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When I 1st came to Japan I was put in Saitama and immediately disappointed; It's like traveling across the Earth to find yourself an hour away in Hoboken, except it's colder in the winter, hotter in the summer, crowded, and people don't seem to speak much English.

If you like shopping, heavy drinking, or staying indoors and watching TV, then it's not such a bad place. The people are really nice anyway.

I bought a cheap bicycle with a basket on the front and used it to explore. After 3 years there I knew all the little alleyways and far off corners where a few plum trees had been allowed to grow (behind rows of vending machines or along the train tracks).

I got hit by a car every year too.

I wanted to see something natural, and try another town before I moved back home, so I found a job in Chichibu.

Let's go:

I do not admire power lines or convenience stores. I do not want to paint them. Almost all of the paintings I did in Saitama have very simple backgrounds. This is preferable to what's really there.

It's hard to fly a kite on a Windless Day.

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