I'm going to break this blog into two, because adding pictures is a real PITA and I don't want to slog through them all.
I added Skype -- so if you have it, add me. My name is just firstname.lastname --well, you have to replace firstname with my first name and so on, it's fairly simple. I just don't want to be giving out all of that sensitive info on the web :)
One thing I've learned is that you don't need to know much about a language before you go to a country. Assuming that people say the correct thing at the socially acceptable time and gesture, you can pretty much figure out what they are saying. This has greatly helped me. It also helps that I understand a lot more Japanese than I can speak and it appears that most Japanese understand more English than they can speak--so we all meet happily in the middle. Even so, I get confused a lot. So much, in fact, that I think it's my new stasis point.
Some of you were asking about apartment pictures. The apartment is tiny. That being said, it's bigger than my dorm rooms at Iowa State and I don't have to share :) So, thanks ISU, for lowering my standards in square footage!
The view from my doorway. Yep, not very big. It does have a washer/dryer though, which is at the edge of the picture.
My "kitchen". Personally, I don't call one burner and a sink a kitchen. There is a rice cooker, but, believe it or not, rice is really expensive here, so I'd rather just go out to eat.
The toilet room. It's like peeing in a closet. I'm not sure what you are supposed to do with the toilet sink--I'm not touching toilet water. On the bright side, like all Japanese toilets, the seat is heated. And there are lots of buttons!
At least it isn't my old enemy, the toilet in the floor. When I go into a place that has one of these, I usually just leave. Frankly, I'm not sure I could use it without peeing on my shoes and I've never been that desperate. This picture was snapped today!
A close-up of the toilet handle. Those of you with a little Japanese instruction will appreciate that you can either have a "chisai"or an "okii" flush--that's small or big for us gaijin.
My shower-room. Because of the lack of door or curtin, the whole room gets soaked during a shower. And the tub...well, I hope you don't like to take lengthy baths, because this ain't the tub to do it in. Unless you are a hobbit. Then it would be fine.
A little desk area. It's nice they gave me a PS 2, but I don't have any games. And yes, I did haul all of those books here. I know, I know, but it's my hobby! And books in Eigo (English) are expensive.
The bed. Closet on the left, which has some shelves, 2 chairs (for company?), a scale (seems like a strange thing to have), an iron, and a blow dryer. The mirror is actually shelving for clothing (thank god). In the upper left corner, the evil AC that refuses to work. I'm sure I've just shut it off accidentally but I can't figure out how to get it back on. The bed sits on the floor, but I kinda like that.
And, finally, my balcony. No screen, but there don't seem to be a ton of bugs, so I just leave the door open and it cools down the apartment. See those windows across the street? Full of office people during the week. I stare at them and they stare at me.
So now a trip to work with me...I take the subway every day. It's clean and safe, but really crowded, so I go to work early (to avoid the crowds). On the bright side, going to work early here means before nine.
My stop is at the local Denny's
Yeah, you heard me right. The Denny's. Anyone up for "Moon over my hammy"?
So many stairs! And I was already up two flights when I took this picture. Stairs everywhere--no wonder Japanese people are thin. I've walked more in the last week than I have in the last five years.
These bumps exist on all sidewalks, subway and train station, pretty much everywhere the public walks. Apparently, the blind can follow them--they change from lines to bumps when there is an intersection. And they hurt like a b**ch to walk on in heels. I think their real job is to break ankles.
I ride on the women-only car in the mornings. It's not as crowded. Hoo-ray for women!
In other news, I went to Harajuku yesterday. Strange and pretty damn cool. I bought Duchess a toy that looks like a sushi-roll. While I was there I spotted some Lolita's--both the gothic and sweet variety. I couldn't bring myself to take their picture like they were zoo animals but maybe I'll force myself in the future.
Strange clothes. I'm sure you all have seen this blog before:
Strange Japanese Fashion
There are some strange Japanese fashions. I personally find the Ganguro style to be truly disturbing. The most bizarre thing I saw was a woman wearing a pink, lacy eye-patch as a fashion accessory. That's just weird.
I think I'm going to post again later today so check back! And email me! I like to read emails during the day. Send me your favorite blogs :)