Tuesday, March 24, 2015

11 Early Observations

I have been in Japan almost 2 months! Although really, I feel like I've only actually been living in Japan for one of those two, since the first month was spent living in a hotel on base. I mean, it's located directly next to a Chili's, so it hardly seems fair to count that time as part of the Japanese experience. 

Portrait of a girl who is really effing over living in a hotel room. 

Life in Japan still seems really new and despite having a house, I'm not feeling settled. Our household goods aren't due to arrive until almost June which is definitely a contributing factor. And certainly language and cultural barriers abound. Sometimes I feel like I just arrived. Other times, I feel like I should have gotten more done in two months, seen more, traveled farther. But then I remember that in the span of a month we contracted cell phones, got driver's licenses, bought a car, and rented a house. Throw in the stress of having the pups in quarantine during that time and frankly, it all left me a bit stressed and exhausted.

So no, I haven't been to Tokyo yet. Or planned any big trips. I didn't see the Great Buddha in Kamakura (which is shamefully just one train stop away) until last weekend. I kept telling myself if it had survived since 1252, it would still be there, and it was. Right now, almost every day brings some sort of unique experience even if it's not an exciting adventure. 

Japan is brand new to me. I had never been in the country until the day we stepped off the plane in late January, and had spent very little time in Asia (less than a week in Dubai). So, I might not have any dazzling trip photographs at this point, but I do have the collected experiences and observations of the completely inexperienced. 

I became illiterate. Yes, all it took was a trans-Pacific flight and I lost my ability to read. On top of that, I was also practically deaf and mute. There is really nothing more challenging than not being able to understand or interact with the environment around you. It was immediately obvious that we were going to need to make a concerted effort to learn some Japanese.