Life in Japan
I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and just type about every day life here in Japan. For the most part it's a lot like living in America. I wake up, feed Eric and the kids, play with the kids, feed the kids lunch, nap Chloe, play with Etta, make dinner, feed the family, bathe the kids, and put the kids to sleep. That is every day! However, I add things into my days like hanging out with other people, or going to the store, or go out to lunch/dinner, or invite people over for meals. Now those are the things that differ a lot from the states.
Going to the grocery store can be a pain. First, I ride Eric's bike (his has baskets, mine is in the mail) to the store unless it's raining. You take recyclables to the store and your own grocery bags. Otherwise you pay for the plastic ones. After dropping off broken down milk cartons, white styraphone from meat, PET bottles without the lids or labels, and soda cans, I start my shopping. I can only buy so much because I bike it home. I pretty much stick to the produce, dairy, bread, and eggs. Occasionally I need something that is written in kanji. Most of the time I just know what it is and other times I just have to skip it because I can't find it. I have been looking for Miso for the last two weeks. I even have the kanji written for it and still can't find it. Hopefully tomorrow I can actually ask someone in the store for it. Keep your fingers crossed. I recently found out that milk and eggs are really cheap on the weekend so I stock up then. I wish I could take our camera in the store just to show you what it looks like, but I already stick out like a sore thumb without a camera.
Another thing that is difficult here is transportation. Biking is really the best way to get around but every once in awhile you have to drive. We have a pretty big vehicle for Japan and it makes it more difficult to get around. Roads are small, parking spaces are narrow, and no road in Japan is straight unless it's a toll road. Back home you can mapquest your destination and think nothing of getting somewhere. Here, I start sweating when I have to go somewhere by myself. For example, I was meeting up with a new friend the other day at her house. Doesn't sound bad, but it's in a neighboring city which I don't know. Eric got the address (all in Kanji) and looked at maps online and wrote down directions. Well, it wasn't her house I ended at but it all worked out and I finally got to her house (after she went looking for me).
Making friends has not been hard here. The Japanese people are extremely friendly. The hard part is communication. It doesn't help that my Japanese is still in the early stages and will probably be that way until we leave here. However, my new friends speak as much English as they can so we can understand each other. I'm finally getting used to moments of silence when hanging out with my new friends. Those are the times I'm trying to think of something in Japanese to say or say something simple in English. I'm sure they are doing the same thing.
The hardest part of living here is that time goes by extremely fast. Just daily activities seem to eat away at all my time that I have barely anything to give to Eric, studying, let alone for myself. I hope that over the next couple of months we can figure out a way to balance everything that has to get done with all the things we want to do or experience while we are here. Otherwise I'm afraid our two years in Shizuoka will go by so fast we'll look back and see all the things we wanted to do but never accomplished.
Wow, I did a lot of rambling today. My next post will be a more cheerful post. I'll talk about our most recent get together with friends...what it's like to dine with our Japanese friends!