Excuse me for my writing absence. It's been well over a month since I wrote last and I apologize. It's not because I don't want to write but because there really isn't much new to write about. It's a lot of the same day-to-day things that never change going on over here. Still working for the weekends and that's about it. I also like being alone when I write and (darling, you know I love you) Al is always around so I don't get much time to just sit down with my thoughts and bust out an entry.
I thought I'd put together some things I love and some things I hate (next post) about Japan. And I actually can't even say that I hate anything about this place...there are simply certain things that are terribly inconvenient that make my life more difficult. First, things I love:
1. The train. I absolutely love the idea of a train system. America needs one nationwide, though I don't think it would work out so well. I love being able to walk down the street to the station and hop a train nearly anywhere. It's also really relaxing, though in an odd way because it's loud and bumpy but there is something calming about turning on my iPod and letting someone else take me where I need to be.
2. My bike. The last time I rode a bicycle before coming to Japan was sometime circa 1999. I had always felt a little silly on one, even when it was just my family and I on camping trips. But now that I have a cute purple cruiser I've wondered why I never enjoyed it before. I can get to the market and put my groceries in my basket, go for a ride to the park or simply just escape the smallness of my apartment for a while. Though, if I really think about it, that's (unfortunately) not really an American lifestyle. One can't fit the vast amount of groceries bought from a Super Wal-Mart in a bike basket.
3. Celebrity status. Okay, not really celebrity, but closer than I'll ever get to Hollywood. Being in the smallest prefecture in Japan, the locals don't see many foreigners. I live in a very rural area. (Think rice paddies and shrines, not Tokyo) Al and I get stared at...a lot. I really love it though, makes me feel like we're Angelina and Brad or something. Sometimes it does make me want to roll my eyes because people are NOT bashful about the staring. I mean I'm standing on the train platform and someone sitting on the train very blatently leans to the window and strains their neck to just gape at me. I've also gotten a lot of free stuff too. A lady in the park selling handpainted postcards called me Britney Spears, played with my hair and gave me one of the postcards. (Many compliments on the hair. They think it's my natural color. I let them think that.) I also seem to get free dessert of some kind every time I go to my favorite Indian restaurant in Marugame. I've also been told that I'm a hot commodity when it comes to companies wanting teachers because I have the "ideal blonde hair and blue eyes". Sweet. Ah, the life of a blonde in a black haired country.
3. Vending machines. They are everywhere. It's a way of life in Japan and if you don't believe me google something along the lines of "Japan vending machines" and you will get article upon article about them and how Japan and vending machines go together like PB&J. But you can't get food in them ooooh no. (Besides the few rice machines scattered here and there and the one that sells vibrators down the street from my house) It's all drinks and they are on every corner. At least a few every single block, down cramped alleyways, in people's yards, and rows and rows of them in front of large places like department stores and train stations. The best thing to get out of one is...
4. Milk Tea. One of my favorite things I've discovered about Japan is this delicious, sweet tea drink that comes hot in the winter and cold in the summer. I'm from the south dude we don't put milk in our tea but I've discovered the amazingness of it and I'm already thinking about how I'm going to make some once I get back to the States. I guess it's pretty simple...brew a cup of a tea and put milk and sugar in it. WHAM BAM the best thing ever. I'm completely addicted and I can't seem to be able to pass a vending machine without getting one.
5. All the Louis Vuitton. See previous post.
6. Shopping. The Japanese people thrive on shopping whether they can afford to or not, so even here on my little island the shopping is abundant. Anywhere I go I can buy clothes...or anything really. There are little shops all over the place and malls and department stores and machis the list goes on and on.
Now onto the things I really dislike...