!   After I did more research, I called a few Japanese friends who live in Tokyo and they instantly told me that Fukuoka does indeed kick serious butt.  In fact, in 2016 Monocle Magazine rated Fukuoka as the 7th most livable city in the entire world!  Admittedly, I’ve never heard of Moncle, but still!  Fukuoka is pretty large,( 1.5 million) and has tons and tons of large city amenities and cultural activities happening.  For those of you who want a bit more of a geography lesson, Fukuoka is located 2.5 hours from Osaka (a fantastic Japanese city) by bullet train or about 5.5 hours from Tokyo.  It’s a three-hour ferry to Busan, Korea so we’ll probably spend some time in Korea too.


We loved Korea!  This temple was beautiful.

Finding a place to live in Japan is hard. There are not many Airbnb apartments available and they are very, very small.  Plus, the language barrier makes apartment hunting even harder. After extensive research, I found a company that specializes in renting short-term apartments to foreigners and their staff speaks English, so I sent them an email. They had several one-bedrooms and one very spartan two-bedroom available, so we took it for two months. After our rental is over, we’ll hopefully travel to some other places in Japan, but not for that much time.  I do want to go back to Tokyo and maybe even Kyoto. The apartment rental is less than our mortgage in Oakland and only a tiny bit more than we would be paying in Zihuatanjo.  I also had our friends in Tokyo give them a ring to make sure they are legit. The company checked out.

We’ll arrive just in time for cherry blossom season and for spring baseball. The baseball stadium in 30 minutes by train from our house so we will both enjoy going to games. During the day we’ll hike, take day trips and visit cafes of course. We’ll also do as much cherry bloosom viewing as we can.  Oh, did I mention onsen baths?   Japan’s largest hot spring area (Beppu) is just 2.5 hours away!  We’ll definately spend some time in Beppu!

But before we move to Japan we have to move in Mexico two more times! 

We’re moving next week to a new three- bedroom house in Morelia. The current owner of our kick-butt house is coming back for the winter so Andy and I are getting the boot. We’re so sad. We’ve loved our stay here. The location has served us well and we love being so centrally located.

We’ve rented another house for our final six weeks until we return to Zihuatanejo for four months on December 1, 2018. The new Morelia house  is really, really nice (but very, very expensive) and it’s not located as close to the square as we’d like. It’s about a 15 minute walk.  But on the upside, it’s right across from a huge Mexican mercado which will make for some very easy shopping.

There is a lot going on in Morelia. The guitar festival was great and just concluded. Now Morelia is gearing up for the International film festival and Day of the Dead. So much to see and do.