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The Adventures of Max Totaro - CIR for Tsuruta: 2018 - 2021

My journey to Japan was a bit unexpected…

I lived in Australia for over a year before accepting my position in Tsuruta. I had been working on a cow farm for three months, sleeping outside without a tent, riding horses, and even once reluctantly swimming in a river with crocodiles.

From there, I traveled to the beautiful but war-ridden Myanmar for one month where I would go days without speaking to anyone due to the lack of English speakers. I even volunteered at a hospital for a week where I was asked to help people in chronic pain as if I was a doctor. I am not a doctor. After Myanmar, I travelled to Nepal for one month where I spent time adventuring through the Himalayan mountains. I stayed in villages, hitchhiked on motorcycles, and was once chased out of a forest by monkeys. Throughout this time, my ambition lied in seeing the world.

My brother was having a huge summer, graduating from college and getting married in a three-month-span. I couldn't miss either of these events, but I was nervous to come back home because I didn't know if I would be able to get back out of America again. I still remember sitting on the plane with the goal of finding a job in Japan, and not stopping until I do. Long story short, I was home for about four months before landing in Japan and traveling up to Aomori for a city hall position. I knew next to nothing about Aomori, and even less about the language. Flash forward three and a half years, and I have come to absolutely love Aomori. Many people here say I am a local. The Mayor even said I can stay here as long as I want. I can speak Japanese and the local dialect of Tsukaraben. But still, I have no idea of what is coming next. Well, to be fair, that is slightly by design. During my time here I have been able to completely get out of student loan debt, bolster my resume for future jobs, and experience a new culture.

In August, I will finish my job here and go home to see my family and meet my nephew. Then in September, I will go to Portugal with my parents for one week. From there my intention is to go to Morocco for three months and dive as far into the North African/Amazingh/Mediterranean culture as I possibly can.


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