Hello from Japan
Well, it's been awhile since I've written anything so thought I would take the time to say hello.
Kon ni chi wa! (Hello)
Well, I landed in Tottori Japan on March 30, 2012 to be greeted by my brother, sister in law and niece. It was great to see them as it has been aproximately seven years since I last saw them. Seika, then 9, was now a teenager.
What can I say about Japan? Well, the first thing I will say is that it is much colder than I expected. Like the rest of the world experiencing odd temperatures, this April in Japan is colder than usual. But it seems even colder to me due to the fact that I just spent two glorious month in the tropical heat of Koh Samui, Thailand. Another reason for it feeling so cold is that the houses (my brother's anyway) do not have a central heating system. Instead they have dual AC/Heater machines that are installed in each room. The rooms of the house are very small so the machines do the job for the room they are intended to heat but the adjacent rooms are freezing! So, when I leave my bedroom to go to the bathroom I experience two complete temperature extremes....yikes....I guess the advantage is that it is a good wake up call in the mornings!
Let's see, what is different about Japan that I have noticed?.....Shoes on, shoes off, shoes on, shoes off....The courteous gesture when entering a room is to remove your outside shoes and strategically place them on a rack or to the side. Then, you slip on a pair of slippers. There are loads of slippers (all look like they are one size fits all and look the same) near any door.
The bath is interesting...actually quite nice. Here they have a deep, stainless steel tub which is about 2' x 2' x 2' where they fill it with hot water (45 C). You are supposed to sit in the tub for the purpose of relaxing rather than cleaning. You are not to use any soap or wash yourself in this water...kind of like a hot tub....After soaking and relaxing you remove yourself to the open shower where you proceed to bath or shower....Oh yeah, just reminded me of the toilets here....Girls, these are kind of great....mini orgasmic producing machines if you are so inclined! haha....They have buttons that allow water to come up from the inside of the toilet to wash your private parts.....hmmmmmmm, interesting..lol
Let's see, uh...of course everything is written in Japanese Characters (duh)....which I am pleased to say I am taking the time to learn. I don't think the Japanese language would be that difficult if one took the time to study it. I will begin attending afternoon classes at a community center next Wednesday for a couple of hours per week...
Other differences to note.....they, like the Europeans drive on the WRONG side of the road...lol...kidding, I was told that most of the world drives on the right side of the road and it's only the North Americans that have it backwards.....
I was surprised to find out that the Japanese have the BEST sweets in the world! Rust, small pieces of toast with sugar on top are delicious....tons of great garnished danishes.....yum, yum...I've probably put on 10 pounds in the week I've been here..
Last week we visited a spa which are numerous and unlike ours in NA.... The one I visited had about 10 large what I would call hot tubs...or like we have at our swimming pools, jacuzzies....each with a different feature for massage purposes. In the pools they walk rather than swim lengths. The one we went to had a lot of old, heavy Japanese men walking around. I guess you can go to spa where everyone soaks nude, but I opted to miss out on that opportunity (my days of a nudist are long gone!!! ha ha for those who know what I'm referring to).
I feel a bit like a giant here as everything seem very small and compact...the dishwasher, the doors and windows...everything....
On the weekend we drove out to view a historic temple and museum a couple hours away from where I am staying. I think it is unfortunate that I am here during this time of year because the beaches and landscape look like they would be beautiful when trees and flowers are in bloom. Today we visited a park to view the first sighting of the cherry blossoms..they are beautiful, but I guess very short lived as they only last a few days....
I have had the privilage to teach a few ESL classes but mostly am observing my brother and his wife.
Oh yeah, we also went to Karaokee which is very different here than in Canada. In Canada, I've only seen Karaokee in the bars...but here they have Karaokee boxes which are small private rooms where friends gather to dine, drink and sing. They are quite fun.
Well, dinner is being served so will sign off....I find that you can get most any kind of food you want in Japan.