My oh my oh my. It has been 2 years since my journey to Japan on the JET Program. My Japaniversary is
July 26th. I went through my first blog posts from when I got to Japan and also I went through my first Japaniversary post, and decided to talk about what has changed and what has remained the same. If you wish to check out those posts for comparison, you can check them out here for the 1 year and here for the first arrival.
Let's first discuss the first impressions and how I feel about them now. Ok, so number 1 is trash being confusing. Yes, trash is a pain in the rear. Nothing about this has changed. I think you have heard my feelings enough on the matter so I won't bore you with the details once more. Just know that it sucks the same as ever. NEXT! Wash your garbage. Yes, you do have to wash your garbage. I have gotten a little lazy with this and cut
corners whenever I can. Sometimes, there is just no way around it and you HAVE to wash your garbage, but there are other times when I would just put a plastic piece of trash in burnable because it had just enough guck on it to make me say that it can't be washed. I am such a bad foreigner in Japan!
Number 3 is bike laws. I have gotten used to this actually. The bike laws aren't anything I think about much anymore. It has become second nature much like driving was for me in the US. Number 4 is cars driving on sidewalks, and I must admit, that Japanese drivers make me really angry with this one. It is one thing, to drive on the sidewalk and another to be a jerk about it. Some people will get so angry that I am on my bike and delay them from getting to their destination faster. Actually, it is not some. It is mostly all of them. They zoom out of blind corners and take no care if there is a person there or not. I understand their qualms with people on bikes, most of the people suck at bike riding and have accidents all the time, but people are also walking on the sidewalks too. You can't just zoom out of a blind corner and expect nothing to happen to anybody. What if a kid just ran out of nowhere? Or an old lady fell and you ran over her head? They need to be more careful. Josh and I have had some close calls in the past. Just recently, this guy was in a hurry to turn and didn't pause to make sure that no one was coming on their bikes before zooming his nose out. I was able to stop in time, but Josh rammed right into me. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Just bicycles. Then they get mad at us for riding bikes on the only place we are permitted to ride bikes. Bike riding is part of your culture!! What do you expect?!
Ok, 5 and 6 are one in the same, banks and ATMs close early or have odd business hours. The bank thing doesn't bother me because I rarely need to go to the bank. And when I do need to go to the bank, I can get free time off to go from work. They understand that sometimes it is necessary. The ATM thing, I haven't come across an ATM that closes, but I have come across and ATM that hadn't opened yet in the morning. So far, the ATM thing hasn't been a problem. The only thing that bothers me about ATMs is that they charge you a fee to use your own money. That is just something that annoys me to no end. It is like we are still stuck in the 90's here in Japan.
Number 7 is about ERs being on rotation. Again, I haven't had the need to go to the ER, thankfully. So I don't
see this as a problem for now. I am sure that once we have kids I will start to see how annoying this is, but as of now, no notice of it what so ever.
Number 8 is that the post office closes really early. This isn't an issue for me because I have a husband who doesn't work during the day so if I need to go to the post office I can just send him to go instead. So, again, like number 7 this isn't an issue for me.
Number 9 is that it is hot. YAAAASSS!! It is soooooo hot! I think I have said this before, but Arizona is hot, but there is something about the Japanese sun that just makes it unbearable here. It is ridiculous how hot it is.
What makes it worse is that my classes still don't have air conditioning. Why? I feel so bad for those poor students. Also, they just refuse, outright refuse, to turn the AC on to an acceptable level. They seem to believe that 80 degrees is a perfectly reasonable temperature indoors. I know they don't actually feel this way because every single person in the office is using a fan as wespeak. I think it is safe to assume that 80 degrees is not a reasonable temperature and it should be lowered.
Number 10 is sitting on the floor, and I am not Japanese nor do I entertain much, so I have completely forgotten about this and don't feel the need to elaborate on it.
Well that was....boring; let's move on to something else. Like things that are hard to find in Japan and what I miss.
