George (the other English teacher here at Hiroshima SDA English School) and I live in a nice sized apartment about 2km south of the city centre. We live in Naka-ku (central ward or equivalent of "inner suburbs"). It's a short 5 to 10 minute bike ride to the city. School is on the southern edge of the city and only a 5 to 10 minute ride away also.
We live on the 9th floor of a 10 story apartment building (very common right across the city) and have a nice view overlooking one of the 6 or so rivers that flow through Hiroshima. The river is tidal, and many people exercise along the path next to the river. We can see up to the nearby mountains, and have nice night city views reflecting off the river.
My room is about 3 by 4 m and has a door to the living area and another door to a balcony (where the washing gets dry) facing west over the river. The floor is made of 6 tatami mats, which are mats made from rice staw, about 1 by 2 m each and are firm but they have a certain softness to them. I sleep on a futon on the floor which gets folded and put away during the day. The living area (kitchen, dining) is about the size of 2 bedrooms. Kitchen is quite normal. Bathroom is another story.
The toilet is quite fancy... it's a western style one with the normal Japanese additions (heated seat, backside washing functionality, etc). The other Japanese style toilet is another kettle of fish and is quite common. If you want to know the details... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_toilet
The weather here is quite warm. It feels tropical. I didn't think it would be this warm! A typical day so far has been 23 degrees minimum up to 32 degrees (sometimes more) with plenty of humidity. One night at 9pm it was almost 30 degrees still. Have with no covers since leaving Australia except for 1 or 2 nights. Today is slightly cooler and less humid. But, winter is cold. Average temperatures in mid winter are min 0 and max 8 degrees. Usually snow in the city here.
Last Friday was a nice day. Met up with Mari and Fukuyo from Tokyo who I'd briefly met in Australia last September! It was great to catch up and was quite a coincidence they came to Hiroshima for a holiday just after I arrived here! Also, last Sunday, I caught up with my Mum's cousin, Jim, who is an English teacher from Ube city (about 1 hour from Hiroshima). He's the first person I have met in Japan who I previous knew! Nice to have some family here. He's been in Japan more than 10 years. I learnt a lot about Japan from him. We had a nice lunch meal together at Sunday Sun. We'll catch up again sometime.
Skype is excellent. Very cheap to call family back home (3 yen per minute). I also think of my previous work at USQ and my colleagues. Wonder how things are. Also of my friends from Melbourne and what they've been up to. Even though I'm in the northern hemisphere, techonolgy makes Australia seem not so far away at all. Family and friends are family and friends anywhere. And, no matter where I am, God is still there as well. He's always there.