Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old School

I haven’t seen blue sky yet which I think is responsible for my nagging jetlag.  I’m looking forward to seeing some sun in the next few days.  While the Typhoon hasn’t been super windy, it did bring a bunch of rain.  Since the rain hasn’t let up much my first day’s main priority was locating an umbrella.  It didn’t take too long to find one at my local corner store where I also snapped up some other some other basic stuff like kitchenware and soap.  Next I found an electronics store where I bought a power converter and had my first successful Japanese “conversation”.  I managed to ask them where I could buy a fan and actually understood their directions and found the place.  I lugged the fan back to my place and, whew, the room is so much nicer with some circulation.  I later learned that I can actually adjust my room’s AC, but the fan helps a ton.  I’m pretty happy with my room, however I don’t get a lot of natural light on the 3rd floor.  The apartment building is sandwiched between two other buildings and you don’t get a lot of light until the 5th floor where our building rises above our neighbors.  Maybe I can move up a few levels at some point.   

I spent the afternoon exploring my neighborhood.  It seems that I’m in the “fireworks district”.  There is this one street where every store for blocks is filled with fireworks and cheap plastic carnival toys.  It’s very strange.  I wandered through subway malls, open air arcades, and super markets trying to figure out where I could food and supplies.  Food is sort of an issue.  The corner store has a bunch of noodle cup stuff, but I can’t read any of the directions.  I’ve been to a few restaurants, but I’m going out of my way to find places with pictures.  Even then, I don’t really know what I’m ordering.  I find the whole process kind of intimidating.  I feel embarrassed and helpless not knowing how to order, but I’m trying really hard to get over it.
As I’ve settled into the apartment I’ve come to realize that it is a lot like a dorm of single studios.  It reminds me of college and I really like the nostalgic feeling.  People hang out in the lobby and everyone has been super cool so far.  There’s a pretty good mix of foreigners with the typical slant toward Australians.  Apparently it’s really easy to get a working visa for Australians.  Most people seem to be English teachers and they’ve all been here for years.
In the evening a few people were hanging out in the lounge so I joined in and we drank cheap wine and expensive whiskey.  One of the guys was really pushing to go out, but I was on the fence.  I felt jetlagged, and you know, it was Typhooning outside.  But, I didn’t come out here to just sit in my warm room and watch Community episodes, so I decided I shouldn’t pass up the chance.  Six of us finally left around 1 in the morning and took a cab to Amerika-mura which isn’t too far away.  We bar hopped for a while and some of the guys left to go to a club, which I wasn’t quite ready for yet.  It’s crazy how all the bartenders and door guys seem to know everyone in our group.  I guess the foreigners get around a lot.

The next day my main success was finding a Gold’s Gym and getting a little workout.  Gold’s Gym will give you a travel pass to visit their international Gyms.  I was surprised to find that they actually have gyms in Japan.  I caved and ate at a McDonald’s which wasn’t half bad.  In the evening I wandered around Osaka Castle exploring a running route and I came across some sort of concert festival.  I saw these guys performing and they were pretty good.  

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time studying Japanese.  I’m really trying to focus on the Kanji.  I’ve got over 300 of them memorized, but rather than helping, it just makes reading infuriating.  Knowing 1/7 of the kanji means I can’t understand anything but just catch glimpses of what’s going on.  I figure if I can learn 1000 of them while I’m hear I might actually start being able to read a few phrases.

An unexpected source of entertainment are Japanese targeted internet ads.

My hallway
 My Entry
My kitchen
My Bed


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