Tag Archives: language

Two Weeks Notice

Today marks living in Japan for two weeks. If I had it my way, Will and I would probably never leave. 

I don’t like change. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve has so much of it in the last year. Either way, I dragged my feet quite deeply about moving here. I was scared. I was scared of moving to another new place. I was scared of not being able to speak the language. I was scared of missing my family even more than I normally did. I was so silly. 

I love our neighborhood. It’s perfect. And I do mean perfect. If you had ever asked me to describe my dream place to live, Mikage is what I would have told you about. It’s quiet, but still urban enough for my tastes. There are flowers and trees everywhere, with a train a block away that takes me swiftly to the heart of Osaka. Our apartment is a dream. Hard wood floors, floor to ceiling windows, and a soaking tub that I can actually cover myself with water in. Even if I hated Japan, I could hide in this little slice of heaven forever. 

The language barrier isn’t as high as it was when I got here, and it’s getting shorter every day. I admit, I’ve lost a little bit of momentum in my learning, but that’s due to how much of the day I spend exploring the area. It’s a trade off I can happily live with. I’m starting to track words that I see out and about. Even if I have no idea what anything means, I can still sound words out and that gives me a certain amount of pride. Most things can be communicated through hand gestures and pointing, and enough people around here know key phrases in English than we can have a short conversation. 

With the exception of the first day here when I was fighting hard against jet lag and total culture shock, I haven’t ever felt alone. I miss my family, sure, but not any more than I usually would. And the constant stream of traveling I have planned (off to England on Thursday) will help keep any feelings of isolation at bay. It’s hard to mope about missing family when you’re planning a trip to the Great Wall of China with your brother and then a week in London with your mother in the same month. 

The only thing I wish was different here was that I had more time to write. I’ve been keeping a paper journal with me so that I can write down what I’m doing with each day, but I always run out of time at the end to transfer all of those thoughts online. I want to share all of my experiences with all of my friends right as they happen! Instagram is helping with that, but I really need to find a way to get everything online. Will has gotten the hang of it over on G+, we’ll see if he has any tips for me. 

Tonight more adventure are in store. I’m about to catch a train so I can meet Will in Kobe. We’re going to a ramen shop that he’s been trying to drag me to since I landed. There will also be some furniture scouting (our place is still a little bit bare) and most likely another pilgrimage to Lush for more bath bombs. The daily soaks here are really eating into my stash. What a hard life. There will be pictures of our evening, promise. 

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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.