Not Quite Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Life in Japan is beautiful, though not without difficulty. 

I have never lived in a place as breathtaking as Japan. Had I known what it would be like to live here, I don’t think I would have come. I’m very glad I didn’t know. Too often fear of the unknown keeps me from doing amazing things. 

I cannot read, speak or understand most of the language here which is a much bigger deal than I could have understood it be. Will wrote about how isolating it was when he got here, but he has several years of Japanese, even if he was a bit rusty. I had no idea, but I’m not sure you can really grasp a feeling like this until you experience it. Not being able to read? Man, I just don’t even know what to do with that. It’s the most basic skill that so much of my life is built upon and it’s so easy to take it for granted. Even going grocery shopping yesterday was a trial. I only picked up some basic things, the house was unsurprisingly void of food when I arrived, but grabbing vegetables and hangers took me about three times as long as it would have at any other store because I couldn’t read the basic signage, and I certainly couldn’t read the map. 

I also wasn’t counting on being stared at so often by so many people. I did some exploring of the neighborhood and found some parks and inquisitive children. They weren’t so bad, mostly they just tried their basic English on me, but the teenage boys who stared and then pointed and laughed were harder to deal with. I didn’t realize how much the stares and laughs would bother me, but looking back, I’ve never really had to deal with much of that. Even being a sci-fi fan, I got to skip most of that phase as most fannish things were in the mainstream pop culture by the time I came around. 

Today I shall unpack the rest of our luggage that arrived via courier last night. I was 300% done with the world by the time we landed on Monday so we decided to not try and drag the several large bags with us on the trains. It meant lacking clean jeans yesterday, but I survived. It’s been decided that much like the NYC apartment, we’ll just each have our own closets. Will get’s the one in the master bedroom and I get the second bedroom which is good with me because it has much more shelf space. Once the weather clears up, and after I’ve killed some more zombies I’m going hunting for furniture. Will and I found a great antique place when we were out on Wednesday and he told me this morning about another one. 

I still appear to be a morning person and that’s just fine with me. I get up an hour before Will which means I get most of my inbox cleared out before I wake him up and we get more time together that way. On the downside, I’ve been crashing out really early, though that may be the con crud I’m still fighting. We’ll see if this lasts. I hope it does. 

 

4 thoughts on “Not Quite Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”

  1. I can definitely related to this: I’m also very verbally oriented and it’s really frustrating even when you do have the basics of a language not to be able to communicate quickly with people. At least when I moved to Israel I could read but my vocabulary for everyday things was very limited. Hang in there!

  2. When you travel into the future, like you have done, I find the jet-lag turns you into a morning person! I normally have issues with getting up in the morning, but found that when at worldcon i would awaken a lot earlier than normal, and even be up an about at a stupidly early hour.

    It is something that takes a while for your body to work out what is going on!

    I hope you are enjoying yourself.

  3. You should be very proud of yourself. We all are. This is intense and anyone would struggle. Try to pretend to be an explorer. In china they touched blonde hair and thought Jim was Santa Claus and laughed. So much pressure and I am sure you will be frustrated since everything is hard. I remember that visual of not being able to read a sign made me want to lock the doors at night. Hope you find some English language connection soon. Love you.

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