Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Since coming to Japan

I now think nothing of

  • having rice, noodles or soup for breakfast;
  • having lunch at between 3 and 5pm and supper at around 9 or 10;
  • having bought a rolling mat and cooking chopsticks (and using both);
  • enjoying reading The Japan Times;
  • earthquakes (or aftershocks). There are hundreds every year in Japan, most can't be felt by people. In my apartment it's unusual not to feel one or more every week or so;
  • rain, that once it starts will go on for a day. Or two. Or three.
  • wind that isn't wind, but a typhoon;
  • smiling at random strangers;
  • smiling at random strangers who nearly cycle into me;
  • cycling on the pavement and without a helmet on;
  • forcing my way onto trains;
  • having people snoring around me on trains;
  • dumping my bike outside any shop I need to go in;
  • leaving bags in the basket of my bike while I go into a shop, knowing they'll still be there;
  • thanking someone 10,000 times for something;
  • bowing;
  • cuteness - things aren't so cute anymore, now they're 'just Japan';
  • leaping around a classroom in my suit for kids and adults;
  • having kids laughing at my drawings. actually having adults laughing too [pout] - but the drawings are getting better;
  • singing unaccompanied;
  • eating out being cheaper than eating in often;
  • ordering food by pointing to a picture on a menu or by selecting a button on a machine and then presenting a ticket to a waiter with my order on it;
  • vending machines within 50 metres or so of wherever you are with hot and cold drinks;
  • being able to buy alcohol 24/7;
  • getting what I want in a shop, etc even without having Japanese beyond a few words yet;
  • living alone :D
  • having a supporting manager;
  • getting up at 10am and going to bed at 2 or 3am;
  • being able to buy hot coffee or tea in bottles ready to drink;
  • being able to buy lovely hot snacks in convenience stores;
  • having food heated up in convenience stores;
  • peppering my English with words of Japanese;
  • using my brain, creativeness and whatever else it takes to get the meaning over to someone;
  • using squat toilets;
  • expecting both squat and Western toilets to be emaculate and with toilet paper when I go into them;
  • having a shopping basket/fridge/cupboard filled with half Japanese and half Western foods and drinks;
  • having four umbrellas hanging outside my flat and another elsewhere in Tokyo;
  • taking my shoes off before going in anywhere, including my own apartment;
  • waving as I approach someone I know, sometimes with both hands;
  • not standing up my chopsticks in my food - even if the privacy of my own apartment when I'm alone (yes, I do eat with chopsticks at home);
  • watching 24 on dvd;
  • neon explosions everywhere;
  • little shrines and temples hidden within reach of the neon explosions;
  • people working in jobs where you just cannot figure out what they are doing (standing around in some kind of uniform);
  • train drivers dressed like pilots;
  • station staff and taxi drivers who wear white gloves;
  • insides of taxi's which have white lace thrown over the seats;
  • taxi drivers who have GPS (?) but don't know how to get anywhere within a five minute radius of the station;
  • having supermarket shopping taken from a basket, scanned and put into another basket which I then pack away from the till. SO efficient....
  • enjoying drinks called Pocari Sweat and Calpis;
  • watching news bulletins, that aren't live, on the internet;
  • not knowing what my soup or noodles will actually look like once I've added water and the unrecognisable things have rehydrated and grown massively into size and semblance OF something!
  • 20,000 people trying to cram themselves into a train carriage even though another will be along in minutes. Oh, and waiting politely to one side for other people to get off before barging into every available centimetre of space;
  • having a soak in a bath tub that's 2/3's the length and nearly twice the height of a British tub;
  • having a stove top kettle that takes so long to boil I can take a shower, including washing my hair and make breakfast before it whistles;
  • cooking with one ring, one tiny toaster oven and a microwave.

And a million other things!

But I'm still trying to get my head around the fact I'm now living in ASIA, and will be for quite some time. I made the decision the other week that my ambition is to now live on every continent. Well, I've done mainland Europe, the Middle East and Asia, so I'm getting there!

3 Comments:

Blogger Josie said...

Hey there,
I love this entry.. It shows growth doesn't it!!!
I leave in one week. I will be based in Hyogo, Kobe..
You still sound like you are having fun!
Cheers
Josie

8:29 pm

 
Blogger darth said...

wow..great list! i can relate to almost every one of those-i lived and worked in tokyo for 1 1/2 years, and loved it..sounds like you are having a wonderful time.

6:36 am

 
Anonymous Nix said...

oh no! I feel the stirings of discontent and the urge to drop everything I know and run off to the other side of the earth. (I'm in Canada)
What have you done to me Jo in Japan???
I've been drinking up every word you write about your life and adventures, and so immersed am I that, one day (soon) I may just show up at your door step, invite myself in (after taking off my shoes of course) and proceed to eat noodles for brefix and live happily ever after in Japan.

I MUST stop reading your blog.

But how CAN I???

ps: did I ever tell you who I am??
My name is Nix (or Nicola or Nicola Doris if you are my mother and I am in trouble)

I am the cousin of the girl who stayed with you in London; Sanchia.

I am currently going through a terribly boring time at work and your blog helps pass the endless hours!!

3:21 am

 

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