Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Post 3-9

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The bright green gaijin pants for which the blog was named

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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

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.

Finishing Up the Official Stuff

Originally posted on October 16, 2005.

I met Sayaka-san the next day after her first class. We went to City Hall again (by foot this time since there was no rush) and got me a piece of paper that will serve me as a substitute alien registration card until I get the actual card later this month.

The Japanese post office is one of the largest banks in the world. o_Oa (Photo by sekihan.)

With that, I was able to get a post office account and a bank account. These are both savings accounts. This is probably one of the weirdest things I’ve seen here. I couldn’t get a cell phone without a savings account at the post office, but I can only pay my bills to the city government through the bank. What??? I like how the latter works, since it streamlines your bill paying to the one office. The former really boggled my mind until I looked at the ATM books I got and realized that the post office one looked a little more formal, considering the fact that the post office had officially sealed my hanko into the book.

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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Post 3-8

Posted on
The bright green gaijin pants for which the blog was named

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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

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.

City Hall

Originally posted on October 16, 2005.

Ishida-sensei gave Sayaka-san money for a cab, since there was only an hour until her second (and last) class of the day. We first hoofed it to a place to get some pictures of me taken (I’ve gotten my picture taken more times in the last three months than in the preceding year, by the way), then took a cab to the city hall.

Japanese cabs are funny-looking. Like American cabs, they have lit-up signs on top. However, they also have antennae (often v-shaped) symmetrically placed on top. The drivers all wear gloves, though there’s no standard glove type. One thing that’s really awesome about them is the fact that the driver can open the passenger door at the push of a button.

Surprise Koto Lessons

"Koto Strings". Photo by Adam Chamness, licensed under Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA).
This awesome koto photo was taken by Adam Chamness.

We got some alien registration stuff done, then went back to the school. Sayaka-san had her class, and I got to go to my first class. I had indicated an interest in music, and there was a traditional Japanese music class at the same time as Sayaka’s English class, so I went there. It sounded interesting; history, studying the forms, appreciation.

PSYCH!

How about, “Let’s play the koto?”

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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Post 3-7

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The bright green gaijin pants for which the blog was named

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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

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.

Now What?

Originally posted on October 16, 2005.

View from the window
This was the view out one of my apartment’s side windows. If my illiterate reading of the sign behind the fence at the end of the block was correct, this used to be a landfill. I wouldn’t trust that translation, though, if I were you. (Photo added to post on June 23, 2010.)

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.

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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Post 3-6

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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

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.

Yay, I Have Stuff Now!

Originally posted on October 16, 2005.

So after that, Nei-san drove us back to my apartment. We pulled up to unload my loot and discovered that a guy had shown up to turn on the gas. We took all but the futon upstairs and let the guy in to do that. There was a lot (and I mean a lot) of dust inside the heater until it was turned on. :P After the gas guy and the girls showed me how to work the stove, heater, and water heater (You have to open and close the valves to each before using it, and the water heater works so fast that you don’t have to turn the power on until you want to use it), the gas guy left and we brought the futon upstairs. At this point, Utsuki-san and Nei-san took their leave to allow me to rest/set up the place, with my thanks for their help. ^^

This is the first time since I got to Kushiro that I had taken any pictures. I could have gotten pictures of the stores, but didn’t really want to while I was doing heavy shopping. So here’s my apartment, empty.

This ended up being the corner where I did most of my living. That box in the middle of the picture was the only heating in the apartment.
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Japan

Two Things I Enjoyed, Living in Japan

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I lived in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan for eleven months as part of a college-level student exchange program. There were very few English-speakers there and few of those were native English-speakers. I had a variety of adventures (and misadventures), both solo and with friends. The following are two of my favorite things from my stay in Japan.

The Kusuri Bridge (くすりばし)

Kusuri bridge art
The end sculpture art on the bridge has its name written in hiragana. If there are kanji for the name, I never saw them. 薬橋, perhaps?

My apartment building was in a predominently residential area near the Kushiro River (on both sides of which the city is built; it runs from the Kushiro Marsh to the sea). The river was between myself and the main train station, with its obligatory surrounding shopping district. I often had reason to cross the Kushiro River, and the bridge I usually crossed was the Kusuri Bridge.

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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Post 3-5

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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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

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.

Operation: Lena Needs Stuff

Originally published on October 16, 2005.

So I met Nei-san. Nei-san is a fourth-year biology student, with a car. She took us to my apartment to drop my stuff off, then the three of us went shopping. We got a lot of things to get me started here, general necessities I was without either because I had no intention of bringing it or because my baggage didn’t make it. Stuff like a futon to sleep on, food, dishes, and soap.

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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Post 3-4

Posted on
The bright green gaijin pants for which the blog was named

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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

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 seperately, as they were meant to be.

Haha! Finally in Kushiro!

Originally published on October 16, 2005.

Hokkaido University of Education, Kushiro
This is the college I went to when I was in Japan. If I recall correctly, I took it while leaning out one of my apartment’s windows. Angle looks right for that. (Photo added to post on Jun 23, 2010.)
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Bright Green Gaijin Pants

Bright Green Gaijin Pants, Posts 1 & 2

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The bright green gaijin pants for which the blog was named

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, check out the Bright Green Gaijin Pants category.

The first two posts are small and nothing special. Starting at post 3 is where things get really interesting.

Going, Going…

Originally published on October 2, 2005.

But not quite gone. I am in the San Fransisco airport right now (wishing I had some gatorade). On the first leg of my trip (to Seattle), I was seated next to a lady with an adorable 1.5 year old daughter. Talked to them when we weren’t sleeping. For the second leg, I had an exit seat (Yay! Leg room!) with plenty of room — it was an aisle seat, and there was a guy at the window but no on in between us. I just slept on that flight. I leave here for Tokyo at 11:10 AM Pacific time.

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Japan

Kushiro, Japan – A Dying City? D’:

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When I lived in Japan, I lived in Kushiro, a city on the east edge of Hokkaido. Its primary industries, as I understand it, are fishing and paper production. (I actually got to go on a tour of one of the paper mills, and boy was that exciting! Very much like the tour of a crayon factory they show you in… was it Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood? I forget exactly. Anyway, it was the coolest field trip ever. The entry fee was the best 500 yen I ever spent.)

Anyway, some random fellow who will be working in Kushiro in the near future sent me an e-mail to ask for any advice I could give him about going there, working there, etc. He also sent me this video he found on YouTube. It was uploaded in March of 2008, and it’s the most heart-rending thing I’ve seen in a very long time.

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