(Please go to the BLOG page to see photos)
It's great that Karl has finally made it to his little town of Shimamoto, Japan! Yes, Shimamoto is a real town between Osaka and Kyoto. I actually did live there for two years and loved it! It's right by the mountains and the people are really kind and friendly. I thought about making up the name of a town but I really felt it would be nice to give a shout out to my former home. If you're ever in the area, you should stop by and check it out. There's absolutely nothing to do, but you might see some familiar scenes from the comic.
However, it was a bit challenging when I first arrived there. My apartment was old but very large (a 1 LDK for those of you in Japan now) and the B.O.E. employees kept telling me how lucky I was to be one person living in a place large enough for a family. For a six foot three black guy, it didn't feel that big to me! All of Japan gets super hot and humid in the summer but I felt like it was extra-smokin' hot in Shimamoto. My apartment had a wall unit air-conditioner but it was broken when I moved in. So, I did have many of those freak out Culture Shock moments you see in the comic (while drenched in my sweat)! It took me awhile to learn how to live "Japanese style" in the summer heat.