First on the list of things hard to find is crayons. Well, actually, I have found crayons. You just have to know where to look. Once you understand how they organize their art supplies, finding crayons is actually really easy. So I would no longer consider crayons to be hard to find.
Cereal is next. Oh my goodness yes! Recently, less and less variety is available in terms of cereal now. Why?? I don't see the point. They used to have some, not good options but some, variety of cereals to choose from besides corn flakes, but now, it seems like even those are leaving. I have been eating granola for cereal because there is just no cereal to be had. I don't understand this sudden change of having cereal to no cereal. It makes no sense to me. Needless to say, if you are reading this and send me a care package, be sure to include several boxes of cereal. Thank you!
Pencils are hard to find. Yeah, this goes with the crayons thing. Once you know where to look they really aren't that hard to find. Same goes for loose leaf paper. Once you actively search for it, you realize that it was right under your nose the entire time. So.... This was also a pointless conversation. Moving on.
Let's talk about the things that I miss. Well, in my first post about things that I miss from American, the first thing I wrote was Wheat Thins. And I have to admit, I still crave those, and want those. I think those things are
something that I just need to have. I don't know why wheat thins specifically, but I just need me a good cheese and cracker snack.
The next thing I wrote was tampons. Yes, yes, and another big YES! I have since given up on buying tampons from Japan. I have been buying them from America. When I went back for a visit last year, I pretty much bought out the entire stock of tampons from Walmart. Those lasted me almost a full year. My mother has been kind enough to resupply me with more tampons. My body has been much happier since then.
Oooo! White chocolate reeses. Yes, while I still miss those, I don't crave them right now. I kind of go through phases. At least when it comes to food I do anyway. Recently, I have really been wanting pasta roni. And thankfully, we just received a package with just that in the box! I also have been missing skittles. They don't have anything equivalent to those here. It is either hard candies, gummies, or chocolate. No chewy stuff. It is not so common.
Ok, for these last 3, they are related, so I am just going to put them all into one. That would be craft supplies. In
my post from last year, I mentioned that I missed sketch books, scrapbooking supplies, and yarn. I still miss sketch books, because those are hard to come buy, but I haven't been doing much in the way of crafting so this desire is not so strong. Until just last week, I had been spending all my free time studying Japanese for the JLPT N2 (Japanese language proficiency test). If I pass this test, then I can certified in translation and can work in virtually any business with little difficulty.
Anyways, for the yarn, I am in no need of yarn right now. I was given boxes upon boxes of yarn from my grandmother. I think I am set for a while. Besides, I am currently working on a knitted blanket with said yarn, and I still have boxes of yarn left. I think it is safe to say that my yarn cravings have been satisfied.
Well, hopefully that wasn't too boring for you and you found it somewhat interesting. In conclusion, anyone who lives abroad is going to have moments or phases when they are craving something specific or are homesick. It is normal to desire these things. I am sure that if I return to the US that I will be craving melon soda, salmon bowls, and yakimanju. This is all a part of life. After having lived here for 2 years, and after rereading my old posts, nothing about me has really changed; just my perception of things has changed. More so, my perception
of the world. I have been to 4 countries, and each one is unique in its own way. International travel really teaches you culture and open mindedness, if you let it. I say this to say, that no matter how many years I will be in Japan, who I am is never going to change. The things I miss are going to change, but who I am will remain the same. I honestly don't feel like I live in another country. Maebashi has become my home and I can't fathom living someplace else. I have made connections here. I have a wonderful job, and I LOVE my apartment. No matter where you are there are going to be things that you miss. It is human nature and it is a part of life. Being in Japan has opened my eyes to a lot of things about myself, and about my home country. My trip to Korea even furthered this. I think Korea more so made me realize this than anything else.
Well, that is it for this post. I know it has been a while, and I am sorry for that. I have been slacking in my YouTube channel as well. I really wanted to have tunnel vision and only focus on my studies, so I took out all outside distractions. This weekend is a 3