For various, computer-related reasons, it’s been ages since I’ve done an update so I thought I’d summarise into a selection of key words for now, and share some hilarious stories with you later.
Takamatsu: HOT, green, Japanese, friendly, awesome, amazing udon
ALTs/ JETs: wacky, diverse, friendly, welcoming
Teachers: effusive, welcoming, Japanese, kind
Apartment: cute, all my own, balcony, airplane bathroom
The mayor: Yeah, that’s right, I met the mayor
Administrative tasks: slow, complex, all in Japanese, all done for me (thank god)
Japanese (language): muzukashi!
Me: having the best time, getting lost often, a little sunburnt, learning Japanese slowly, constantly bewildered
Of course, my favourite things about a new place are the things that I find totally outrageous, so I thought I’d also include a list of things that I think are weird about Japan.
Things that are weird about Japan #1
The packaging. Every. Single. Thing. Is. Wrapped. Usually in about three layers of plastic plus a cardboard box. Fruit is often individually wrapped. I bought some mini cheesecakes the other day and there was a plastic wrapper, then a plastic box, then each cheesecake was wrapped in further plastic. For a country that’s huge on recycling, they create a lot of waste.
Things that are weird about Japan #2
The trash system. We separate our garbage into burnables, non burnables, large items and recycling. Within recying you separate into glass, cans and paper. Everything is taken on a different day, and rubbish day is six days a week. This is the most complex and bewildering trash system I’ve ever encountered and it has spun some of us into a mild panic.
Things that are weird about Japan #3
The vending machines. They are everywhere. There are five within a thirty second walk from my apartment. No joke. Water, soft drinks, vitamin drinks, tea and coffee (hot and iced) beer and cigarettes (though I believe you need ID for those)… They are great when you need something immediately, or when your brain is too tired to converse with shopkeepers.
Things that are weird about Japan #4
The “all you can eat/ drink”. This is a real thing. Some places you pay around ¥1500 for 90 minutes. We went to one place on Friday night and paid ¥4000 for three hours. And not just beer and wine like you might expect. There were just taps of beer, bottles of wine, pump bottles of umeshu (delicious and classy!) and fridges full of bottles of sake (shots were done). There was also unlimited delicious Japanese food. In New Zealand, places like this would go out of business/ incite the wrath of the law. Not in Japan.
Now that I have internet I promise more regular updates and some stories of me making a fool of myself.