I’ve survived my first day in Nihon (Japan), and am feeling a little more capable and excited about the first 7 months. However, I’ve discovered that everything is a challenge. That includes making the bed, using the toilet, using the shower, and I haven’t tried the laundry yet! Everything is in Japanese. You would think that a bed would be easy to make – but there isn’t really sheets, and there was 1 cover, two blankets… You would also think that a toilet is pretty basic – but there’s several buttons, all labeled in Japanese.
-Pictures: Western-style toilet, Japanese-style toilet, toilet options!! (hehe)
Fortunately, there are pictures as well. The shower took a while to figure out, but that was just because the hot water takes a while to come, but I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Also – it shuts off every minute or two and you have to put it on again. As far as food goes, I asked the lady at the front desk (I still haven’t figured out her name), in very broken Japanese, where I could buy food. She drew me a map to the ‘ampm’, which is something like a 7-11. I bought some food, came back to the dorm, and heated it up. After that, I decided to be brave and venture a little further.
-Pictures: I was walking down the street, and I though, "No...it couldn't be, could it!?" But it was! A Century 21 sign! You wouldn't believe how happy I was to see something familiar, even that!
I walked for an hour or so and found the train station, a Shoppers-Drug Mart type store, a 100-Yen (~dollar) store, and a Bargain Shop-type store. I bought some hangers, a laundry basket, some notepads, and some tea. It was a very successful trip. Later in the evening, I was taken out to dinner. The four girls in the dormitory and two guys who live in the dormitory took me out to a Japanese bar. Yuko, Sadomi, My, Mya, Hicky, and M (still haven’t asked his name again). It was a lot of fun! They ordered all kinds of food and drinks and let me try them. There was nothing I didn’t like. There was a Korean dish of raw beef with a raw egg yolk on top. Surprisingly, it was one of my favorite! The guys were very fun and always making jokes. Sadomi studied at UBC for a year and has very good English. Yuko’s English is also very good, and both of the guys can speak a decent amount of English, too. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and got invited to their ski trip on February 20th! Very excited about that. The bar wasn’t anything like a Canadian bar. The tables were low with cushions and it was all in tables. We took a picture of my very first Japanese dinner. It was so much fun! Tomorrow I will take the train to meet Takemori-san and register as an alien, open a bank account, buy a commuter pass, etc. The next day I will go with Hicky to work – he works in the same department as me. He’s very funny and a little crazy. We will leave the dormitory at 7:10 and arrive at work at 8:30. I’m excited about work – I will be working on a heat pump and probably a grill of some sort. Oh – I also bought a phone card and called home. It took quite a while to figure out how to use the phone card, but the lady at the ampm was very helpful! We stopped by the ampm on the way back from dinner, and she was telling my new friends how she helped me. She also said she would love to help me again if I need it, and suggested I buy a phone card with more minutes, because she was afraid that it wasn’t enough. That’s it for my adventures today…but I’m looking forward to many more!
PS - Picture below (Dinner out): Front right - Hicky, Front left - M, In the back, L-R: Yuko, Sadomi, Mya.