Wednesday, January 23
For some reason I’m very upbeat today – not that I’m complaining! Perhaps it’s the covert emails from friends and families, the completed task at work, the wonderful ringo (apple) I had after work, the yummy supper, or my new ability to recognize some Japanese letters. Either way, upbeat! It was rainy today, too – I like rain. Work is going well – I find that I am able to recognize a few more Japanese words every once in a while, I finally figured out the food ticket machine, and I have interesting work to do. It takes me 3 trains, 1 bus, and an hour & twenty minutes to get to work in the morning. The train station is only a 5 minute walk from my dormitory – I leave the dorm around 7:10am. I generally get a seat on the first train, sometimes the second train, and never the third train. From the last train station, I walk around the corner and get on the bus. It stops across the street from work. I have an ID card, which I use for everything. That includes getting into work, logging into my computer, and getting into my dorm. I have a in/out magnet at work – red is out, white is in. When I get in in the morning (around 8:30am), I flip my tag then head back outside to another building to change. I wear a jacket and pants as a uniform – and I have a warmer jacket for when it’s cold. Which is practically all the time. From the changeroom, I head back to the first building to my work area. I share my workspace with my boss, Takemori-San, and another lady, whos name I can’t remember. I’m usually the first person into work, so I grab the key to unlock the office. Because I’m a keener, I usually start working almost right away. Lunch is at 12. I’m generally starving by time lunch rolls around. I wait for Takemori-San, who likes to wait five minutes to avoid the rush, then we walk to the cafeteria building. Examples of all the meals are set out on the table, and I buy tickets depending on what I want. I usually pay 500 Yen (slightly less than $5), and for that I get a main dish (rice and fish/meat or ramen noodes, similar to Mr. Noodles), a salad-type thing, miso soup, and gohan (rice). I’ve discovered that in Japan, a lot depends on your boss. It would be very rude of me to leave for lunch without waiting for him, and it would be disrespectful not to sit with him (especially if he then ended up sitting by himself). Sometimes we sit with three other people who work in our department. I’m very bad with Japanese names, but there are to men and one young woman. She’s pretty quiet. The two men know some English and are a lot of fun. One of them often tucks his chin into his chest and giggles – it’s the cutest thing ever. I don’t typically refer to men as ‘cute’, but this guy is definitely cute when he giggles. There’s always lots of laughing at lunch as we try to communicate. Everyone at the table waits until everyone else at the table is finished eating, then when there’s an awkward pause, someone (then everyone else) kind of bows, then starts to get up. We drop off our dishes and head back to work. I finish work at 5:40, but generally end up staying a few or many minutes late, depending on what I’m working on and what I do (or don’t, as the case usually is) have to do after work. I change again, and wait at the sidewalk for the bus. When I get home, I’m usually starving again, so I eat supper right away. I don’t know if it’s because it’s less food, a different eating schedule, I don’t drink enough water, or I just always feel slightly bored, but I always feel hungry! I’m still trying to find a reasonably cheap and healthy Japanese snack food. After supper I usually hang out in my room and study my Japanese. At least for now. Hopefully I’ll get a life and some internet, soon. I’m starting to feel settled here…maybe I can survive the seven months, after all. My nails have gotten long very quickly…I have the feeling it’s all the rice I’m eating. Lunch and supper always include rice – at least a fist-sized (my fist, not yours) amount, sometimes more. I think that when I go back to Canada, I will have to buy and cook a lot of rice, or my body will go into shock. I don’t mind, though, it’s very good. I’m definitely a fan of sticky rice (all rice in Japan is sticky) over loose rice. I’ll have to learn to make it, but I think it’s just the addition of rice vinegar or something. Well, that’s it for today! I’ll try to take some more pictures (like of me in my work uniform…hehe) to post with this, when I finally get internet! PS – I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support while I’m here…the first week was really hard, but it was a lot easier knowing people back home were thinking of me (or at least I was pretending they were), and it’s only going to go up from here! Ja matta….