Thursday, September 8, 2011

Learning Japan

Monday I briefly saw some sun and it didn’t rain for the majority of the day at least.  I went to ARC Academy for my Japanese placement test.  It was intimidating.  While I know hiragana and katakana, I’m not too used to reading in it exclusively.  I was also pretty rusty on conversation.  Despite all this, they wanted me to take a trial lesson.  The first half of the class went ok, but I was completely lost for the second half.  I think they’re probably 2-3 weeks or so ahead of my skill level.  I felt a little too uncomfortable to take the class.  Luckily, the class restarts in 3 weeks so I may try to take it then.  In the meantime, I’m thinking of taking some private lessons.  I was pretty disappointed it didn’t work out exactly the way I wanted, but I guess that’s what you get when you drop everything and go to Japan without planning to coincide with the start of a class.

It takes me a long time to get anything done here.  Any time I want to go somewhere I have to look up directions on how to get there and map a route across the subway.  The addresses make no sense here so I end up getting lost trying and end up wandering underground train stations for what seems like miles.  When I finally arrive, I’m confused about what is going on and it’s difficult to get what I need.  I spent hours the other day buying groceries and figuring out how to use my hot plate to cook them.  I did manage to cook one of my staple salmon dinners and it actually turned out pretty good.  I’m seriously craving fresh fruit and vegetables.  Everything here is loaded with carbs, breaded, and fried.  I like Japanese food, but I’m learning that I don’t really like it every freaking day.

Everyone in my building seems to have these SoftBank prepaid phones.  It’s really expensive to make calls on them, but the text messaging is free.  Without a phone it’s pretty tough for me to hang out since I have to randomly run into someone in order to make plans.  So, I went over to Yodabashi Camera the other day and picked one up.  It only took them 3 hours to figure out how to set it up and verify that I’m not a criminal.  Yup, I have my own “burner” phone now.  Just call me Stringer Bell.

I saw a cab driver pull over to the side of the road, hop out, and take a leak right on the side of the curb.  I guess that’s ok here.

Japan seems to have a large population of escaped ferrets.  I’ve already seen a few running through the streets.

I saw a guy wearing a white shirt the other day that said “FUCK EVERYONE”, in huge lettering.  I wonder if he knows how offensive that actually is to English speaking people.

Facing West on rooftop of the Mayflower House
 Facing South on rooftop of the Mayflower House
Facing East on rooftop of the Mayflower House

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