Saturday, August 9, 2008

So far, so good!

I alreadly love this place! Beautiful scenery, nice people...and yummy ice cream!

The title is appropriate since I'm so far away from home, but I've been doing fine since my arrival in Japan.

I landed in Tokyo on Friday afternoon at 3, which was 3 a.m. Indiana time -- also the time my body was on. The jet lag hasn't been too bad though; I think I've been running on adrenaline since I've just been too excited to sleep much!

Last night was my first night in the apartment, and I kept waking up thinking, "Wow, I'm really here. This is home now." And the night before that, I stayed in a tiny hotel room in Tokyo and woke up more than once thinking, "Wow, I'm in Japan. Unreal." I'll probably take a nap pretty soon, even though I still feel like I'll miss something if I sleep. But I wanted to write a blog post first, since I promised that I'd update at the first opportunity.

I have the internet in my apartment set up now, so I'm sitting on my loveseat, typing away. I just ate a ham and cheese sandwhich (normally I'd have turkey, but there isn't turkey in Kuji!) for lunch, since it's Sunday afternoon. (I know that it says I wrote this post on Saturday, Aug. 9 for some reason. Well, it lies.) I went to a church service at the local Baptist church this morning with Mayla, one of the other English teachers in Kuji. The service was entirely in Japanese, so of course I was lost the whole time, but I enjoyed observing. I learned that every third Sunday the service is in English, so I'll definitely have to go next week!

Mayla showed me around Kuji yesterday afternoon, and I was happy to see that my apartment is in a good location, just off the main street. We went into some of the shops -- including the cake shop, (the desserts look amazing, hooray!) which is just down the street from my apartment-- and also went into the very nice gym. Mayla asked me if I would use the gym much, and I told her that I'm allergic to running and athletically-challenged! It will be nice in the winter though, to walk somewhere warm and in such a nice facility. I just realized that I wrote about loving dessert and hating to run in the same paragraph! Hmmm...maybe I do need to frequent the gym!

While walking around Kuji I took these pictures...

The main street of Kuji. My apartmnent is a little bit off this street, to the left.

Getting ready to cross a bridge over Kuji River. Isn't it pretty?

Inside the home store. Look at all the Japanese products! There's some random English in there, too.

Mayla has a car, and she was nice enough to drive me to a restaurant named Gusto, where we had dinner. I ordered pizza with corn on it, which was delicious, and I also got the "drink bar" so I could try all of the different soda flavors to figure out which ones I like. (Dad, I thought of you when I tried all of the juices, too!)

After dinner, we went grocery shopping at the "big Universe," haha. There are two Universe grocery stores in Kuji -- a big one and a small one. Although everything is labeled in Japanese, the pictures make it fairly easy to identify the food. Some of my purchases include: bananas, an assortment of frozen vegetables, chicken nuggets, hashbrowns, yogurt, lunchmeat, buns and salmon. While I'm on the subject of food, I have great news: There's ice cream here, and it's delicious!!!! Yamadate (my boss, who picked me up from the airport and brought be to Kuji) bought me some grape ice cream, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Some of the foods I bought at the "big Universe."

I've never really had to cook for myself before, so this should be....interesting! Callie, the ALT (assistant language teacher) who lived in this apartment before me, left me a Japanese cookbook, so that's pretty exciting, along with lots of other books. She also sold me all of the furniture and left several miscellaneous things for me. So it was like Christmas yesterday -- opening up all the drawers and closets, finding "gifts." :)

I feel like I'm writing a novel, but there's just so much to say! I haven't even written about the flight yet -- I'll do that later. There's definitely a lot to get used to, and SO much to learn! I want to start learning Japanese immediately because I wish could communicate with everyone. Just as I was told, the people here are very friendly and welcoming. The boy I'm going to start tutoring in English soon, named Tomoki, was nice enough to bring me milk and cereal with a note that said:

"To Dana, Did you eat breakfast? I think you don't have foods. I bought your breakfast. Please eat. Maybe you're tired. But if you don't eat breakfast, you're very very tired. I hope you're well. " ~Tokomi *with smiley faces*

I'm impressed by his English! And I'm proud of him for writing "you're" instead of "your." haha.
I was told that he often stops by the apartment to visit, which is fine by me.

So that's the brief (believe it or not!) update of how life in Kuji is so far. I could go on, but I'm getting tired and don't want to be too long. Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts, and rest assured that all is well! Sayonara for now.

A look at my new apartment...

Welcome to my humble home! It's very lovely, especially by Japanese standards.

The view right outside my door. The main street is at the end of the line of pink lanterns. :)

Once you enter the front door, the toilet is to the right, the laundry room and shower are ahead.

Washer and sink in the laundry room. Clothes are hung up to dry.

My living room -- with the loveseat where I'm sitting right now.

The kitchen where I will *attempt* to prepare Japanese cuisine.

The picture of my bedroom won't load and I don't know why, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I have a bed! I was prepared to sleep on a mat.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you made it and are safe and are having a good time! It makes me so happy. It looks like everything is very nice over there and that you will fit in just fine! I am so proud of that boy for writing the right your. I bet that makes you happy and I am also glad that they have ice cream!!! Love YA! Keep us updated!

Amanda said...

Hey Gorgeous!!!

You should just see Lauren and I. We are like little moms. We haven't slept since you left, for fear that you might not be ok. lol. I am just joking. No, but we have been anxiously waiting to hear from you. I'm so relieved to hear that you are genuinely enjoying the place you will call home for a while. The pictures are beautiful. I cannot wait to see Kuji for myself next year. What a great opportunity for Lauren and me to be able to come and see you. Liz has had a good experience, you are having a good experience, so I'm sure Lauren and I are just going to be blown away. I love you and once again and both happy for and proud of you. I cannot wait to hear more.

Ashley said...

I am so gald that you are having a good time. I am so glad that you got there okay and that things are going well for you. I am glad that you like the place that you are going to be living for a while and that they have ice cream there for you. I hope that things continue to be good for you and I cannot wait to hear more about your experience.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm proud of you for going to Japan. Out of everyone I knew from high school, you're one of the very few people who would be able to handle it. I hope you have a lot of fun there - post lots of pictures for us jealous ones - LOL.


Jennifer said...

Amazing! It's great to hear you're loving life in Kuji. It is a very senic place. Your apartment looks cozy. The little boy you sounds like he likes food, too! Therefore, you two are a good fit. Enjoy every second. I love you and look forward to hearing more from you. Sorry I am so late at posting this. Oh, well! Better late than never...