Friday, May 21, 2010

Things I Miss and Things I Don't Miss

Things I Don't Miss

  • Driving: Even though the bus here is pretty inconvenient (the last bus to Toi leaves the train station at 7:45 PM, it's expensive, and takes fifty minutes to reach the station) I still don't miss driving. I can use my time on the bus and train to study Japanese, sleep, or just enjoy the scenery. When I took the slower, cheaper trains to Tokyo the trip took about four hours in total, but it didn't really feel that long. If I take the bullet train I can be there in about two and a half hours! The train makes traveling so easy. If I wanted to go to Tokyo tomorrow I could just hop on a bus to the station and go. I don't have to buy tickets ahead of time like I would for a plane ticket.
This map just shows the rail coverage of Japan Railways,
but there are many more local railways throughout Japan!
  • My Bed: I don't miss sleeping on an actual bed. Here I sleep on a fairly thin futon on the floor, but it's very comfortable! Plus, the covers I bought for it are Hello Kitty with strawberries. SUPER CUTE :)
  • Working at Walmart: Duh. I probably didn't even need to list that one. Would I rather unload trucks and stare at cardboard boxes all day or teach Japanese kids and play games with them? Hmm... let me think...
  • Being Short: In America I was short. Here, I am average size! Though I think I am still a little on the short size for my age group. There are a lot of old people here and they are really short. But still... I am not unusually short!
  • Food: I do miss a few things (a couple slices of Papa John's pizza and some mint chocolate chip ice cream would be pretty good), but in general I haven't been having like horrible food cravings or anything. In the grocery I can find basic things that I recognize like fruit and vegetables. Though I do eat some strange things. Lately I've been eating pasta with hot sauce. It's good though!

  • Forks: I don't even own a fork. I don't remember the last time I used one (oh never mind... I do remember. It was when I went shopping in Gotemba like a month ago). I don't have anything against forks, I just don't miss them. Everything I eat I can eat either with chopsticks or a spoon.

Things I Love in Japan
  • Scenery: I haven't seen a lot of Japan yet, but the scenery around here on this peninsula is super pretty! I can see mountains from my windows and can walk to the beach in about 2o minutes (plus I see it from the school everyday!). The shore is super pretty. This area is only 30 minutes away by bus:

  • Cute Stuff!!! There is tons of cute stuff in Japan. From bank mascots to candy packaging... there is so much cuteness! It's perfectly acceptable to have cutesy stuff danging from your cell phone even if you're an adult. It's awesome. My newest charm is... a Mt. Fuji cat!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Kotatsu: In case you have missed one of the many times I have said I love my kotatsu... I LOVE MY KOTATSU!!!! It's a heated table. It's awesome. Which reminds me... I love sitting on the floor in general. At home I didn't really like sitting in chairs that much when I was working on something. Whenever I would work on crafts I was usually on the floor. Now I have a table that I can use while I'm sitting on the floor... and it's heated!!!!! :) :) :)
  • The Randomness of Japanese Television: I don't usually understand what's being said, but I usually don't need to. For example I was just watching a guy jumping on a trampoline on stilts. Do I really need to understand the audio? Probably not.
Things I Miss
  • Dryers: I miss having a clothes dryer. When I do laundry here I have to do it early in the morning so that it can hang outside all day to maybe dry. Sometimes it's still a little damp at the end of the day. I have to plan when I do my laundry more than in the US. Back home, when I was running low on clothes, I could just do laundry and then dry my clothes and had clean clothes ready to wear pretty quickly. I can't do that here. I also have to watch the weather reports here to do laundry. It rains a lot so there are many days I can't do laundry.
  • Baths and Real Showers: Well, I do have a bath tub but it's pretty old and I just don't think it would be all that relaxing and I'd probably just feel gross. I miss regular showers because here I have to hold the shower head and that can be a bit annoying. Though, I do like my water heater. I have to turn it on right before I use it, but the water heats within seconds. It's super hot! I have never turned it all the way to the hottest setting. I think it might shoot out flames. I also have to then turn the heater off and turn off the gas when I'm done. It's an old water heater. Newer ones have sensors so that they shut off during an earthquake. Mine doesn't have that so I have to turn it on and off manually so that it's not on during an earthquake. But even though it's ancient, it works super well!
  • Being Able to Read Everything: In the grocery store this can be pretty annoying. I don't know what a lot of things are, I can't read the ingredients, and I don't know how to cook stuff. But I have found some things with really good picture directions (like different rice seasoning mixes and curry mixes) so some things are okay. The grocery store is the only place that I mind being illiterate (well, I can read a little). With other things like the bus and the train it's not a problem. As long as I memorize the kanji (the many thousands of symbols) for the places I'm going I can pretty easily read timetables.
  • Just Being Able to Throw Things Away: When I throw something away here I have to make sure to sort it correctly. The main categories I have to worry about are burnables, recyclable paper, plastics, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and glass. But there are many more categories. There are about 15 or more in total. I have a calendar with color coded days and different categories of trash are thrown on that day. I have a whole booklet about trash.

See, for example on blue days I can throw away aluminum and steel cans, electronics, batteries, and cardboard, but it all still has to be kept separate.

There is an index in the back. It's in Japanese though. However, I did successfully find "toilet brush." It had "toire burushu" or something like that written in Katakana (a Japanese phonetic alphabet).

Oh, and all the plastics have to be washed. I have to wash all my plastic wrappers, which is even more annoying than having to separate them. This trash system is probably a really good system and I'm sure it wastes a lot less than other countries, but it's still annoying to have to do.


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