Saturday, July 31, 2010

Move-in Day and first Self-Portrait

I told myself that the first thing I would do upon arriving in my new home in Japan would be to take a self portrait (put my Photo Major-status to good use)!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kochi-ken, Aki-shi, Shikoku Japan

Here I am, three days in to the interesting and unpredictable adventure that will be my next year (or so) in this crazy land of Japan.

Welcome to Aki-shi! Home to the Hanshin Tiger's spring practice grounds, copious amounts of nasu (eggplant), and some freakishly loud cicadas... But really, Aki (three days into living here) seems like a very cute, quaint, friendly town with a lack of bright boisterous nightlife, and a lot of humidity.

As of right now, I have yet to move into my actual apartment. My predecessor is still moving out, and until then, I am living in the swanky apartment of my landlord one floor up. Although it does not have air-conditioning, the TV and kitchen set-up more than make-up for the inability to completely settle into my new "home." I live a minute from the train station, five minutes from the grocery and postoffice, and a minute from the BOE, so I must say I have a pretty sweet deal for being in a no-where place like Kochi-ken.

Tonight, I look forward to my first enkai (drinking party) with the Board Of Education (BOE) staff, my fellow ALT Bee, and Pred (who will be having his going away party during my welcome party). Apparently, Kochi-ken is the biggest drinking prefecture in Japan, and before cheers, people will drink as "renshu" or practice. They also have a "getting-to-know-you" tradition called henpai, which is when someone with a drink goes around to different people and they pour drinks back and forth until the initiator decides to move on. I do not look forward to tomorrow morning...

So far, my days have been decently busy. The first day I arrived I had to make a number of inpromptu introduction speeches, sign-up for my gaijin-card, get bedding and some essentials, and fill out enough paperwork to make the pre-job-application paperwork look like scrap paper. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to re-join the world of communication and buy a cellphone, meet a sumo wrestler with the mayor, and have a little dinner-making party with Bee and Steph (from Yasuda)

I think I'm starting to feel better about living here, getting into a little routine, and not feeling so anxious about going home to an empty EMPTY apartment. I've always hated living by myself... but over time I'm sure it won't be quite as bad.