Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My New Home!


On Saturday I left Hamamatsu to go to my apartment in Izu. There is one other ALT in Izu, so he and I took the train together to meet our IC. An IC is a Japanese who speaks English who helps us set things up.

We took the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Hamamatsu to Mishima. When I took the Shinkansen before it was dark so I couldn't see much. This time I could see much more and could tell more how fast we were moving. When we would pass by another Shinkansen it would only take a couple seconds and it was gone... and those trains are long! The other train was only a blur. Super cool. :)

The picture above is one I took from inside the Shinkansen.

We met our IC. First we went to the other ALT's apartment and then headed for my apartment. The road wound through the mountains and there were a lot of great views!


After checking out my apartment and waiting for the gas man to arrive and turn on the gas, we headed back to the main part of Izu and went shopping for our apartments. The picture below was taken somewhere during that trip.


After a long day of shopping I got back to my apartment. I have things set up differently now and will do another post with a video of my apartment, but this is how it looked that night.

That is how my apartment looks when you come in the front door. The kitchen is to the left and the stairs lead to the two bedrooms upstairs.


The kitchen isn't so beautiful, but luckily the rest of the apartment is awesome. :)

I had suitcases and clothes all over the floor of the living room so I didn't take a very good picture of it. That is my Hello Kitty futon on the floor there. :)


This is one of the bedrooms upstairs. My futon is now in this room. In this picture you can see the traditional tatami flooring.

Before I moved to Japan, I wanted a kotatsu and was planning on buying one when I moved to Japan. I was excited to see one already in my apartment! It is a table with a heater underneath. A thick cover goes over the table and then the table top goes on top.

It's really great because there is no central heat and besides this table all I have right now is one little space heater. I sit at this table when I eat, when I watch TV, when I'm on the computer... pretty much when I do everything! Once it warms up I can remove the blanket and just use it as a regular table.

Oh, and that rug is heated too! :)


I really like the sliding paper screens above the doors in the bedrooms because I can turn on the hallway light and it shines through the paper. :)

The apartment is old but it's great because it has a lot of traditional Japanese stuff like tatami flooring and shoji sliding screens. Here are a couple articles to explain them:

Tatami
Shoji

The next morning when I got up I had a very traditional Japanese breakfast...

Okay, not very traditional, but very yummy!

I watched cute cartoons on TV. Kawaii!!!!!! That means "Cute!!!!!!" in Japanese. I see a lot of kawaii stuff here!

Here are a couple views from the balcony upstairs. The balcony isn't very big. It's pretty much just for drying clothes (I have a washing machine but no dryer. Dryers aren't very common in Japan), but I see this same view just from the door window.



Later that morning a woman rang my doorbell. She brought me some food. I couldn't understand most of what she said, but I think she told me that she has a son at the school... I think... Anyways... on the left are two pastry type things with a sweet red bean paste inside. The stuff on the left was rice with vegetables and bits of fish mixed in. I picked out the bits of fish, but the rest was good. Mmmm!

I then took a walk around town. The picture below is very typical of the town. A lot of the houses here have gardens.


I'm not sure why this gate is there, but it looks cool.


There is a large clock at Matsubara Kouen (Kouen means park). It is in the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest flower clock in the world. I guess the whole face doesn't have to be flowers to be called a flower clock.

The beach is only about a 20 minute walk from my apartment. It was cold, rainy, and gross, but there were still a few people walking around.

On the way home it started to rain more. It was cold! So when I got home I sat at my kotatsu and worked on a puzzle I bought while in Hamamatsu. It's super tiny! You can see the size compared to my chapstick.


The next day I went out with another IC to set up my bank account and get a cell phone. The cell phone is awesome and deserves a post of its own later. :) On the way back it was snowing! It wasn't snowing at my apartment, but when I got up in the morning I could see the snow up in the mountains.


I took advantage of the sunny day and walked around some more. I went to the beach again. This time I could see mountains across the bay! :)

Pretty Sakura!!!!!!


Here is a view from the walk back to my apartment:

After lunch I ate the Sakura Kit Kat. I don't know if it tasted any different than the white chocolate Kit Kat because it just tasted sweet. It was green so maybe it was just a Spring colored Kit Kat and not a Sakura flavored Kit Kat. Either way... it was fun and unique! :) I want to try every different flavor of Kit Kat that I find here. So far I've had Banana, Maple, and Sakura. The maple one was my favorite.



Why are there so many different flavors of Kit Kats in Japan? Here's how wikipedia explains it: "In recent years, Kit Kats have also become very popular in Japan, a phenomenon attributed to the coincidental similarity between the bar's name and the Japanese phrase kitto katsu, which roughly translates to "You will surely win!" This has reportedly led to parents and children buying them for school examination days as a sort of good luck charm."

Well, that's it for now! :)

4 comments:

  1. The gate in the picture called "TORI I 鳥居" which leads you to the TOI Shrine(神社). And congraduation,there is Onsen(hot springs) according to the flower clock(Toi onsen)
    Try Onsen, and feel great under cold weather these 3 days!

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  2. Thanks! I was able to read the kanji for "Toi" on the gate but not the kanji for shrine. Now I learned some new kanji! :)

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