I have only been in Maebashi for less than one week, and already there are things that really stand out. Here is my collective list of things that I have noticed or been shocked by since being here.
1. The trash system here is confusing
I knew that the trash sorting thing is something to expect. However, I did not know it would be THIS extensive. I mean seriously! Trash is trash. I get trying to recycle and things, but do we really need a separate reseptical for clear, brown, and other colored bottles? I get separating glass and plastic, but by colors? Really? Also, a separate day for clothing verses towels? I mean really. If I was Japanese, I would just sove it all in the same bag and say, it is not my job to sort the garbage. I alreay took the time to clean it for you, why should I also neatly sort it as well? Which brings me to my next point.
2. You must WASH your rubbish
If sorting it in a very confusing way wasn't enough, you must also wash and dry your garbage as well. I have a sink full of plastic containers to be washed and dryed as we speak. The trash thing is something that I will have to really get use to doing.
3. Bike laws are the same as vehicular laws
Drunk biking is the same as drunk driving. Your light on your bike being out is the same as driving without headlights. Bikes need to be registered and sometimes require travelers insurance, but not always. I don't need it. THe same exact driving laws apply to bikers. There are no exceptions. You might be thinking that bikes can travel on sidewalks but cars cannot. Wait right there, this brings us to point number 4.
4. Cars can drive on sidewalks
If the sidewalk is wide enough, they will drive on it and it is not illegal. Infact, there are signs warning bikers and pedestrians of potential drivers on the sidewalk. About called the police when I first witnessed it when my neighbor pointed out the signs.
5. Banks are closed very early
Banks are only open from like 9-3 Monday-Friday. It made it frustrating when trying to get a bank account set up for me because there were many things we needed to get done at once and the bank always made top priority because of how early they closed.
6. The ATMs open and close
You better hope you have enough money to last you because ATMs apparently have hampsters inside them that get tired and need to sleep. They are open a little longer than banks and on weekends, but it's not common.
7. ERs are not always open.
Hospitals rotate emegency services on a daily or weekly basis. So if you get injured, you might be traveling rather far to find an open hospital.
8. Post offices are only open when everyone else is working
Not sure why they don't take advantage of after busines hours but they just don't. At least busineses realize this, and will allow you to take off work just to go to the post office.
9. It's hot
Being from Arizona, I am used to being in a constant state of warmth. However, I guess because of the humidity, I am in a constant state of sweat. Maebashi is the hottest area of Japan. Tempurature wise, it feels fine, but I am sweating. I am in a constant state of dampness. I try to put my pants back on after going to the bathroom and my skin has turned into scotch tape. I am always sweating. Even after getting out of the shower. You never dry off! I was wondering why towels were so small here and now I know. They are basically useless. Even if you dry off, you will still be wet and slimy. Curse you sticky air!
10. Japanese people prefer to sit on the floor
You could have a 12 seater couch and only two Japanese people, they will all sit on the floor. Even pregnant women sit on the floor. Not sure how they get back up but I guess gorwing up always singing on the floor will promote that shairs are ust for show.