My first blog, titled Bright Green Gaijin Pants, was a chronicle of my time as an exchange student in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan. I’ve decided to repost its contents on this blog. For a full list of all these posts, click Bright Green Gaijin Pants on the menu, above.
The first blog post of any real worth that I published from Japan was far larger than it had any right to be. It was actually several posts combined and posted at the same time because I didn’t have internet access when I first got to Japan. I will be reposting them separately, as they were meant to be.
Originally posted on October 16, 2005.
At this point, I was tired. But it was only like 15:00! So I decided to work on this blog post. I did that until I got to my recollection of waking up in the hotel room. Then I realized if I was to hand-wash my clothes with time for them to dry, I needed to do that. I’ll tell you what: hand-washing your clothes in a kitchen sink with no drain plug is interesting, especially if you’re using cold water ’cause you don’t want to use the gas to heat the water and are not wearing much ’cause you’re washing most of your clothes.
After that, I headed for the bathroom. Since I hadn’t thought to buy any real house-cleaning soap, I used dish washing liquid to clean the bathroom. Took a shower, then settled down for a bath. I discovered that 42 C is lower than I like for a bath. Note for next time. Still a decent temperature, though. Soaked away some of my traveling aches.
After that, I hit the sack. It was only like 20:45, but with my headache and my traveling aches and me needing to adjust my internal clock, I figured I should go to bed early and sleep as late as possible.
After waking at like 4:30, I started working on this again, pausing when I hit the price of bananas to look up the exact price of the bananas, get some water, and feast on the tasty-looking rice dish with shrimp.
Tasty-Looking Rice Dish with Shrimp: 5
It’s pretty much rice with bits of egg and celery, small pieces of shrimp, and wasabi on the side. Mmm, breakfast.
So there I was, at about 7:00. I was told yesterday that I can access the Internet from the college during the day, so hopefully I will get to post this today. For now, I am leaving pictures and text file on my computer.
O SNAP X2!
I forgot the feature I intended to add at the end of every blog post from here on out. So I’ll add a bit of my doings this morning as well. I did some arranging at my apartment, eventually leaving around 8:10 with wet pants on. I walked and took some pictures of the neighborhood. However, when I got to the school I discovered that my alarm clock was an hour fast. Heh. It was 7:30.
So I went for a walk. Figured out which direction the Kushiro River is in, as well as discovering that there’s a game store just on the other side. I didn’t go in, ’cause I want Internet first, but still. Walked back, and came into the school to eat some Japanese beef jerky (with its gold seal of “Good Taste & Happy Feeling” on the front).
Japanese Beef Jerky: 5
Spiced different, but tastes just as good. Very expensive, though.
While I was sitting in a communal area, I heard a band playing songs and went to investigate. There are club rooms in the basement, and as I type this, a band (a good rock band) is blaring loud music in club room 7, ten feet or so to my left and across the hall. In fact, that dictated my choice of seating for writing this.
On to the new feature!
Realizations of the Period
- An airport is an airport is an airport.
- People have told me that the Japanese speak quickly. I don’t think so. I think we just process Japanese slowly. I know that that’s my problem. I’ve found that I understand better if I take in what they’re saying by the sentence than by the word.
- Going to another country and writing a blog about it is a good way to practice writing. (Special note to Chuck: That was aimed at you. Alternatively, you can take my escapades and re-write them as a cheesy adventure story. I think that could be really cool. “When Lena got off the bus at the Haneda airport, she had a feeling something was wrong. A flicker at the corner of her eye made her turn just in time to dodge the swift blade of a pirate’s cutlass. Knowing that she was running out of time she quickly vanquished the pirate and his squad of ninjas, but by the time her enemies were finally laid fast upon the concrete, the nearby clock read 18:09. She was too late; her flight had already left.” If you want to try, feel free. :D)
- Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is pretty, but it really isn’t a good hotel at all, especially at the prices they charge.
- When travelling in a country where the populace speaks a foreign language, never underestimate the power of hand gestures/mime and onomatopoeia. Ever. If you can get the idea across, they’ll tell you the word for it.
OK, still no way to get this bugger on the Internet. Bah! I’m gonna keep just adding stuff to the bottom, then. However, It’s not going to be nearly as blow-by-blow. That takes too long, and as I settle in a bit more, that gets less interesting. Some parts will still be elaborate, but not all.
So anyway, when I got done with the Realizations of the Period, I put my laptop away and did some logic puzzles before going off to meet Hiruta-sensei. Hiruta-sensei was escorting the last two exchange students (out of four; three Russian, one me). Tolia and I got to sit around for a while, waiting for our sponsoring teachers to arrive, so we got to know each other a bit. He’s double-majoring in English and Japanese, and wants to take a class in Shodou. His mentioning Shodou, combined with me finding out there’s a Shodou class, made me want to take it, too. (Shodou = Japanese calligraphy. Sho = writing, dou = way [書道])
After a great while, Ishida-sensei arrived. He made mention of classes, asked what I was interested in, and showed me a class schedule. At that point, Sayaka-san needed to go to class, so she and I agreed to meet in the central lobby later. I spent a bit of time in the library on the Internet (which is how I found out that I still have no way to get this post on the Internet), where I did some stuff on Neopets and checked my e-mail. After that, I decided I was hungry, so I headed to the shokudou (cafeteria).
The menu was visual; there was a glass case outside the doors with the day’s dishes made up for you to see and choose from. I picked tonkatsu [insert compound word I don’t recall here] udon. Essentially, it was pork cutlet over rice and lettuce with a sauce on top.
Tonkatsu over Lettuce and Rice: 5
Who likes pork? I do. Who likes lettuce? Me. Who likes rice? Over half the population of the planet. And the sauce was tasty.
After that, I went home and took a nap. Jisabokke (jet lag) has never been a problem for me until now. I’ve been getting tired around 20:00 and been unable to sleep later than like 4:30. Haah. Suck. So, nap.
When I went to meet with Sayaka-san and Ishida-sensei again, Sayaka-san introduced me to Mina-san and Orie-san. I didn’t talk much to Orie-san because she left for class, but Mina-san stayed with us for a while. She likes to read. :D I doubt she and I have read many of the same books, though.
The meeting that followed was when Araoka-san (who I had corresponded with via the Internet over the summer) explained to myself and Sayaka-san the official-isms and whatnot that I had to go through. I say he explained to us both, but the truth is that he was pretty much telling her what needed to be done because I couldn’t understand what he was saying fast enough and he knew it. As it turned out, some of it was stuff that I knew already, but didn’t know the vocabulary for.