19 May 2008

New Beginnings...

And so I discontinue my last blog, and create this blog, for I am no longer living Lancaster, or the United States, for that matter. This blog was created just recently to further keep in touch with my family and friends in other far away places (or is it just me that's far away?) and to give them news about my drastically different surroundings and home life in Japan.

The 12.5 hour plane ride to Japan was made MUCH better by the fact that the airline gave both of us business class seating, after they screwed up the first time, by making us miss the original flight the day before, by only about 3 minutes.

We arrived to the Nagoya Airport on time at about 6pm. Takeshi's parents were there to pick us up. Takeshi's mom gave me the usual big smile and hug when I got to her and I joked with Takeshi's dad about the obvious long trip there.

I have experienced so much already since I arrived, and already I have taken a short day trip to Osaka, and a day-long trip to the city of Nara.

Living here is very different from the States, and I'm sure I could not have imagined HOW much different it would actually be here, before arriving. I'm still getting used to having cars drive on the other side of the road. I still think that every time we make a turn onto a street, we're going to crash into an oncoming car. I'm also still not used to being stared at by people wherever I go. Takeshi says that if we were in a bigger city, you'd see more foreigners and Japanese who are more used to seeing them. But this it not the case in Suzuka. Most of the men who stare, just stare at me kind of rudely almost, (take a photo buddy, it'll last longer) and most of the women who look at me pretty much just seem to "observe" me. Very annoying sometimes.

Since I've arrived I've had next to no bread at all. Breakfasts consist of salmon, sliced pickled cucumber, egg, miso soup, and white rice. White rice is present at every meal, and I can see how Takeshi says that it's very easy to become sick and tired of rice sooner or later. Takeshi's grandmother keeps insisting on giving everyone these tiny bottles of liquid vitamin supplement, which SHE says helps prevent cancer. We don't think so. It tastes like liquified orange sorbet. But it does have vitamins in it.

All of the clothes which are washed in the house are hung out to dry outside in the small backyard/garden behind the house. The only time I had clothes out to dry outside on a line was at my grandmother's old house in Scranton, PA. Bathing is also different here. First, the toilet is in a little room, right next to the room for the sink and bath. The toilet seat warms up when one sits down on it, and there is a little button panel attached to side the main piece. One button is for if you want a jet of water to come up and rinse your behind. A very strange sensation. Through the next door down the hall from the toilet, there are two small rooms connected by a door. First, when you walk in, there is the sink and the washer. Everyone puts their undergarments in a small shelf for easy access. Then there is another door to the right, which is of warbled semi-transparent glass. This leads to the bathing room. The floor of this room is tiled and has metal lining wrapping around the walls before it gets to the basic wall surface. Right at the doorway when you walk in, there is a large piece of soft but firm styrofoam placed on top of the tiled floor. On the wall is a place for soaps, wash clothes, and shampoos used to various people in the household. There is also a shower hose attached to the wall, which one can take off and hold manually. To the left of the styrofoam is the tub. This tub is metal and is very very deep. Perfect for soaking in hot water. The bathing process goes like this: First, you undress in the room where the sink is, and throw your dirty laundry right away into the open washer machine. Then, you turn on the hose and proceed to wash everything you need to wash (hair, and body). At no point during the washing do you enter the tub, which is already filled with hot water. You next wash off all the soap on your body. You climb into the tub and soak for as long as needed. The the water in the tub is used by the next person to take a shower that night. If you're not the last person to take a shower, then you do not drain the tub of the water.

I do enjoy that tub very much. You can have hot water up to your chin if you sink down into it enough. I've recently skipped the tub portion of my bath time because of the hotter weather we've been having.

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