Journal Entry: August 7, 2013

My room, a few days after I'd arrived. For the first few months, that desk was where I'd spend each day after school.

My room, a few days after I’d arrived. For the first few months, that desk was where I’d spend each day after school.

2013年8月7日の日記

Finally, I arrive in my town.

Background Info

JET Tokyo orientation was relatively busy, so I didn’t have much time to write anything. Once I got to my town, however, and sat down in my chair, well, there wasn’t much else to do. As a result, this entry is pretty long. It covers both events that happened at orientation as well as thoughts about settling into a new town.

Also, good luck for the non-Japanese speakers, for the entry contains a few Japanese words. All of them should be pretty obvious what they are though, hopefully.

Onto the journal!

JAPAN JOURNAL

5:30 pm – There’s a lot to say, and nowhere to start. Writing that sounds depressing, but I assure you I’m not depressed. I’m not sure if I’m feeling all that much right now though beyond exhaustion and a sense of wondering where to start.

Well, gotta begin somewhere. Right now, I’m sitting in my new room in Shichikashuku. But I think what’s going on now is far more complex than what’s happened.

So maybe here’s a better place to start: Last night, orientation for JET finished up. It was a good orientation, all things considered. Met some decent people and learned a few interesting tidbits. More than anything, it did help me get into a good mindset. That night, with some free time, I met up with Steven, Randy, Natsumi, and Olly, and we spent a night on the town. Got some ramen from 天下一品, a nice ramen chain. Went to Big Echo, a huge karaoke establishment. Showed them my student id from Northeastern and got a discount, which I felt slightly bad about. I’m not a student anymore.

After that, we went to the observation tower in Tokyo to look over everything and then bought some alcohol to drink. I played Olly in Janken and lost because of that stupid extra bonus mode thing. 「あっち向いてほい!」 or something like that. Back in my room, we sat around, talked, and watched videos. Hanging out with everyone again got me pretty nostalgic. These are the guys I want to spend my time with.

This morning I woke up, wrote a note to my roommates in Tokyo, telling them to find me on Facebook (I left before they woke up), and met with my Miyagi group in the lobby. They’re a good bunch, the five of them. One girl, Lynn is pretty cool, though her location in Miyagi (the other side) probably means we won’t see each other much. Andy, on the other hand, is pretty great. Again, why do all the great people have to be on the other side of the prefecture!?

Okay, I’m going to get back to cleaning. Or setting up, or what-have-you. My reward for finishing: alcohol and the omiyage from Natsumi!

7:00 pm – Finished. Well, I mean, more-or-less. I’ve got my clothes put away, my suitcases against the wall, my laundry bin full of dirty laundry, and a glass of wine next to me. Combined with a fan blowing against me, life’s pretty good.

It’s getting dark outside, as you can imagine. I’m tempted to sneak a peak outside to get my bearings straight before it gets too dark. I probably should. It’s nice to have a sense of where everything is.

Shichikashuku is similar to what I expected, but of course has some striking differences. While I imagined the town having a central area, I didn’t imagine this many houses in one area. It seems most of the 1700 people living here are centered in this one part. There’s apparently a ramen shop around here somewhere. I’d like to find it.

More than that though, I’d like to get my internet set up and my phone running. If I could text Steve, Olly, or Natsumi, things would be very different, I think. Right now, I’m experiencing what older JETs seem to have unanimously experienced—some strange loneliness attached to living in a house alone for the first time in my life. My neighbors are close, sure, but it’s still very far psychologically.

Random bits:

-Had 牛タン today for the first time. Very good. Nice eating such a Japanese meal.

-My card had problems withdrawing money today. Eventually got it working at a 郵便局. Some big chain.

-Went to a cellphone provider. Great place, but I need to be more informed before buying a cellphone. Is that a luxury? This is survival skills at its max.

-My bed is covered in dirty sheets. I mean, they don’t look dirty. But apparently my predecessor thought they were. I dunno. I don’t care. I know these sheets fit. I’m pretty dirty myself.

Main bit: After using Japanese so constantly today, I’m plum 疲れた. Japanese people always seem impressed with your Japanese, but I’ll have to say, I know nothing. There’s so much I don’t understand. Which is fine: my Japanese is going to get better. It can’t not.

It’s hard right now; I’d be stupid to not admit it. I can’t wait to have a phone and a routine. I’m going to be picked up tomorrow by 陸さん around 3 pm. Until then, what should I do? Writing here is helpful. I wonder if I have TV. At the very least, I have Rogue Legacy to play on my computer. And maybe I’ll study too. Who knows?

Talk to you later.

P.S. – Is it strange referring to the future reader as “you”? If it is, I’ll stop. 笑

8:10 pm – Minor update. The お土産 from Natsumi was great! It was some kind of Japanese-y-but-different cookie. Man. 日本人は優しいだね!

The TV does work, but it only has like, 5 channels. That’s alright. It’s given me a little bit to play around with. Better than the hotel.

I was going to walk around outside, but before I did, I realized that very few people know who I am, and I could be suspicious. I don’t want to get people on their nerves. But outside felt soooo good. Not only because of the temperature, but because I could finally get out on my own. It’s really nice. I can’t wait to go out soon. In the daytime, I’ll seem less suspicious I imagine.

I might get to bed early. おやすみ!I guess that answers that.

Thoughts

Man. I had to remove 14 sentences. All stuff that should be kept private. But I’ll give you a hint… I’d just left a relationship and could have enjoyed some company. Nothing vulgar or crazy, mind you, but stuff that shouldn’t be written publicly. I’m kinda sad I had to remove two of those sentences though, I had this awesome pun.

Also, why did I write omiyage in the first entry but お土産 in the second? No consistency.

It’s funny to read the stuff that you write in the past. I remember some of these thoughts and feelings (not too hard since it was only a year ago and a rather turbulent time), but some of it seems so distant now, which makes sense seeing as it was a year ago.

Well, that’s it for today. See you tomorrow for some thoughts on 和語, natto, and bumping into an old couple.

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