I’ve loved the Olympics. I have for a long time. And all those Olympic host cities always seemed in such distant, exotic locations. When I first set out from Omiya to Kumagaya, I was stunned at the name of the rail line: the Nagano Line. The Nagano Winter Olympics were a mere 4 years earlier, and they were still fresh in my mind. And now, to be living in a city so close to them, just a quick ride on the bullet train, it blew my mind. After I spent my first week in Kumagaya and got settled into the new job and my new apartment, I made a solemn vow. I would go to Nagano.
It was a sentiment easier stated than done. I thought I would do it on a long weekend. Head out on the Saturday, see the sights on the Sunday, and come back on the Monday. But, with the way my hours were arranged, long weekends were few and far between. And for my big vacations – whole weeks off – I decided to waste those going to the farthest reaches of Japan. But I knew that, before my time in Japan was done, I’d be going to Nagano.