I got so caught up in learning Japanese, it’s bedtime and I forgot to blog! I also realized, on my adventure home today, that I’ve been writing mostly about how I’m feeling instead of what it’s like here. It would probably be a lot more interesting to read about Japan, instead of the ramblings of Stephanie’s mind and heart. So here goes…details! But first, my adventure home…all went well until Tsurahashi, when I got on the wrong train – I just walked to the wrong platform because I wasn’t paying attention. It took me several stations to realize that none of the names sounded familiar. So I asked a woman, in broken Japanese, if this train was going to Yao station. My heart (and stomach) dropped when she started chattering in Japanese but was pointing back the way we came. I realized that – yes – I had gotten on the wrong train. I thanked her (that’s one thing I can and do quite proficiently) and got off at the next station. After another broken conversation with a man on a train, I found my way to the platform I needed to be at. I recognized a station name and knew I could go back to there and find my way from that point. Yay! The adventure ended well.
I live in a company dormitory – everyone who live here works for Osaka Gas. Osaka Gas is something like Terasen Gas – there are buildings and centers and labs all over the city. There is a woman’s section and men’s section, and the opposite sex is not allowed in the other section, at all. There are four other women in the dormitory – we are all on the same floor – the 3rd one. At the end of our floor is a bathroom (sinks & toilets). I think there’s another floor up above us that is empty. On the second floor is a TV room, a kitchen area with North American style tables, a bathroom/shower, a kitchen area with Japanese style tables, a bigger shower room, and laundry. On the main floor is the lobby area, the cafeteria, and the mysterious hallway leading to the men’s section of the dormitory. There are 95 men in the dormitory. Yoshida-san and (I think?) his wife run the dormitory. They’re a very kind couple that doesn’t speak English, but we make do between their random English words and my busted up Japanese. My room is a decent size – about the size of my room in Sparwood. I have a cot-type bed, a small shelving unit, a desk with a chair, two closets, and my own little entryway with some shoe shelves. There are also two overhead storage areas. The dormitory is right beside the road, and it’s very loud! I’m used to it now, but at first it drove me nuts. You can hear all the cars going by and everything that’s happening outside. The lobby area has a reception area, and the shoe area. When you enter the dormitory (or any Japanese home), you remove your shoes and put on slippers. There’s a compartment for each person to keep their shoes on. There’s also a message board (which I can’t read), but I did notice a sign that said ‘Welcome’ on it, with my name in Japanese, below. I get suppers at the cafeteria, on weekdays. On weekends and for mornings, I’m on my own. Usually, supper consists of a vegetable-type thing, a salad-type thing, a fish-type thing, rice, and miso soup. It’s all very good and I’m always starving when I get home from work. On weekends, I cook for myself, but I miss the Japanese dinners (they’re pretty yummy). For breakfast, I have toast with butter & tomato slices, a glass of milk, and yoghurt. The bread, milk, and yoghurt are slightly more expensive than I’m used to, but it’s worth it! The train station (Takayasu) is about a 5 minute walk from my house. From there, I can get anywhere in Japan, pretty much. There is a decent-sized grocery store within a 15 minute walk from my house, and several within 30 minutes. I’ve discovered that maps are infinitely useful and provide a universal language. I got Yoshida-san to draw me a map to a swimming pool. I think I found it, but you couldn’t see inside and it looked…special. It was all wooden and Japanese-looking (most things in the city aren’t actually what you would picture Japanese buildings looking like). I didn’t feel like trying to venture inside (it looked very closed), so I figured I’d leave it at that for the day. I’ll put some pictures up of my dormitory, to add to my brief descriptions. I’m off to bed now, more details will have to wait until tomorrow! Oh – and my presentation is now on Friday – ahhh!!
-Photos (in order):
*My dorm room - from the entrance and from the opposite side of the room.
*The main kitchen area I use...
*The Japanese-style table
*Bathroom area - you can't really tell, but the sinks are light pink! Cute.